9 Reasons I Use Logos When I Preach

pastors-need-logosLogos 7 is my preferred tool for sermon preparation, but history proves you don’t have to use Logos in order to teach the Bible carefully and effectively. Somehow Paul managed pretty well without it. Augustine and Chrysostom reportedly didn’t use it either. Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Bavinck, Lloyd-Jones, Frame; pick your heroes (I’m writing this, so I get to pick mine). I for one am thrilled if you live and preach the Bible, whether you use Logos to do it or not.

I’m confident that I preach and teach more effectively because I have Logos, but let me make something clear: I’m not saying digital is better than paper, or even that Augustine would have done better exegesis if he’d had Logos. Chesterton had it right:

If I set the sun beside the moon,
And if I set the land beside the sea,
And if I set the town beside the country,
And if I set the man beside the woman,
I suppose some fool would talk about one being better.

This is all true. Digital isn’t “better” than paper.

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6 Reasons Pastors Will Love the Sermon Editor in Logos 7

5-reasons-love-sermon-editorInsightful culture watcher David Foster Wallace says something in his famous essay on television that preachers need to hear—even though preachers probably already know it.

The staccato editing, sound bites, and summary treatment of knotty issues is network news’ accommodation of an Audience whose attention span and appetite for complexity have naturally withered a bit after years of high-dose spectation. (A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, 57)

Thankfully, the Christian community in America has not been affected by high doses of television. Churchgoers are constantly asking their pastors to extend their sermons by an extra hour.

No, actually not.

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What to Do When You Find an Interpretive Quandary

interpretive-quandaryThe viewpoints of Christians of the past are not authoritative over us in the same way the Bible is—or even the same way our pastors are (Heb. 13:17). Past generations of believers made theological errors just like us, because they were fallen and limited just like we are.

But, then again, they were not limited exactly like we are. As C.S. Lewis famously pointed out in Surprised by Joy, it is “chronological snobbery” to assume that we are more advanced in every way than people from centuries past. We shouldn’t get busy congratulating ourselves for avoiding their vices before we remind ourselves how far we fall from their virtues. We need to listen to how other Christians, in all centuries, have used the Bible.

One important element of Bible interpretation is to see how other Christians throughout history have used the passage you’re studying. Logos 7 provides three brand new datasets that you can use to help you do that with a minimum of page-flipping: the Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, and Confessional Documents datasets.

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Take a Personal, Guided Tour Through the Gospels

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“Location, location, location.” Anyone familiar with real estate has certainly overheard this mantra at some point. The geographic features of a particular location influence so much of our human experience. Even beyond the aspects of climate, landscape, and natural resources, geography leaves a lasting mark on the development of societies and cultures in any given area.

Many of the most well-known narratives in Scripture are rife with geographical elements that are often overlooked because of our distance from the Holy Land. Many of Jesus’ parables and illustrations are steeped in geographic details, but some of these important and distinctive details are lost in translation—we’re simply too far removed from these locations to understand their geographic significance. Imagine having a personal tour guide of Jerusalem and the surrounding area, giving you an on-the-spot explanation of what you’re seeing and how it informs the biblical text.

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Adjusting the Soundtrack of the Atonement

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When we think about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we often do so with an image or a set of biblical passages and categories in mind. Much like the score in a movie, those categories help us make sense of Jesus’ death. For that is what doctrine is about—helping us make sense of and understand who God is and what he has done for us, that we might better worship and serve our God.

But let’s think about that image a little more carefully—the image of a film score. Let’s say that you turn on the TV, and find yourself in the middle of a movie, but the sound is muted. Before you is a green valley, with a stand of trees in the background. What is the movie about? If the score is light and airy, a couple might soon stroll into the scene of a romantic comedy. If the score is the driving, intense music of Steve Jablonsky, the Autobots and Decepticons of Michael Bay’s Transformers may soon battle across the valley. The music we hear as we watch a scene dramatically changes our expectations, and how we perceive what is going on.

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How To Find a Bible Verse Fast

find-verse-fastI was recently writing something about biblical archaeology, and it happened again, that thing that’s always happening to me in Bible study—does it happen to you? I was trying to find the location of a verse whose exact wording I was pretty sure I already knew. The phrase that was cemented in my head was, “declared to be the Son of God with power.”

I sometimes used to try searching a Bible website because it was easy to get to—since I’m often already in my browser. But I gave up, because most of the time I get either way too many hits or I got this:

“NO RESULTS COULD BE FOUND”

I tried it again, for old time’s sake, and sure enough, that’s what my search for “declared to be the son of God with power” got me.

Man! I know that phrase is in there! But where? And which Bible translation(s) is it in?

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5 Ways Loving Your Neighbor Will Change Your Bible Teaching

love-your-audienceWhat’s the key to effectively teaching the Bible to others, whether in a Bible study, a sermon, or a Facebook conversation?

Love your audience as yourself. Loving God is most important, of course, but it’s possible to love God supremely and yet fail in your efforts at communicating the truths of Scripture to others. If you love your audience as yourself, the next Bible study you lead, the next sermon you preach, the next blog post you write, is much more likely to hit home. The Blogging Standards Administration says I must now present three to seven reasons why I think this is so. Let’s go for five, although I have a feeling we could keep going for a long time.

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How to Choose Your Top Bibles in Logos

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One of the most frequent things I do in Logos—and I’m betting you do the same thing—is search for a specific verse or group of verses. My searches can seem pretty random, like the time I looked for every time the Bible talks about “war.”

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How Is Bible Study Like Ultimate Frisbee?

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Recently I got to play my favorite sport—ultimate Frisbee—twice in one week. The first game was just about the best I’ve had in my 14 years as an ultimate player. Pretty much every time I threw the disc toward the end zone, it snuck just past the defense and hit my receiver in stride. My team destroyed our opponents, and I had what exercise physiologists call “fun.”

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3 Mistakes Most People Make When Reading Revelation

3-mistakes-revelationSome people will never tire of spreading a transparency of the text of Revelation over today’s newspaper to look for coincidental correlations, or of gazing into it as though it were some window into an as-yet-future (or in-progress) “seven last years,” attempting to “predict” how those events will play out in our world. This post is not for them.

It is for those who are tired of playing games with Revelation; who are ready to approach it in a new way – as Scripture – and to seek out its word to us in line with best practices in listening to the rest of Scripture. Because Scripture ought to be considered first and foremost as a word to those for whom it was written, from the Lord to give them much-needed guidance. I have found this approach lends itself far better to biblical preaching and to the difficult task of discerning the challenges facing Christians in their settings worldwide.

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