Of Catechisms and Confessions of Faith

Reformed Heritage

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Catechisms and confessions of faith, in one form or another, are almost as old as the Christian faith. Primarily used in the religious instruction of children and converts to Christianity, they have helped provide a skeletal structure for doctrinal understanding throughout the centuries. These confessions are not an attempt to replace the need for biblical knowledge and understanding, but to provide a plumb line to measure it against. Creeds, confessions, and catechisms have been centrally important to the life of the Church.

The Christian Focus Reformed Heritage Collection (14 Vols.) includes a wonderful primer on the study of confessions with The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book: A Study Guide for Churches by Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., pastor and President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

There are fourteen volumes that total over 1,400 pages in The Christian Focus Reformed Heritage Collection. These volumes include a comprehensive look at John Calvin’s views on the Sabbath, the atonement, biblical languages and his teaching on the book of Job. This collection also includes an analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ theology of Hell in response to a growing interest in annihilationism, collected writings of theologian Roger Nicole, and over 50 profiles of important figures in the Puritan movement.

The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book: A Study Guide for Churches is an amazing addition to this collection. Not only do you get a 26-lesson study of the Westminster Confession of Faith, you get a section for each lesson specifically designed for those teaching the confession.

But that’s not all!

This study guide also includes:

  • The complete Westminster Confession of Faith
  • The Belgic Confession
  • The Heidelberg Catechism
  • The Canons of Dordt

These incredibly important confessions and statements of faith are all in one place and completely tied together with the incredible searchability of Logos 4!

If you are looking for more powerful Reformed theology check out Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (4 Vols.). It is still on Pre-Pub which promises our lowest price on the collection that J. I. Packer called, “the supreme achievement of its kind.” Reformed Dogmatics (4 Vols.) is under development so that Pre-Pub price won’t be available much longer!

Digging for Commentary the New-Fashioned Way

How it used to be done

When I first began my seminary training in 1992, things were a little different. Doing research meant going to the library and digging through a literal card catalog (yeah, the kind with 3 x 5 cards). I learned about the “usual places” to look for exegetical help: commentaries, journals, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and so on. For instance, I wanted to find some discussion about why Jethro is called “Moses’ father-in-law” so many times in Exodus 18 (18x compared to “Jethro” 7x). You see, I had an inquiring mind, but the kinds of questions I came up with were not often discussed in “the usual places.” So now what?

About that time, Sheffield Academic Press began producing a host of wonderful resources–both Old and New Testament–that provided focused discussion of specific passages, themes or issues in a book, ones that did not really fit in with the normal template of a commentary. They also published collections of essays that were thematically related, sometimes focused on a single book of the Bible, other times tracking one theme through a whole testament. There was “gold in them thar hills” as the saying goes, but boy, was it ever some mighty hard digging to find it. It took a lot of work to find a nugget, but wow, was it ever worth it when you found what you were looking for!

At about the same time I began to realize that commentaries are selective. Although commentators are expected to cover certain topics for each passage, sometimes writers will stop and rant about something they are passionate about, oftentimes relegated to a footnote. But these “extended dance versions” comments are hit and miss. They may not even be about the book they are commenting on, but on some other book that is quoted or alluded to! Oh how the times have changed; the search resources available today are astounding in comparison.

The tide turns . . .

So how have things changed? Well to begin with, having an electronic version of the resource opens the door for full-text searches, which is a great thing. But Logos resources go about four or five steps further down the road than your average search engine like Google Books. Every book or resource has been painstakingly analyzed by our Electronic Text Development department. This means that no matter how obscure an abbreviation scheme is used for biblical book (e.g. Ezekiel, Ezek, Ez), no matter what punctuation scheme (e.g. 1:1, 1.1, 11), you’re going to find it, thanks to the festive folks in ETD . Try that using a Kindle or with Google books!

But wait, there’s more! Logos 4 has streamlined the search process by allowing rule-based collections to be built. Collections allow you to do more focused searches or reports. I have all of my commentaries in one collection, all of my grammars in another. Why not separate them by Old/New Testament or by Greek/Hebrew? Because of the rants I mentioned above. Some great nuggets about Acts 2 can be found in commentaries on Joel because of Peter’s quotation in Acts 2:17-21, for example.

Getting the most out of your resources

But it gets even better! Remember the Sheffield resources I mentioned earlier, the ones that have great discussions about passages, but that were terribly hard to find (and that cost you two children and a small aardvark to purchase!)? Adding collections of JSOT, JSNT, or Sheffield Readers into your commentary collections will significantly expand the volume of extended discussions about key passages. The same is true of journal collections like:

There are a number of great Old Testament collections from Sheffield that are currently on Pre-Pub:

If your current focus is the New Testament, there are plenty of great collections available as well:

There is no better platform for “mining” resources like these than Logos 4, period. Whether you are looking for technical discussions for research papers, or for homiletical or devotional material for teaching, you will only find what you have. If you are looking for new resources that will expand your exegetical pool for searching, then take a serious look at these collections. There are great nuggets in them thar hills, and no better tool for finding them than Logos 4!

Why the Logos Top 10 Lists Matter To You

Logos Top 10 Lists

If you don’t already have one of our Logos 4 base packages and you’re looking for a recommendation on which collection to get, or if you’re ready to add commentary sets, collections from authors, or individual titles, then start with suggestions from what Logos users have elevated into our Logos Top 10 Lists. The Logos Top 10 Lists allow you to quickly identify important works as determined by our large user base, those who, like yourself, are interested in rightly dividing the Word of truth.

Our lists are filtered into three general categories:

  • Logos Base Packages
  • Essentials
  • Authors

While recently updating the Top 10 lists, what stood out as interesting was that of all the products in the Essentials and Authors categories are currently collections or bundles of some sort. Since the list is based on user purchases, this got me thinking. Why isn’t even one single-volume title on the list? The only reason I came up with was this: You get the best per-volume price on Logos resources when you add collections of books rather than individual titles.

Our top 10 lists attest to this fact.

Take the #1 title from the Essentials category: Tyndale Commentaries CD-ROM (49 Vols.)

At 49-volumes, this collection might at first appear to be more than you need if you are studying smaller books of the Bible like 1 & 2 Peter or even Hosea. But think long term. Do you plan on teaching or preaching through the Bible? Do you have an OT or NT survey course this coming semester? With Logos, every word is essentially a link, so every word you add to your library makes Logos 4 even more powerful. That gives you instant access to technical linguistic data, along with the tools for accurate exegesis and interpretation. So adding 49-volumes rather than one or two greatly increases your ability to study the Word. But the most convincing argument for adding multiple volume collections to you library remains pricing. With the current sale price of $224.95 for 49 volumes, you are getting the combined Tyndale Old Testament Commentary and the Tyndale New Testament Commentary at just under $4.60 per volume!

And that is an example from just #1 in the Essentials list. We could work our way down each list and find the same thing.

Since the lists are based on user purchases, it’s likely you have at least one of the products listed. If you do, leave a comment indicating which item(s) you have and how it has been useful for you. You may help another reader decide which item to choose. Then, check the Logos Top 10 Lists for new titles to add to your library.

Remembering Athanasius

athanasius.pngYesterday, May 2, marked the death of one of the great Church Fathers, Athanasius, in 373. For those who aren’t familiar with the Church Fathers, I pulled this excerpt from The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church regarding Athanasius’ importance in the history of the Church. If you’d like to read Athanasius’ work, as well as many of the early Church Fathers, be sure to check out Early Church Fathers Protestant Edition (37 Vols.).

His (Athanasius) most famous work is the De Incarnatione, the second of two closely linked treatises. In it he expounds how God the Word (Logos), by His union with manhood, restored to fallen man the image of God in which he had been created (Gen. 1:27), and by His death and resurrection met and overcame death, the consequence of sin. Many scholars date the work before c.318, when Athanasius was still in his twenties, but others place it 15–20 years later. As bishop he was the greatest and most consistent theological opponent of Arianism. From 339 to 359 he wrote a series of works in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son. From about 361 onwards he especially sought the reconciliation of the large Semiarian party to the Nicene term homoousios (‘of one substance’), which they were reluctant to accept. The Council of Alexandria (362), under his direction, greatly furthered this end, by clearing up misunderstandings of the terms ὑπόστασις (translated ‘person’) and οὐσία (‘substance’). He also argued for the deity of the Holy Spirit in his Epistles to Serapion.
F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 121.

You can also learn more about Athanasius in John Piper’s, Contending for Our All.
Image taken from Nelson’s New Christian Dictionary

Why You Should Read the Puritans

Puritan Product Guide

The Puritans are remembered for their great preaching, deep theological reflection, and meticulous exposition of Scripture. They defended and defined the Reformed faith in the decades following the Reformation, and usually found themselves at the center of both political and theological controversies. Many were imprisoned; some were even martyred. J. I. Packer calls them “visionary and practical, idealistic and realistic . . . goal-oriented and methodical. They were great believers, great hopers, great doers, and great sufferers.”

For years, we’ve offered several Puritan books, like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God. Over the past year, however, we’ve added dozens of new collections to the Pre-Pub page.

With the addition of all these new titles, we decided it was time to put together a Puritan Product Guide, which features a complete list of books written by or about the Puritans available in Logos Bible Software.

This product guide contains the collected works of many well-known Puritans—including John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards—as well as several volumes of secondary literature, like J. I. Packer’s A Quest for Godliness and John Brown’s classic, The English Puritans.

This is just the tip of the iceberg—there are a total of 238 books and resources listed in the product guide! If you’re not yet acquainted with the Puritans, the Puritan Product Guide is the perfect place to begin. Even if you’re already familiar with the Puritans, you’ll likely discover some new gems by an author or two you might not have heard of.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the product guide to start exploring all the new books and authors!

The Works of John Owen on Sale!

The Works of John Owen (24 Vols.)

With the launch of the Puritan Product Guide, we’re also offering the 24-volume Works of John Owen on sale! This 24-volume collection combines Owen’s theological works, Latin writings, and his 7-volume commentary on the book of Hebrews into one massive collection, which contains everything he wrote. Through the end of May, you can get the entire collection for $299.95 on sale. Use coupon code OWENSALE at checkout to get your discount.

Not only was Owen one of the most influential and inspiring theologians of the seventeenth century, but his works capture the essence of Puritan theological reflection. His writings and teachings spoke to the struggles of his time, and they have continued to inspire the generations that have followed.

If you’re looking to add a ton of content to your library by a solid theologian, you couldn’t do better than Owen. Remember, you need to act soon to get The Works of John Owen for $299.95. Use coupon code OWENSALE at checkout to get your discount.

The Wonders of the Digital Library

signin

A report of inventoried estates in the eighteenth century reveals that in Châlons-sur-Marne, France, only one residence in ten was in possession of a book. In more rural areas—in the next century—the percentage of households that owned a book was around 12%, and those books tended to be found in the country homes of urban professionals.

The library of 18th century philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne shows not only the disparity of literature ownership between social classes, but just what was considered a remarkable collection for that time period. The 1711 Sales Auction Catalogue of the Library of Sir Thomas Browne lists about 1,500 volumes in his possession at his death. That was quite an extensive personal library in the 18th century, the kind which required a lifetime of patient and expensive acquisition. What is even more amazing is the realization that Browne’s personal library—the one he compiled over his entire academic and professional career—contained 150 volumes fewer books than Logos Bible Software’s Portfolio Edition!

Thanks to the digital age, it is easier and more cost effective to create a very impressive and thorough library, and you don’t have to build another wing onto your home to do so. If you were so inclined, you could fit all the books in a major research facility (over 400,000) onto a 2 TB hard drive!

With a Logos Bible Software digital library, you get more than just value and volume: you get the ability to search your entire library for a single topic in a moment’s time. And all of the content is delivered to you right there on your monitor to customize and organize in the manner that works best for you. Sir Thomas Browne would have marveled at the ability to search across his entire library in the blink of an eye to compile information on one specific topic.

With the Scholar’s Library: Platinum package you immediately get nearly 1,250 volumes. From there you can pick and choose, from over 10,000 resources available to tailor your library to your personal needs. This adds to more than just the number of books you have at your disposal, but also increases the depth and breadth of your topical and scriptural searches.

Another great thing about digital libraries is your ability to secure important but less mainstream resources, like The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (22 Vols.) now on Pre-Pub. Here is a 18th century Puritan who is responsible for writing over 10,000 pages of such high caliber Christian reflection that J.C. Ryle said, “I regard Manton with unmingled admiration.” And yet Manton gets obscured by contemporaries like Richard Baxter or John Owen. Although Manton was as prolific, if not more prolific, than his associates, until recently securing copies of his work was difficult. Now you can get all of his works fairly easily, and in a format that makes using his works easier than he could have ever imagined.

Zerwick’s Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Many who use A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament in print affectionately refer to it as “Max & Mary” after the author and translator/reviser, Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor. The affection is for good reason, “Max & Mary” offer a helpful and informed analysis of the grammar of the Greek New Testament. And they do it in a commentary format, so the Logos Bible Software version (which you already have if you have the Portfolio LE edition of Logos) scrolls synchronously with your text — English (reverse interlinear? yes!), Greek, or whatever other New Testament edition you have.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t used this book much; it seems I have so many other tools available! But I’ve learned that I’m the one who has been missing out. Why? First, some minor points:

  1. There is a great little “Glossary of Grammatical Terms” included in the front matter.
  2. There are links throughout, by section number, to Zerwick’s Biblical Greek, Illustrated by Examples (included in the Introduction to Biblical Greek Collection)

I’ll use 1Ti 2.3-7 as an example of the kind of stuff that “Max & Mary” offer, listing the Greek text (NA27) with the Lexham English Bible translation interspersed. I’ve also highlighted in bold all of the terms that are mentioned. The analysis will follow for each verse, broken out with one item per line.

3 τοῦτο καλὸν καὶ ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ,
3 This is good and acceptable before God our Savior,

3 ἀπόδεκτος (< ἀποδέχομαι welcome) welcome, pleasing.
σωτήρ 1:1

4 ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

4 σωθῆναι aor. inf. pass. σῴζω.
ἐπί-γνωσις knowledge.
ἐλθεῖν aor2 inf. ἔρχομαι.

5 Εἷς γὰρ θεός, εἷς καὶ μεσίτης θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς,
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus,

5 εἷς…θεός there is one God.
μεσίτης mediator.

6 δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις.
6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time,

6 δούς aor2 ptc δίδωμι.
ἀντί-λυτρον ransom.
μαρτύριον evidence, testimony, i.e. to what has just been stated (v.4).
καιροῖς ἰδίοις at the proper time (time ordained by God).

7 εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κῆρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος, ἀλήθειαν λέγω οὐ ψεύδομαι, διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθείᾳ.
7 for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am speaking the truth, I am not lyinga teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

7 εἰς ὅ to/for which.
ἐ-τέθην I was made, aor. pass. τίθημι appoint.
κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ herald, preacher.
ψεύδομαι lie, tell an untruth.
διδάσκαλος teacher.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), 629.

The analysis is rather compact and brief, but it gives helpful information, including potentially difficult bits of parsing/declension and glosses. These can help when reading or when thinking through a passage. Also helpful is the separation of prefix (typically prepositional) and root; this can help one recognize a word that might otherwise be unfamiliar. Lastly, they give some help for irregular forms (e.g. κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ in v. 7).
Max & Mary don’t just do this for a book of the NT, or a particular author; they do it for the whole Greek New Testament. That means that anywhere you go in the New Testament—any passage you’re studying—you can get some help from Max & Mary.
While I am impressed with the helpful analysis, I think I’m most impressed by a few paragraphs in the preface (quoted below in their entirety) that discuss the reason the work exists, and the people it is intended to help:

But most important of all is the purpose to be served. It is hoped that this English revised edition in its turn will mean that the Greek text of the New Testament will not remain exclusively a tool on the desks of a decreasing number of specialists but will become a living power in the hands of theologians, of preachers of the Word, of directors of Bible discussion-circles, and finally in the hands of those who pray in private from the Word of God. This is the purpose to be served. May God bless everyone helping it.

The student who has little knowledge of Greek should bear in mind while using this book that it is by no means necessary to understand immediately everything explained in it. The principle of one thing at a time will serve him well. Many of the linguistic subtleties go beyond the needs of the beginner and are intended for the more advanced student, interested perhaps in the characteristics of Hellenistic Greek as contrasted with classical Greek.

A helpful feature of this work (and a justification of its size) is the fact that a student can begin using it at whatever point he likes, each chapter being self-sufficient and not presupposing explanations given in the previous chapters.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), iii–iv.

The Father of Modern Revivalism: Charles Finney

Charles Finney

It is difficult to get an accurate view of Charles Finney’s evangelistic work. Various sources give wildly divergent numbers for conversions under Finney’s influence, one saying that between 1857 and 1858 Finney was directly or indirectly responsible for leading over 100,000 people to Christ. Regardless of the specific numbers, there is no question that Charles Grandison Finney was an influential figure in the Second Great Awakening.

Charles Finney was born, the youngest of fifteen children, on August 29, 1792 in Litchfield, Connecticut. He studied law, but his plans were altered when he underwent a dramatic conversion experience at the age of 29.

Finney became pastor of the Free Presbyterian Chatham Street Chapel and later the Broadway Tabernacle. He spoke as a refined and expert orator and became a widely popular evangelist, organizing and preaching at numerous revivals and meetings throughout New England. He also traveled to England. As many as one million people heard Finney preach throughout his career, and many of them underwent conversion experiences. Finney also spoke at length about social issues, and became an ardent abolitionist. In 1835, Finney was appointed as a professor of theology at Oberlin College, and became its president in 1851, where he remained until 1866. Charles Finney died on August 17, 1875.

Logos is now offering the Charles Finney Collection (6 Vols.). This collection includes his lectures on revival, systematic theology, addresses to professing Christians, a collection of his sermons, as well as his autobiography. That’s almost 3,000 pages by one of the 19th century’s most recognizable—and at times controversial—evangelists.

Other great offerings from important revivalists include The Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 Vols.), and Selected Sermons of George Whitefield both from the Great Awakening of the 18th century. Second Great Awakening period offerings include the Lyman Beecher Collection (4 Vols.), and the Welwyn Biography Series (8 Vols.) which features a 240 page biography of Pastor Asahel Nettleton, another luminary from the Second Great Awakening.

Remember, to keep your eye on the Pre-Pub page. If you are looking to add some books to your Logos resources, the prices you find on the Pre-Pub page are the lowest Logos will offer on these items!

Weekend Discount on Barth’s Church Dogmatics

Save nearly 32% off the retail price of Barth’s Church Dogmatics (14 Vols.)
- with the coupon code BARTHMATICS


Today’s guest post is from Johnny Cisneros, Product Manager for Systematic Theology, and co-instructor of Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software.

In my last post, and the one before, I introduced you to Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology and Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology. I also mentioned that Pannenberg was a postdoctoral mentor to Erickson.

Who influenced Wolfhart Pannenberg? The answer is Karl Barth, the theologian whom Christianity Today calls “. . . one of the giants in the history of theology.” Pannenberg studied under Barth during his time at Basel (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, pg. 1222).

Barth is best known for his multi-volume theological work, Church Dogmatics. No matter where you stand on Barth, one would be hard-pressed to overstate the impact Barth’s Church Dogmatics had on 20th century theology.

Here’s an excerpt about Karl Barth from Who’s Who in Christian History:

“Barth’s greatest influence was theological, with his emphasis on God’s sovereignty placing him firmly in the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition. He differed radically from the mainstream of continental European theology, rejecting both its subjective emphasis on religious experience and the prevalent idea that Christian doctrine is subject to, or limited by, its historical origins” (Who’s Who in Christian History, pg. 66).

Check out some of these comments about Church Dogmatics:

“One of the most notable theological publications of our time.” —Expository Times

“It is in the Church Dogmatics above all that we must look for the grandeur of this humble servant of Jesus Christ, for the work he was given to accomplish in it will endure to bless the world for many centuries to come.” —Thomas F. Torrance

“Only Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin have performed comparable service in the past, in the search for a unified and comprehensive basis for all theology in the grace of God.” —Thomas F. Torrance

“Among Barth’s many books, sermons and essays, the multivolume Church Dogmatics—a closely reasoned, eloquently stated argument in nearly ten thousand pages—stands out as the crown of his achievement.” —Clifford Blake Anderson

“His multi-volume Church Dogmatics (CD) constitutes the weightiest contribution to Protestant theology since Schleiermacher.” —T. A. Noble

“Barth’s Church Dogmatics is by far the most detailed Protestant exposition of Christian doctrine to have appeared since the Reformation.” —Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

This week, two years ago, we released all fourteen volumes of Church Dogmatics for Logos Bible Software. We’re commemorating this anniversary by offering a this-weekend-only discount of almost 32% off of Church Dogmatics (14 Vols.). Simply use the coupon code BARTHMATICS during checkout to receive your discount!

Why Discourse Analysis Matters

Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament

Why does Paul sometimes say things like “I want you to know..”? Didn’t he want us to know everything he wrote?

Study of the Greek New Testament is too often limited to the words themselves, and not how the text hangs together as a whole. For years, Dr. Steve Runge has been incorporating the best research from linguists, translators, and biblical scholars to produce a suite of discourse-based resources from Logos Bible Software.

The newest addition is his Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis. This resource offers a book-length treatment of significant discourse devices and applies them to New Testament exegesis and interpretation. This book ships next week, so this is your last chance to get the discount while it’s on Pre-Pub!

Steve is also leading a 5-day Greek Discourse Workshop in Bellingham, Washington this summer. This workshop offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn how to apply this cutting-edge research very practically to your own exegesis. Space is limited, so you’ll need to register soon to reserve your spot.

A few days ago, Steve sat down to talk about the usefulness of discourse analysis for translating and interpreting the New Testament. This video describes the basics of discourse analysis and how it can be applied to the study of the Bible.

Remember, you have a little more time to register for the Greek Discourse Workshop. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now!