Learning Hebrew with Logos Bible Software

rich-penixToday’s guest post is from Rich Penix. Penix recently completed a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He currently serves on the ministry staff at Eden Baptist Church in Burnsville, Minnesota.

When I first considered learning Hebrew online, I had my doubts. I was worried about the lack of classroom accountability and personal encouragement from fellow students. However, after hearing glowing reports from fellow seminary students about Dr. Mark Futato’s Logos-integrated approach to learning Hebrew, I decided to take the plunge.

After completing three semesters of Hebrew through a Logos-integrated approach, I’m sold.

Here’s why: I was shown how to use Hebrew with the instrument in hand that I plan to use for regular teaching and preaching in the years to come.

The challenge of bridging the gap

Dr. Mark Futato is the Robert L. Maclellan Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. After years of observing students struggle to maintain their knowledge of Hebrew, Dr. Futato decided to create a teaching model that incorporates Hebrew learning within the context of Logos Bible Software. It is the intent in this review to both encourage teachers to creatively and strategically utilize Bible software into their teaching and for students to take such courses that recognize the enduring benefits of Bible software.

Many graduate from seminary with little resolve to maintain their knowledge of biblical Hebrew. One of the factors that contributes to such an attitude is the lack of clarity on how to bridge the gap between memorizing rules of Hebrew grammar and the joys of meaningful exegesis.

Imagine if your child took music lessons, but was only taught music theory. Wouldn’t it seem strange if your child rarely, if ever, touched the musical instrument with which he should use such knowledge? The same applies to learning a language. How much more effective is Hebrew when learned with the proper instrument in hand? Learning biblical Hebrew through Logos Bible Software helps bridge that gap.

Integrating coursework with Logos

In Dr. Futato’s own words, he states:

My Logos-integrated Hebrew courses are primarily geared toward training students in such a way that they will continually use their knowledge of Hebrew and technology throughout their ministries. By incorporating Logos into approximately half of the course, my desire is to equip students to be more precise and profound in the exegesis of the Old Testament, through a knowledge of basic Hebrew grammar and Logos software.

The course begins with a walk-through of how to organize one’s Logos library. Preferred Bible translations, Bible dictionaries, and Hebrew lexicons are organized in precisely the manner prescribed by the professor, so exegetical assignments may be completed in an organized, uniform manner.

Like any Hebrew course, there are regular quizzes and exams testing the student’s understanding of Hebrew grammar and vocabulary. However, a large percentage of the final grade is determined through weekly workbooks that record the student’s answers to exegetical questions that must be ascertained through one’s ever-growing dexterity with Logos Bible Software. Workbooks are graded upon the student’s ability to perform basic operations in Logos, such as morphological searches, syntactical searches, searching the semantic range of a word and other Hebrew word studies. Students are not simply asked to complete a given task in Logos, but to defend why they have made certain exegetical conclusions from the biblical data. This exercise in critical thinking serves the student well as they interact with the Hebrew text.

With an emphasis toward the faithful application of Hebrew, each student is asked to read and comment on the following works:

These works were enjoyable to read and provided helpful direction toward the ongoing use of Hebrew in the future.

The benefits of Logos-integrated learning

In summary, I wholeheartedly recommend learning Hebrew through Logos. As a result of studying Hebrew through this model, I instinctively gravitate toward using Logos to search Hebrew words and research syntactical questions in the same manner I was taught. By having a trusted Bible scholar walk me through how to use Logos, I was immediately shown how to practically use Hebrew for precise exegesis. This guidance was a tremendous gift.

If you are a seminary student, I’d encourage you to consider fulfilling your Hebrew requirements through a Logos-integrated approach. Chances are you will likely use some form of Bible software down the road for teaching or sermon prep. Whether you take one of Dr. Futato’s courses through the Global Campus of Reformed Theological Seminary or a similarly constructed course, I’d encourage you to capitalize on a method that teaches the essentials of the language alongside the essentials of Bible software—it’s a win-win!

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To begin studying Hebrew with Dr. Futato, check out his guide to learning biblical Hebrew.

Dot-to-Dot Puzzles, the Hierarchy of Understanding, and Logos 6

delivering-insight-connecting-the-dots-logos-6

connect-the-dots-wisdom-tiers-logos-6

Logos 6: delivering insight

When we were deciding how to talk about Logos 6, we landed on the tagline “delivering insight.” We were very intentional with this message, which came out of conversations we were having about how one gains understanding in their field of study, then how they communicate that understanding to their audience.

We found that Logos users were looking for much more than just data, information, or knowledge; they were truly seeking wisdom.

In the Hierarchy of Understanding model, one moves from data to information, from information to knowledge, and finally from knowledge to wisdom.

connect-the-dots-lightbulb-logos-6Insight is the bridge between knowledge and wisdom

Remember when you were a kid and you did “dot-to-dot” puzzles? You know the ones I’m talking about. You would draw lines from dot to dot, and when you were done, it made a picture.

Insight is a lot like that. Insight happens when you connect all the dots and reveal something that was previously hidden or just not obvious. Insight is the “Aha!” moment of discovery when, after careful exploration and observation, you come to a new truth or realization that you’ve never had before.

However, there’s a real problem, which is that insight isn’t obvious. It’s elusive, hard to come by and frankly, pretty rare.

Insight comes when you connect the dots. But what do you do when you don’t have access to all the dots? When it comes to study of the Scripture and the ancient world, that question becomes even more complex: how do you connect the dots when the dots are dispersed over a few millennia of history, buried in books, logged in archaeological records, hidden in ancient manuscripts, and written in foreign languages?

l6-overview-gold-featuredLogos 6 is the ultimate “dot connector”

Built on a unique platform with hand‐tagged, fully interconnected biblical resources that are full of “dots,” Logos 6 is able to find and connect those dots with lightning speed and deliver insight by revealing truths that were previously hidden.

Logos 6 sets the stage for those elusive “Aha!” moments of insight, helping you bridge the gap from knowledge to wisdom.

Find out which base package will help you connect the dots you need to deliver insight!

Want to talk to someone about all your dot‐connecting options, including payment plans? Give us a call at 888-875-9491.

Evaluating Textual Variation with Logos 6

textual-variants-tool-logos-6Most guides to exegesis include an important step in pursuing the exegesis of a given passage: establishing the text. This is the exegetical step where textual variation is taken into account, and one notes and weighs the variations in a passage to determine the text that will be exegeted.

In previous versions of Logos, the Exegetical Guide included a section called “Apparatuses,” which was the primary source of information to be used in establishing the text for exegesis.

In Logos 6, the Exegetical Guide’s Textual Variants section is a complete redesign of what used to be the Apparatuses section. The goal of the redesign is to make it easy to get to information in your library that may help with evaluating textual variation.

There are six parts to the Textual Variants section, each representing different types or classes of resources or data relevant to examining textual variation:

  • Textual commentaries
  • Apparatuses
  • Editions
  • Transcriptions
  • Ancient versions
  • Online manuscripts

Textual commentaries

These are specialized commentary resources that comment on units of textual variation instead of commenting with exegetical information. The most commonly known example of this type of resource is Bruce Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

Most textual commentaries have been focused on the variations found in the New Testament. For Logos 6, we’ve created a new textual commentary, targeted at the lay user with little Hebrew or Greek knowledge. It covers over 2,000 variation units throughout the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament.

The textual-commentaries section extracts the first portion of the note for the verse under study. This helps you get an idea what the variation is about, and it might help determine if you need to research the variation in more depth.

Other textual commentaries (such as Metzger’s) are listed in the Textual Variants section; if you click the title in your software, it will open the resource to the appropriate entry.

Apparatuses

Apparatuses are those things at the bottom of the page of some editions of the Hebrew Bible and of the Greek New Testament. They are typically laden with abbreviations, cryptic to read, and difficult to understand. They are highly compressed forms of variation data. This section largely reproduces what Logos 4 and 5’s Apparatuses section did: provide appropriate links to apparatuses so that the textual evidence for a given variation can be further evaluated.

Editions

For the purposes of the Textual Variants section, an “edition” is a version of an original-language text produced in the modern era. The use of “modern era” is wide, so these are essentially editions (not transcriptions) produced after 1500.

This section lists editions of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament—such as the Lexham Hebrew Bible (LHB), the Biblica Hebraica Westmonasteriensis (BHW), the SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT), the Nestle-Aland 28th edition, and the like. Editions of the Septuagint are also included for references covered by that corpus.

Transcriptions

Different than an edition, a transcription is an attempt to transcribe the text as it occurs in a particular manuscript. These also often include the pagination and line breaks of the manuscripts in question. Items included in this section would be the Qumran Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, and others.

Ancient versions

We read our Bibles in our own language, as they have been translated by experts for those who do not know the original languages. This is not new; translations of the Bible have been made from ancient times. What we call the Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. There are other of these ancient or “early” versions, including versions in Aramaic (the Targums) and Latin (the Vulgate) as well as Coptic, Syriac, and all sorts of other languages. If you have access to any of these in your library of Logos resources, they will appear here for you to consult.

Online manuscripts

At present, this feature only works for New Testament references. It relies on information provided by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, or INTF) which is the organization behind the critical editions of the Greek New Testament: the Editio Critica Maior, the Nestle-Aland family of texts, and the United Bible Societies editions of the Greek New Testament.

The information behind online manuscripts is provided through a web service operated by the INTF, known as the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR). This web service offers a public interface to much of the data that is used by the textual critics at the INTF in their work preparing editions of the Greek New Testament. In other words, where available, these are the transcriptions and the manuscript images being used to inform textual critics as they prepare critical editions of the Greek New Testament.

In Logos 6, whatever data is available to the public via the NTVMR is made available for your consultation. This may simply be indexing data that confirms a manuscript contains some portion of the specified passage, or it may be images or transcriptions of manuscript pages that contain that passage.

One example is Mark 13:8. The NTVMR contains data from many majuscule (uncial) and minuscule (cursive) manuscripts for this reference:

When a manuscript such as Sinaiticus or Bezae is available as a resource inside of Logos, the title of the manuscript is linked to the Logos resource. The links to transcriptions and images outside of Logos are available for consultation as well. Additional data entries about the manuscript (date, contents, page layout, and language) are also given.

In other words, for many major manuscripts (and several not-so-major manuscripts), you now have links straight to reputable, verified, and accurate manuscript transcriptions and images. For those who work though the text at this level, this is an incredible treasure trove of information.

Dig into valuable insights

If you’re only interested in short descriptions of variations, you can focus on the textual-commentaries section to see what variations, if any, have been noted by other studies and grow into the other sections as your studies require and skill grows. If you require more information on a given variation, you can dig straight into an apparatus, or into comparisons of modern editions you have access to in your Logos library. If you have transcriptions of material available such as the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls, or ancient editions such as the Targums, Vulgate, Syriac, or Coptic versions, these are presented as well. Finally, transcriptions and images of several major and minor New Testament manuscripts are available through the interface to the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR).

Logos 6’s Textual Variants section handles more data than previous versions of Logos Bible Software and presents it in a more meaningful and easier-to-use manner.

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Check out Textual Variants in action and see how to use this tool step by step.

Logos 6′s Textual Variants tool is available in Gold and higher: explore all of your base-package options, or see which package we recommend for you.

Improve Your Bible Study in 2015

diy-bible-studyAs the calendar turns over to 2015, many of you are making New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve decided to take your Bible study to the next level this year, Lexham Press has designed a resource that makes it easier than ever. DIY Bible Study helps you step into the story of the Bible with application-focused content, beautifully designed images, and practical video tutorials.

A year-long reading plan, included with DIY Bible Study, guides you through the entire Bible in just 10 minutes a day. You’ll get an overview of the entire Bible, one study at a time. It’s designed to be accessible and flexible to fit exactly what you need to dig into the Bible.

Study with Logos 6

We built DIY Bible Study to be fully integrated into Logos Bible Software. We’re leveraging all of the amazing tools found in Logos 6, and we’ll teach you how to use them.

As you work through DIY Bible Study, your learning is framed by sections that teach you how to study the Bible. These study principles are delivered through short video lessons, like this:

Not only are you learning important study principles and methods, but you’re seeing them used within Logos Bible Software itself. You’ll learn to study the Bible and use the most powerful Bible software to accomplish your goals.

Biblical interpretation is like appreciating a Monet painting. At first, everything is a bit blurry, but once you stand farther back, you see how all the blurry shapes fit together into something beautiful. In this regard, there is absolutely no substitute for reading all of the Bible and reading it regularly; the more parts of the Bible that are in your head, the more the Bible will make sense.

The right tools and biblical interpretation methods can help you thoughtfully and accurately study the Bible for yourself and apply it to your life—seeing how everything fits together.

DIY Bible Study

Get started today!

Improve your Bible study with DIY Bible Study and Logos 6. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to get your Bible study started on the right foot.

DIY Bible Study is included in most Logos 6 base packages. You can also get it in the Lexham Bible Study Essentials Bundle, which is over 60% off to celebrate New Year’s!

3 Tips for Sticking with Daily Bible Readings

Logos-6-launch-Small-Group-300x300The new year is the perfect time for a fresh start: we get the chance to reset and create goals for ourselves in hopes of improving our lives. But even if we start the year with the best intentions of developing positive changes, they often fall by the wayside.

One common New Year’s resolution is to read Scripture, whether it’s the Old or New Testament, the entire biblical text, or even just a few verses a day.

Ultimately, it’s not about a New Year’s resolution; it’s about cultivating a daily habit of spending time in the Word.

And with Logos 6, you’ll get the tools you need to stay on track, remain accountable, and reach the goals you set out to accomplish.

Here are three ways Logos 6 will help you stay in the Word this year:

1. Get daily readings delivered to your desktop.

In Logos 6, you’ll always find your daily reading right on your homepage, making it convenient to jump right into your daily passage. Check off each passage when you’re done, then come back the next day—a new passage will be set up and ready for you.

You can start a reading plan in two different ways: either create a custom reading plan by choosing your text and breaking up the readings into manageable sections, or select a premade reading plan to take you through a specific book of the Bible, a thematic topic, or a set of seasonal readings.

Here are some premade reading plans you can choose from:

  • 5 Days on Spiritual Growth
  • 7 Days on Jesus’ Birth
  • 10 Days on Patience
  • 14 Days on Grace
  • 21 Days on Prayer
  • Advent Reading Plan
  • Luke 1 Month
  • The Bible’s Story in 30 Days
  • And many more!

Select these premade plans from either your desktop software or through the free Logos app—your selection will sync across your devices, so you can stay on track no matter where your day takes you.

2. Gain support and accountability through community.

One of the obstacles to sticking with a reading plan on your own is a lack of accountability—it can be difficult to stay motivated or to catch up if you fall behind.

Logos 6 has two types of reading plans: private and group. Group plans provide accountability and follow-through that you don’t have on your own.

If you’re part of a Faithlife Group, you can set up a plan and read together. Not only will reading together hold you accountable, but you’ll also be able to share your thoughts and insights through Community Notes.

You can create a reading plan for your Bible study group, your class, or even your entire church! Let’s say you meet with a small group once a week: instead of having to recall what you read seven days prior, you’ll be able to ask questions and share ideas as you read.

3. Map out a manageable plan in seconds.

When you create a custom reading plan, you get to set your own parameters. Just choose your Bible translation and set a schedule, and Logos will automatically break up the text and generate a plan that fits your criteria.

If you’re not sure where to start, why not go from the beginning? In fact, if you create a plan to read the entire Bible in 90 days starting January 1, you’ll be done by Easter. Your first reading will explore Genesis 1–11, exploring the story of Creation, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. Here’s a taste of what you’ll read:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:1–5

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Explore reading plans for yourself and see how they can keep you on track to reach your goals this year: get Logos 6 today!

Plus, for a limited, time, take advantage of introductory discounts and save 15% on your Logos 6 purchase. If you spend at least $500, you’ll also qualify for special bonus gifts.

Master Journal Bundle: A Treasure Trove of Insights

master-journal-bundleJournals are an essential resource when it comes to identifying the intimate details of any given subject. Whether you’re doing a word study or exploring the history of a theological concept, journals can help you better understand the various subtleties found in Scripture.

Recognizing their importance in the interpretation of the Word, we’ve created the Master Journal Bundle: our largest collection of journals ever compiled. This collection contains over 1,280 volumes of journals covering a wide variety of topics, such as biblical studies, church history, practical ministry, and more. Worth over $10,000.00 in print, these digitized versions are on Pre-Pub for only $599.95.

Pre-order them today to lock in your price and help move this bundle toward production!

Journals for every student

This collection comes with a variety of journals covering a vast range of subjects. Some of the titles in this collection are:

  • Biblical Archaeologist 55–60, 6 vols. (1992–1997)
  • Bibliotheca Sacra 1–171, 171 vols. (1844–2014)
  • Bulletin for Biblical Research 1–23, 23 vols. (1991–2013)
  • Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 285–368, 84 vols. (1992–2012)
  • Churchman 1, 6, 12–13, 15–21, 32, 38–40, 42–44, 46–126, 99 vols. (1886, 1892, 1898, 1901–1907, 1918, 1924–1926, 1928–1929, 1932–2010)
  • Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 1–18, 18 vols. (1996–2013)
  • Filología Neotestamentaria 1–22, 22 vols. (1988–2009)
  • First Things 1–25, 25 vols. (1990-2014)
  • Founders Press Journal, 92 vols. (1995–2014)
  • Journal of Biblical Apologetics 1–11, 11 vols. (2000–2008)
  • Journal of Biblical Literature 100–125, 26 vols. (1981–2006)
  • Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry 1–4, 4 vols. (2010–2014)
  • Journal of Dispensational Theology 10–17, 8 vols. (2006–2013)
  • Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 1–11, 11 vols. (1997–2011)
  • Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 1–37, 37 vols. (1975–2011)
  • Journal of Theological Interpretation 1–6, 6 vols. (2007–2012)
  • Letter and Spirit 1–8, 8 vols. (2005–2013)
  • And more!

You’ll also get various magazines and reviews in this collection, including:

  • Christian History and Biography Magazine 1–99, 99 issues
  • Review of Biblical Literature 1–9, 9 vols. (1998–2006)
  • And more!

Make your journals work for you

With Logos 6, you can get far more from your journals than the standard print versions. Get precise search results from all of your scholarly journals—search a verse in your Passage Guide or Sermon Starter Guide, and your results include a list of links to relevant journal articles both online and in your library. No more filtering out the results you want or performing multiple searches: now you can get results from all your journals at once.

Over a century of knowledge at your fingertips

The Master Journal Bundle can help further your study of the biblical text by offering in-depth analysis of various biblical texts and theological ideas. Formerly, access to this wealth of information was only available through libraries in a cumbersome print format. But now in Logos, you can access all of these completely searchable journals at a fraction of the cost. Make sure to take advantage of the Pre-Pub price of $599.95!

Pre-order the Master Journal Bundle and add a wealth of understanding to your library.

New Lexham Press Titles Shipping Soon

Lexham Press has 16 new books shipping before the calendar turns over to 2015! All of these books are on currently on Pre-Pub—by ordering now, you could get up to 40% off the regular price.

Hurry—all of these books will ship before the end of the year!

Spurgeon Commentary Collection

spurgeon-commentary-collection-new-testament-lettersWe’ve already shown you what makes these commentaries different—they’re more than just a collection of Spurgeon’s writings and spoken word. They’re directly connected to your Logos Bible Software tools that you use on a regular basis, filled with the inspiring wisdom of one of the most influential preachers of the modern era.

The revolutionary Spurgeon Commentary Collection ships December 30. Get it for 40% off on Pre-Pub.

Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics

reformed-dogmaticsFor the first time ever, Geerhardus Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics will be available in English. The first two volumes have been completed and the third one is almost ready. We’re shipping all three of these volumes—Theology Proper, Anthropology, and Christology—now so you can benefit from this groundbreaking translation project.

The final two volumes are scheduled to be finished by July, 2016. If you order now, you’ll receive the first three volumes when they ship December 29 and the other two volumes automatically as they’re finished.

You can get this important piece of Reformed theology for 20% off on Pre-Pub.

Transformative Word series

when-you-want-to-yell-at-god-the-book-of-jobThe first two volumes of the Transformative Word series are finished and ready to ship.

The first volume, When You Want to Yell at God, helps us see the book of Job with fresh eyes. Looking at Job as the height of biblical poetry, Craig Bartholomew helps us see just how beautiful this man’s struggle with God really is.

The second volume, Cutting Ties with Darkness, examines the painful relationship between the Apostle Paul and the church in Corinth. How can we deal with the scars we’ve picked up from our own relationships in light of Jesus’ example?

The Transformative Word series is written by a global cast of church leaders to help you reflect on how the Bible can transform your life. A conversational tone and thought-provoking questions guide you through each biblical book.

These two volumes will ship December 30. Get them both for 20% off on Pre-Pub.

Stand-alone books

the-lion-of-princeton-bb-warfield-as-apologist-and-theologianLexham Press has two additional stand-alone books that will ship before the end of the year, The Lion of Princeton: B.B. Warfield as Apologist and Theologian and Confronted by Grace: Meditations of a Theologian.

In the Lion of Princeton, Kim Riddlebarger examines B.B. Warfield’s theological, apologetical, and polemical writings, bringing clarity to the confusion that surrounds one of the most significant American theologians. Riddlebarger provides a biographical overview of Warfield’s life and traces the growing appreciation for Warfield’s thought by contemporary Reformed thinkers.

Confronted by Grace is a collection of beautifully and thoughtfully written sermons from John Webster, a leading contemporary theologian. These reflections, born from years of theological and biblical study, demonstrate the complexity of the realities we face in the Christian life and the depth of the grace of God. Thoroughly accessible, Webster points us toward Christ so that we may grow in our understanding of the truth of the gospel.

These two books ship on December 31. Get them both for 20% off on Pre-Pub.

Last Chance: 4 Mobile Ed Courses Shipping This Month

Mobile Ed has had a busy year. We have close to 50 courses available right now with even more in post-production! In addition, four courses are about to ship, which means this is your last chance to save 40% on each of them.

Here’s a brief look at what you’ll get in these courses:

Western Civilization: Greeks to Aquinas

mobile-ed-cs201-western-civilization-greeks-to-aquinasIn CS201 Western Civilization: Greeks to Aquinas, Dr. Bryan Litfin surveys overs 1,200 years of Western civilization with an emphasis on the rise of Christianity. He describes the background of the early church, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the birth of Europe, the Middle Ages, and the Crusades. Throughout the course, Dr. Litfin focuses on factors that influenced the growth and development of Christianity, including the councils of the early church, key figures like Augustine, early Christian monasticism, the rise of the papacy, and the early missionary efforts of the church.

This course will give you a better appreciation of how Christianity influenced Western culture, as well as how Western culture influenced Christianity. This course ships on December 23, so order it today while it’s still 40% off!

Introducing Pastoral Counseling I and II

mobile-ed-eric-l-johnson-pastoral-counseling-bundleIn this two-course Pastoral Counseling Bundle, psychologist and professor of pastoral care Dr. Eric L. Johnson provides an overview of pastoral counseling.

In CO101 Introducing Pastoral Counseling I: Theory and Practice, he lays out seven foundational themes or pillars of pastoral counseling. He also describes practical counseling skills that you can use to develop your own counseling abilities and outlines a five-session model for pastoral counseling.

In CO102 Introducing Pastoral Counseling II: Examples in Application, Dr. Johnson looks more in depth at psychological issues every counselor should be aware of. He provides different approaches and strategies you can take when counseling people with depression, couples having problems in their marriage, individuals going through a crisis, and more. Dr. Johnson also discusses important considerations such as when to refer people to professionals for longer-term care.

These two courses are invaluable to anyone who is involved in pastoral counseling. They ship on December 26, so order them today while you can get them for 40% off!

Introducing Evangelism

mobile-ed-ed121-introducing-evangelismFinally, in ED121 Introducing Evangelism, author, pastor, and apologist Dr. Bobby Conway walks you through the basics of evangelism. He explains why evangelism is important and why all believers should be evangelists. He offers a practical strategy to help you get started—a strategy that includes principles like “rely on God through prayer” and “equip yourself to defend the faith.” Dr. Conway emphasizes the importance of building relationships with people, sharing your own personal story, and connecting new believers to a local church.

This course will encourage you to share your faith and provide you with the tools necessary to do so. It ships December 30, so order it today and get 40% off!

Pre-order these courses today to lock in the best prices!

How to Incorporate Extrabiblical Texts into Your Exegesis

ancient-literature-example-featureGood exegesis starts with the text. But it doesn’t end there. You rightly examine lexicons, commentaries, and all sorts of other references as you wrestle with a text.

But what did the ancients say about the text you’re wrestling with? How was this verse used or understood by the Rabbis? By the Church Fathers? What about Philo and Josephus? Are there topics or ideas in this verse that were used in other ancient literature?

Standard secondary sources such as these have been available for Logos Bible Software for a while. But there are a lot of them (no, really, see the list at the end of this post!). And you have to know how to search, then you have to be able to evaluate the usages. And that doesn’t even take into account when commentaries refer to ancient literature (which happens frequently).

In Logos 6, it is as simple as looking in the Passage Guide report you probably already ran on the verse. The Passage Guide sports a brand-new section called Ancient Literature. The section provides information on how your passage is used in all sorts of ancient literature. Not only that, but it also classifies the relationship of the reference in ancient literature with the biblical reference you’re examining. It uses simple and general categories like citation, quotation, allusion, echo, topical, lexical, phrase, and historical.

An example—the one that actually prompted us to start assembling the extensive underlying dataset used by this tool—will probably help explain.

Isaiah 54: The Barren Woman

Here’s the text of Isaiah 54:1 from the Lexham English Bible (LEB):

“Sing for joy, barren woman; who has not borne!

Burst forth into rejoicing and rejoice, she who has not been in labor!

For the children of the desolate woman are more than the children of the married woman,” says Yahweh.

Why would a barren woman rejoice? Once you’ve done your initial work within the passage and within the canonical text, it might help to look at how the passage is understood and referred to in other ancient literature, and whether its relation is intertextual or topical in nature. Understanding how ancient literature interacts at either an intertextual or topical level with this passage can give us better insight into how the cultures contemporary with the Bible viewed barren women, their role in society, and why it would be strange for them to be rejoicing.

This is exactly what the Ancient Literature tool gives you. It points you to relevant portions of ancient literature, classifying the relationship so you can determine if the reference is something you’d like to examine further:

ancient-literature-example
Ancient Near Eastern literature

Literature in this category does not directly interact with the text of the Bible, but it is from the same milieu and can give us insight into how cultures contemporary with ancient Israel viewed similar concepts and topics.

One document, known as “Enki and Ninmah” (Context of Scripture 1.159) uses the concept of a barren woman. It also shows the cultural notion that a woman unable to give birth was deemed as somehow defective (the larger context of COS 1.159 is a contest between Enki and Ninmah, where Ninmah is creating defective humans and challenging Enki to somehow redeem them or make them useful):

Fifth—she fashioned from it a woman

who could not give birth.

Enki—upon seeing the woman

who could not give birth,

Decreed her fate, he assigned her

to do work in the Women’s Quarter.1

Here, all that Enki could do with the barren woman was to give her work in the women’s quarter. Understanding the cultural necessity of the ability to procreate and the following derision heaped upon those unable to do so is important for understanding the craziness of commanding Isaiah 54:1’s barren woman to rejoice. She has nothing to rejoice over and is well aware of it.

Apostolic Fathers

In Second Clement, one of the earliest available Christian sermons outside of the New Testament, typically dated AD 100–150, the homilist begins (§2.1–3) by quoting from Isaiah 54 and then explaining what he thinks it means. If you’re looking at Isaiah 54, this is good stuff:

2.1Rejoice, O barren woman who has not given birth, break forth and shout, you who has no birth pains, for many are the children of the deserted woman, more than she who has a husband.  The one who says, “Rejoice, O barren woman who has not given birth,” speaks to us, for our church was barren before children were given to her. 2 And the one who says “Shout you who has no birth pains,” means this: offer up our prayers sincerely to God, we should not grow weary like women in labor.  3 And the one who says, “For many are the children of the deserted woman, more than she who has a husband,” since our people seem to be deserted by God, but now we who have believed have become many more than those who seemed to have God.2

In Second Clement, the barren woman is identified as the church, and the growth of the church is identified as the children of the barren woman—pretty interesting.

Judiaca

In the Babylonian Talmud, b.Ber. I.8 mentions Isaiah 54:1. Beruriah is the wife of Rabbi Meir; here she is fielding a question about barren women, specifically referencing Isaiah 54:1:

I.8 A. A certain min said to Beruriah, “It is written, ‘Sing, O barren woman, who has not born . . .’ (Is. 54:1).

B.“Because the woman is barren, should she rejoice?”

      1. She said to him, “Idiot, look at the end of the same verse of Scripture, for it is written, ‘For the children of the desolate shall be more than the children of the married woman, says the Lord’ (Is. 54:1).
      2. “What then is the sense of, ‘Barren woman, who has not born’?

E.“Rejoice, O congregation of Israel, which is like a barren woman [that is,] who has not born children destined for Gehenna such as yourself.”3

Beruriah’s scorn for the lazy exegesis of the Isaiah passage by the one consulting her is evident in her response in ‘B’, labeling him an idiot for not reading the rest of the verse, and then in ‘E’ by her declaration that he is destined for Gehenna as well.

Other references

And there is so much more. Philo, On Rewards §§158–161 cites Isaiah 54:1 and then provides an allegorical interpretation of it. The Sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q265 Fragment 2) allude to it so we know the passage was used among the Qumran community. There are references in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 Baruch 10.14; Apocalypse of Elijah 2.38; and more). There are several references in the writings of the Church Fathers.

Get started with Ancient Literature

In the past, users with all of these resources may not have found these references unless they were serious power users with serious search skills. Even then, the references would not have been classified.

Ancient Literature gives you an entry point into all sorts of ancient writings related to the Bible in one way or another. And it provides you with information relevant to the section of Scripture you are studying. It helps you to see how the ancients—rightly or wrongly—used the passage you’re studying. And that could be just the piece you need to better understand your text.

Literature areas and resources for exploration

As you study with the Ancient Literature tool, you can pull from several different resource categories in your library, including:

* * *

Check out Ancient Literature in action and see how to use this tool step by step.

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  1. William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture (Leiden: Brill, 1997–), 518. []
  2. Rick Brannan, trans., The Apostolic Fathers in English (Logos Bible Software, 2012). []
  3. Jacob Neusner, The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 56–57. []

Shipping Soon: The John MacArthur Sermon Archive

john-macarthur-sermon-archiveJohn MacArthur is one of the most influential pastors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Known for his adherence to Scripture as the inerrant Word of God, MacArthur used his preaching ministry to touch the lives of millions throughout the globe. Now, with the John MacArthur Sermon Archive, you can integrate his vast sermon collection into your Logos library and take advantage of powerful search capabilities and features you’ve come to love.

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