Bible Book Reading Lists: Discover Each Book in a New Light

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Today’s guest blogger is Annie O’Connor, from the Logos Bible Software Design and Editorial team.

Have you ever heard a pastor mention that reading the letters in the New Testament is somewhat like listening to half of a phone conversation? You don’t know what the person on the other end is saying, you only know how the person on your end responded. Of course, we can’t reconstruct the exact details surrounding each letter in the New Testament, but we aren’t completely in the dark either. Many resources (like the ones in your Logos library!) discuss this information and provide a solid context to help us understand what was happening on the other end of the conversation.

Take for example the book of 1 Peter. What is the major theme of this letter? Here’s an excerpt from one resource:

“Peter elaborated upon the subject of suffering throughout the entire epistle. He offered words of hope to his readers as they faced suffering (1:4–5; 5:4). He pictured suffering as purposeful (3:14; 4:14)” (Holman Bible Handbook).

The theme of suffering is significant when you consider the apostle Peter as author of the letter. His acceptance of unjust suffering is remarkable given his previous abhorrence of it. In the gospels, Peter adamantly rejects the notion that Christ should suffer (Mark 8:31-33), and even denies his personal affiliation with Jesus in order to avoid suffering himself (Mark 14:66-72). What a difference, then, that Peter should say “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1 Peter 2:19, ESV).

Fortunately, each of our base packages offers an array of resources that provide such information on each book of the Bible. The information is in your library, but it isn’t completely organized the way our other Guides are. In order to find this information, you need to open each commentary, Bible dictionary, or handbook individually and navigate to the desired information. We thought, surely, there must be a better way. We decided to take the first step.

In Logos 4.0 we introduced a new tool called Reading Lists (Tools>Reading Lists). This tool allows you to capture locations in resources and organize those locations as hyperlinks under a chosen topic. Using this format, we have created a Reading List for all 66 books of the Bible. This means that you no longer have to manually locate information on these books; the Reading Lists streamline the process. If you want to learn about the book of 1 Peter, the Bible book reading list will link you to articles in your library that address 1 Peter. You can quickly link to various articles discussing the Date, Historical Context and Recipients (what sort of suffering were the letter’s recipients experiencing?) or Authorship, Message, and Purpose (how is Peter’s affiliation with this letter significant?). These categories, though, are only the start. The Reading Lists have 30 categories pertaining to each book.

To jump start the reading lists, we have linked ten resources that provide maximum coverage of resources in our base packages. The next resources in our queue for linking are Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, The Summarized Bible, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ISBE, and the New American Commentary Series. The Reading Lists are not limited to these resources, though. Since the Reading Lists are user editable, anyone can add links to any resource they want. That means you! If you don’t see your favorite resource among those already linked, or in our queue, you can add it.

How does that work? Open the Reading List to the book page you want to edit, click “Edit” in the upper right hand corner of the pane. This will open the correct reading list on topics.logos.com. Click “Edit” on that page and you will be able to add links. How do you add links? Open to the introduction for the correct Bible book in your favorite resource, copy the Reading List link, and pasted it in the editing window on topics.logos.com. Divide any headings into the appropriate categories, click “Save” and, presto, your links for your resource are available in the Logos 4.0 Reading Lists.

There are more detailed instructions on our FAQ page.

So, in Logos 4.0, go to Tools>Reading Lists, find the Reading List for the book you want to study and quickly find many articles discussing that book. If you want more resources, just click “Edit” and add them. Happy reading and happy linking!

Logos 4: Vividly Display Repeated Words

mp|seminars Tips

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

As we read a biblical passage and make observations, one of the items we look for is repeated words. Normally words or phrases mentioned multiple times in a passage have particular importance. For example, in John 15 notice the occurrences of fruit. In Philippians 1 take note of the frequent use of gospel. When you locate such a reoccurring word within a given passage, Logos 4 contains a tool, Word Tree (in Original Languages Library and above), that vividly displays the word along with the words in relationship to it. Here’s how to use this helpful feature:

  • Choose Tools | Passage Analysis
  • Select Word Tree
  • Type a biblical reference in the passage box like John 15.1-7
  • Type a word in the box to the right of the passage such as fruit

You’ll notice Logos presents your word and as well as the words in relationship to it. To control the display use the three drop down lists.

In the first list select:

  • Reverse to see all the words leading to your word
  • Forward to see all the words flowing from your word

In the second list select your desired Bible.

In the third list select how to present the words used in relationship to your word. Select:

  • Occurrence toarrange the words in the tree in their biblical order
  • Alphabetical toarrange the words in the tree in their alphabetical order
  • Frequency toarrange the words in the tree by the number of times they appear in the biblical text

Once the tree is generated, you can click on any word in the display to rebuild the tree according to that word. Try using this feature in the observation phase of your Bible study. I think it will help you ask some interesting questions of the text.

Update: Please note that the Passage Analysis tool is only included in the following base packages: Original Lanuguages Library, Scholar’s Library, Scholar’s Library: Silver, Scholar’s Library: Gold, Scholar’s Library: Platinum, and Logos Bible Software 4: Portfolio Edition. To find out which base package is right for you, and see what discounts you qualify for, visit our upgrade page!

FreeBookPreview.com Goes Live—Celebrate with an iPod Touch!

iPod Touch

On Monday, July 26, 2010 we will launch FreeBookPreview.com. To celebrate this event we are giving away a free iPod Touch!

FreeBookPreview.com

Now you can sit back and really check out a book on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch before you purchase it and not be confined to a couple of pagescans. Free Book Preview works with the free Logos Bible Software app allowing you to preview entire Christian books for a limited time. At FreeBookPreview.com you can see a calendar of upcoming previews, read descriptions of previewed books, and see an archive of previously previewed books.

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Syntax Searching for Everyone: Using Query Forms

Video Tutorial

This is the second in a series of three posts called “Syntax Searching for Everyone”. In this video, we’ll peek at syntax search Query Forms.

What, you don’t know about Query Forms?

You didn’t know that you can just select a search template like “Subject”, fill in a blank, and find all the places where a particular Greek word (or, even better, English) is the subject of the clause?

Well, shame on me for not telling you earlier. But you can. Here’s how.

[Note: The Query Form feature is only available to users who have the Andersen-Forbes Hebrew Syntactic Analysis, the OpenText.org Greek NT Syntactic Analysis, and the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament. The Andersen-Forbes and OpenText.org databases are in the Logos 4 Original Languages (LE) package and above; Cascadia is in the Logos 4 Scholar's Silver (LE) package and above.]

For other posts in this series, see:

Logos 4 for Mac Beta Released

Have you noticed everyone’s getting a Mac?

We sure have; Logos 4 for Mac has been in Alpha all year long, yet thousands of users have already made the switch. Undeterred by theft or theft, our Mac team has been putting out new Alpha releases every two weeks. And today I’m happy to announce we’ve hit Beta!

Logos 4 for Mac is working well, and we have most features of Logos 4 for Windows up and running on the Mac. (And in some cases running twice as fast!) Beta means we’re confident you can install Logos 4 for Mac and join the thousands already using it as their primary Bible study tool. The developers will be focusing on your feedback, fixing bugs as they are reported, and polishing the user interface.

Then we’ll add the minor missing features and make sure we’re in sync with the 4.1 features already in beta on the Windows side. Moving forward, our goal is simultaneous release of new features on Mac and Windows, and a seamless cross-platform experience for all your books and data: Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and even the web.

To report bugs or get help, be sure to check out our forums, where you’ll find a strong user community and many of our developers hanging-out.

I hope you’ll join me in thanking our development team for their hard work and long hours. They’ve done an amazing job catching up to decades of Windows development in a very short time. And thank you for your patience; I trust you will find the result a blessing and an aid in more and better Bible study!

If you are interested in the beta for yourself, you can buy a Logos 4 base package, upgrade to Logos 4, or download the free beta and try it out. You’re going to be glad you did!

Mind the Gap

Socio-rhetorical

One of the big hurdles in preaching is bridging the cultural gap between our present setting and the society in which the NT documents were composed. It gets even harder when you realize there is actually more than one gap. Take the Apostle Paul for example. He was born in one of the Hellenistic Greek cultural centers, Tarsus. Let’s not forget that he was also a Roman citizen, which adds to the complexity. Acts 22:3 tells us that he was educated under Gamaliel as a strict Pharisee, adding yet another Jewish dimension to the picture. Is there any hope for properly unpacking the cultural baggage which underlies Scripture?

Ben Witherington and David deSilva have devoted much of their academic careers to addressing these issues, leading to the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series (8 Vols.). This eight volume set is enables you to successfully navigate these complexities by identifying the relevant cultural or rhetorical features in a given context. Each volume begins with a series of articles orienting you to key factors that shaped writer’s conception of the world. The balance of the book guides you through each passage, highlighting socio-rhetorical facets critical to soundly exegeting the passage.

Although the cultural divide can seem unwieldy, the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series is a great resource for bridging the gap. Although Witherington and deSilva are noted experts, their insights are delivered in clear, accessible language. Whether you are a seasoned expert or just jumping into these issues for the first time, I’d highly recommend adding this collection to your library.

Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships

Video Tutorial

Syntax searching is one of the coolest features of Logos Bible Software 4. I mean, to search and find where something is the subject of a clause, or the object of a clause? So, where, say, Peter does something (subject) or where something is done to Peter (object)?

Despite its coolness, some people think that syntax searching in Logos 4 is difficult. And I’ll admit, understanding the intricacies of syntax databases, the theories behind them, and how they represent structures takes work. But you don’t need to actually devise a query to do a syntax search. There are multiple points of entry, and many do not require you to create a syntax query from scratch.

I recently put together a series of three videos titled “Syntax Searching for Everyone” to show how syntax searching can play a part in your study — without writing a query. As simple as a right-mouse click in a reverse interlinear Bible. The three videos are:

  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships
  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Using Query Forms
  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Syntax Search Templates

Today’s video is Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships. I hope it helps you in your study!

Logos 4: Search Words of Christ

mp|seminars Tips

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

A Logos user recently e-mailed me asking how to limit a Bible search to just the words of Christ. For example, he wanted to locate the word servant in the red lettered words of his Bible. Here’s what I told him:

  • Click the Search icon to open the Search panel
  • Select Bible as the search type
  • On the Search line containing numerous drop down lists, click the last list and select an English Bible like the English Standard Version (ESV)
  • Click the second drop down list if using a PC, or the first for Mac users, and select Words of Christ (Words of Christ is a field in most English Bibles much like Name, Address, Zip Code, etc are fields on an application form. With this selection you’re indicating you only want to search the Words of Christ field in your designated Bible. Default is set to All Bible Text.)
  • In the Find box, type your desired word or phrase, such as servant or fear not
  • Click the search arrow in the Find box

Now you’ll see whereyour word or phrase only appears in the red lettered text of the Bible!

Talmud Top Five

Community Pricing

We recently announced a pre-publication offer for the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. I’m pretty excited about this one, so I thought I’d put on my junior marketeer’s hat and share my Top Five Reasons why you might get excited about the Talmud prepub as well:

  1. The Talmuds are two of the most important documents for understanding Judaism, ancient and modern. The Talmuds are by far the two largest components of the dozen or so early Jewish documents that together form the ‘Oral Torah’ – that is the body of teachings passed down by word-of-mouth and eventually codified into writings that, alongside the Written Torah (the Hebrew Bible), are normative for Jewish faith and practice.
  2. The Talmuds are often used to explain Jewish practices mentioned in the New Testament. While the Talmuds were written down three to five centuries after the New Testament, the Talmuds cite individual rabbis for the teachings found within. These rabbis can be dated, making it possible to get a sense for the antiquity of the various teachings found in the Talmuds. (Neusner, the editor and main translator for this set, is less sanguine about the traditional approach to dating Talmudic material, and puts emphasis on the rabbinic literature being products of the time in which they were finally compiled. However, Neusner provides his own criteria for dividing the Talmud into different chronological strata.)
  3. Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other references works already in the Logos library cite the Talmuds extensively. I ran a search for the first tractate, Berakoth, across the entire Logos library and found over 13,000 hits ( using a regex search with Match Case turned on: /[bytp]?Ber(a[kc]h?oth?)?/ ). Some of those are related Mishnah references instead of Talmud references (they share the same tractate names) but Berakoth is just one of 49 tractates covered in the Talmuds, and this count doesn’t include books in production now which will greatly benefit from tagged references to the Talmuds, such as Lightfoot’s A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Tagging these sorts of references makes the software more efficient at helping you dig as deep as you want to go.
  4. Even if one is fairly fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew, reading the Talmud requires special training due to the compact ‘encoding’ and formulae of the compositions. Neusner’s English translations provide parenthetical expansions of the text which ‘unpack’ the Talmuds, making them accessible to a much wider audience. Neusner also structures these texts using an outline format around ‘sense-units’ that visually convey the thought structure of the original texts that is often lost in other translations (you can see this approach in action in Neusner’s translation of the Mishnah as well).
  5. The price is right. The pre-pub cost for this set is the same as the CBD discount price for the PDF editions (a steal at $80 a Talmud—these are massive, multi-volume sets). The PDF editions are searchable and I think quite nice for PDFs, but they do not contain the type of data type milestones or tagging that make Logos books easy to navigate. For example, the PDFs are organized around Neusner’s chapter numbers, but these works are almost universally cited by folio number and an A or B to indicate which side of the folio. The Logos edition will be navigable and linkable by either Neusner’s own structural outline numbers or the traditional folio numbers. References to the Mishnah and the Bible will also be tagged as well, making this edition even more useful than the PDFs, all for the same price.

I’m excited about the avenues of exploration that will open up by having these texts available in the Logos library. If learning about ancient Judaism interests you, either for its own sake or for what it can teach about the New Testament or the Hebrew Bible, have a look at this prepub.

Build Your Library for Less!

Community Pricing

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, on the marketing team.

Logos has always been about providing the best quality in Bible study resources. One of the ways we do that is through our Community Pricing program, where our customers set the price for various titles and collections. We’ve had many deals throughout the years through Community Pricing, but the one that has everyone excited is The Greater Men and Women of the Bible, which is about to close this Friday.

Community Pricing allows you to set the price! Here’s how it works:

After estimating the cost of production, we provide a price range for you to bid for how much you would pay for a particular item. Simply click on a dollar amount on the graph to place your bid. Once there are enough bids, we can start producing the book. With Community Pricing, the more people who bid, the lower the price for everyone.

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