God with Us: The Birth of a Savior

Matthew 1:23One of the most fascinating developments to follow through the Bible’s storyline is the concept of God dwelling with his people. God, the creator of all that exists, gradually reveals his desire to be present and active with those who belong to him. Tracing this progressive revelation is cause for great worship and wondrous hope.

After God rescued the Israelites from Egypt, God commanded them to make him “a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst” (Exod. 25:8). God had given the Israelites new hope and identity by rescuing them from the Egyptians. Now, he revealed his intention to have his presence continually with them. Through both this “tabernacle” and the temple that followed, God lived among his people. How incredible it must have felt to have the Lord of all creation make his home with them!

Yet the tabernacle and temple were only a glimpse of God’s ultimate plan to draw near to his people. Isaiah prophesied about a coming “Emmanuel” (Isa. 7:14), a name which means “God with us.” In Jesus, God entered into his creation in a very tangible way. That the temple system allowed for the high priest to enter into God’s presence was astounding, but Jesus made God’s presence readily available to all. He did this in two ways.

First, Jesus revealed the character of God. He demonstrated the love, mercy, righteousness, and holiness of God in ways that we could easily see and understand. Following God was no longer merely about obeying commands, but about following the one who lived them out perfectly.

Second, Jesus made a way for sinners to come into God’s presence by providing a “once and for all,” perfect sacrifice for sin. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christians “have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19). Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God both dwelt with us and provided a way for us to dwell with him.

With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we get another example of God’s desire to dwell with his people. Through the Holy Spirit, God intends to be ever present and active with his people, both as individuals and as the church (1 Cor. 6:19, 1 Cor. 3:16). In words only fully grasped with an understanding of the Israelite temple system, Paul asks the Corinthian church, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Just as God’s presence dwelt in the inner sanctuary of the physical temple, so now his presence dwells with his church and with individual believers.

Yet the final piece in God’s plan to dwell with his people is still yet to come. In John’s vision of the new creation, he sees “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2). John then hears “a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’” (Rev. 21:3). As we’ve seen time and again, God enters into our world, moves into our neighborhood. This passage does not read, “. . . the dwelling place of man is with God,” but rather “. . . the dwelling place of God is with man.” God enters into our world, our realm, our lives. He is the great initiator. And apart from his continual movement towards us, we are hopeless.

What a joy that our hope is not in “us with God,” but in “God with us.” Emmanuel.

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Continue exploring the Christmas story with limited-time Christmas collections, and find ways to enrich your holiday season with Scripture during the Logos Christmas sale.

On Sale: Resources for Examining Christ’s Birth

december-monthly-sale-bannerAs we spend time with our friends and loved ones this Christmas Eve, our thoughts naturally turn to the birth of the Messiah. And yet, so many misconceptions persist about Jesus’ arrival on this earth. With that in mind, here are some resources you can use to explore the Savior’s birth that are on sale this December:

The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel

Save 34% when you get it now!

the-interpretation-of-st-matthews-gospelMatthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. While many modern Christians are concerned with their ancestry and family trees, this would have been of special importance to Matthew’s original audience.

R.C.H. Lenski highlights the importance of genealogy to a first-century audience—and the incredible lineage of Jesus through David, as well as Abraham. In the entire commentary, he goes beyond exegesis, providing linguistic and textual analysis; historical background like information on the author, date, time of writings, authorial intent, and chief themes; and much more. Often addressing difficult text, evading nothing, Lenski evaluates multiple interpretations before choosing one in particular.

The Lenski Commentary will introduce you to a range of interpretations and viewpoints, allowing you to see how other interpretations relate to one another, and will provide the context as to why he settled on a particular viewpoint.

The Anchor Yale Bible: The Gospel according to Luke I–IX

Save 20% when you get it now!

the-anchor-yale-bible-the-gospel-according-to-luke-i-ixLuke’s Gospel, which is frequently associated with the Christmas story, provides elements like the birth announcement to Zechariah, Elizabeth’s proclamation, and Mary’s song of praise. 

In this first of two volumes on the Gospel of Luke, Joseph A. Fitzmyer provides an exhaustive introduction, a definitive new translation, and extensive notes and commentary on Luke’s Gospel. Fitzmyer brings to the task his mastery of ancient and modern languages, his encyclopedic knowledge of the sources, and his intimate acquaintance with the questions and issues occasioned by the third Synoptic Gospel.

The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66

Save 10% when you get it now!

the-new-international-commentary-on-the-old-testament-the-book-of-isaiah-chapters-40-66Though many of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah’s birth come in the early portion of the book, chapters 40–66 are replete with prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, including the powerful chapter 53. At this time of celebration, let us not forget that this infant baby whose birth we observe would become the man Jesus, born to die for the sins of the whole world.

In this commentary, John N. Oswalt builds on his earlier argument that the central theme of Isaiah is servanthood. Throughout the book, he keeps readers focused on the character of Israel’s sovereign redeemer, on the blind servant Israel, and on the ultimate work of the suffering servant in whom the world can find its savior.

These are just a few great titles on sale: be sure to check out the rest of this month’s discounted products!

A Chorus of Angels with Joy in Their Hearts

Luke 2:14
It’s easy to imagine what Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, or the Magi were thinking and feeling when they encountered the baby Jesus for the first time. I can imagine the mix of excitement, nerves, and expectation as they wondered when God would reveal the details of his plan and what kind of man this child would grow to be.

But have you ever thought what the angels of Luke 2 were thinking and feeling? I hadn’t until I read Rev. C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon on Luke 2:14 titled “The First Christmas Carol.”

Luke 2:14 records what the angels sang about the birth of Christ, overlooking a hillside full of sheep and shepherds. Spurgeon pointed out that, compared with the breadth of their experiences, this was a fairly humble job for a chorus of angels. These angels sang the soundtrack of creation, looking on as God spun into being all that we know. Several among their number had carried messages to kings and emperors. But on that night they carried a birth announcement to salt-of-the-earth people. And yet they didn’t hold back an ounce. They gave their highest praise. And Spurgeon said, “Methinks, they sang it with gladness in their eye; with their hearts burning with love, and with breasts as full of joy as if the good news to man had been good news to themselves.”

Why were the usually somber angels so delighted on that night? Because in the person of Jesus, all of God’s promises were fulfilled. All the attributes of God were manifest in a form that all men and women could see and experience for themselves. In the baby Jesus, God made himself accessible to us.

To the refrain they add, “. . . and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Not since the garden had true peace with God been available to mankind. Since Adam’s sin, there had always been enmity between God and men. The sacrificial system carved out an unsteady ceasefire, but lasting peace was finally possible on the night that God closed the distance between heaven and earth. He came to us because we could not go to him.

So as you celebrate Christmas this year, carve out some time to celebrate like the angels did—by giving to God the highest praise of which you are capable, and reveling in the peace that he made possible for you and me.

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You can continue exploring Luke’s Gospel with this season’s exclusive Luke Christmas Collection, or save on other resources this Christmas that help you dig into God’s Word.

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.

24 Perfect Stocking Stuffers for the Theologian in Your Family

stocking-stuffers-christmas-bannerStocking stuffers are just as important as any other gift you give at Christmas. That’s why we’ve taken 24 of your most wished-for resources and put them on sale. Get some of the best deals on the resources you’ve been eyeing all year.

Here are just five of the amazing stocking stuffers you can get this Christmas:

commentary-on-the-new-testament-use-of-the-old-testamentCommentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

When studying the New Testament, you may encounter quotes or allusions from the Old Testament that are unfamiliar or obscure. In this resource, G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson have brought together a distinguished team of scholars to isolate, catalog, and comment on both the obvious Old Testament quotations and the more subtle allusions found in the New Testament. The result is a comprehensive commentary on the Old Testament references that appear from Matthew through Revelation.

a-new-testament-biblical-theology-the-unfolding-of-the-old-testament-in-the-newA New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New

Whether you’re a student, scholar, pastor, or professor, A New Testament Biblical Theology provokes you to read the Bible honestly—to let it surprise, challenge, and correct you as you apply the many steps of interpretation. By using the tools included in A New Testament Biblical Theology, you’ll approach Bible study with a more in-depth understanding. Integrate the practical methods found in this resource with your preferred Bible, the Passage Guide, and the other Bible study tools in Logos Bible Software, then dive into Bible study with a vast knowledge base right before your eyes.

bible-study-magazine-philip-yanceyBible Study Magazine

Make your Bible study more effective, organized, and relevant. Bible Study Magazine shares tools and methods for Bible study, as well as insights from respected Bible teachers, professors, historians, and archaeologists. In every 48-page issue, you’ll get sound advice and enriching insights from the pastors and scholars who have spent a lifetime applying the Bible to their lives and teaching others how to do the same.

the-select-works-of-jonathan-edwardsThe Select Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 vols.)

In this resource, you can get The Select Works of Jonathan Edwards in two volumes—the same two-volume set that underlies both the Hendrickson and Banner of Truth editions. In addition to nearly 50 sermons and dozens of theological treatises, these volumes also contain Edwards’ memoirs, his discussion of revivals in New England, and his comprehensive history of redemption. This collection also includes the three works for which Edwards is most famous: A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, The Life of David Brainerd, and his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

the-reformation-study-bible-notesThe Reformation Study Bible Notes

Widely considered one of the best tools available for Bible study and previously the only study notes available in the New King James translation, The Reformation Study Bible has been updated for compatibility with the readable English Standard Version. This foundational resource features thousands of in-depth study notes, 96 theological articles, 19 in-text maps, and 12 charts to help you better understand the Bible.

See all 24 stocking stuffers on sale this Christmas!

Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6

Isaiah’s magnificent prophecy spans not only history, going from creation (e.g., 42:5) to eternity (e.g., 9:7), but also geography, with an interest ranging between God’s own people through all of humanity (e.v., 2:2). Containing both words of hope and horror, its key theme is God himself, who is referred to hundreds of times.”

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament

In the first chapter of Isaiah, God expresses his dissatisfaction with the sacrifices Israel offered (Isaiah 1:11–16). On the outside, they are doing exactly as God asked: they sacrifice rams and bulls, fat and blood, lambs, goats, and incense. They honor the Sabbath. They have a system for remembering when to feast and celebrate what God has done (Isaiah 1:14).

But God says their sacrifices are meaningless. “I have had enough . . . I do not delight . . . bring no more.” Quantity is not the issue. Quality is. And it’s not a matter of extravagance. Their elaborate prayers use their lips and their hands (Isaiah 1:15) and look great on the outside (Matthew 6:5), but there is no heart behind them.

Other religions made sacrifices to their gods because they believed they were feeding them. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary says, “Popular Israelite religion frequently forgot that God was not actually fed through sacrifice and sought to manipulate him through such offerings.” They forgot why they were making sacrifices—they thought they had to feed the God who created the world. But God wasn’t dependent on the Israelites and their sacrifices. They were dependent on him.

The Faithlife Study Bible says, “An increase in offerings is meaningless without a change in attitudes. The sacrifice fundamentally represented Israel’s relationship with Yahweh, by which Israelites acknowledge dependence on Him. There was no point in going through the motions if they’d abandoned that dependence—either through idolatry or pride in their self-sufficiency.”

The sacrifices were meant to be an external symbol of an internal process: repentance (Isaiah 1:16–20). The FSB says “God calls for inward repentance after condemning the empty efforts of outward observance.” They were cleaning the outside of the cup, while filth festered on the inside (Luke 11:39).

The system God established for dealing with sins had been abused for too long. The death of innocent animals was not enough for guilty humans to see the error of their ways (Hebrews 10:4). The status quo wasn’t working. Isaiah called for change in the present, and pointed to a bigger change in the future (Hebrews 10:10).

Isaiah 9:6 introduces Israel to powerful names for a son who was yet to come. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.

The people of Israel didn’t crack open their New Testaments to John 3:16 and say, “Hey, that’s Jesus!” They looked to the current line of David for an immediate answer—someone who could live up to these prophetic titles. The Faithlife Study Bible reminds us that “the prediction of a future ideal Davidic ruler point ultimately to the Messiah, but immediate hopes for Judah’s future would have been directed at the Davidic line, continued through Hezekiah.”

But there was a problem. Some of these titles could only be attributed to God. No man could measure up to names like “Mighty God”—that’s blasphemy (John 8:58–59). As he so often does, God had a different plan than man.

People can’t overcome sin by their own power. The sacrifices which were once acceptable to God had become useless buckets on a sinking ship. God needed to intervene, or the world would drown in sin.

No matter how mighty God made a man, that man could never save Israel from sin—he himself would be corrupted by it (Romans 3:23). The names of this future son were only fit for God because God was the only one who could solve the problem.

They needed a Wonderful Counselor: someone who could give them the wisdom they needed to truly repent (James 1:5, Hebrews 2:18).

They had a Mighty God, but they needed a personal relationship with him (John 1:10–13, Colossians 1:15–16).

With Abraham, they were entitled to an earthly inheritance, but through their Everlasting Father, they had an eternal one to aspire to (Hebrews 9:15, Romans 8:16–17).

And to abolish the old sacrificial system which put a bandage on their sin, they needed the Prince of Peace to restore them (Ephesians 2:13–18, Philippians 4:6–7).

The Christmas season is a time to celebrate the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given.” Remember where that son came from (John 3:16), and glorify God for providing the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

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Take some time to reflect on God’s Word this Christmas season: check out the resources available in our Christmas sale.

Logos 6: Tag Your Own Resources

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

The Logos team has tagged the words of Scripture referring to people, places, and things. This referent dataset then allows us to locate every mention of a specific person, place, or thing regardless of the words used to reference them. For example, we can locate all the places in the Bible Timothy is mentioned, whether he’s referred to by name, with a pronoun, or though a term like disciple or man.

We have thousands of other words in books, though, which reference people, places, and things. These words, however, are not tagged. The best we can do is search for entities by name like Paul, Corinth, or shield. That is until now!

Through the power of a new Logos 6 tool called Community Tags, users can tag words in resources according to the people, places, and things they reference.

For example:

  • Open the resource Alone with God to page 56 (A)
  • Select (highlight) the phrase his name in the first paragraph (B)

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-1

  • Right click the selection (C)
  • Select his name from the context menu (D)
  • Select Add community tag (E)

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-2

  • Type David in the Add community tag box that appears (F)
  • Select the person David from the drop-down list (G)

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-3

  • Notice that underneath his name, Logos places a dotted gray line representing a community tag (H)
  • Rest the cursor on the line to see a rich preview of David (I)

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-4

Logos will also synchronize this tag to the accounts of other Logos users so they’ll benefit from your tagging.

So what’s the benefit of Community Tags? The ability to search them!

Try this:

  • Right click the tagged text his name (J)
  • Select David Person from the context menu (K)
  • Select Search community tags (L)

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-5

Notice in the search results, all the resources with community tags referencing David, including Alone with God (K)! We’re now locating people, places, and things in our books—not just our Bibles.

morris-proctor-tag-your-own-resources-6

You can learn more about Community Tags in the Logos 6: What’s New? Manual.

Also, be sure to register for our in-depth Camp Logos in Tampa and Houston.

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:

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

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

  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. []

Get Christmas Savings for Your Tradition

logos-christmas-sale-2014-bannerEach of our tradition-specific tracks is currently hosting a Christmas sale with deals on a total of 69 titles or collections. Within these six different sales, you’ll find notable resources like the rarely discounted 55-volume Luther’s Works, R.C. Sproul’s Everyone’s a Theologian, the 13-volume Holman Reference Collection, and the three-volume Randy Clack and Bill Johnson Collection.

Plus, each sale (except SDA) has an added bonus deal: you can get an additional 5–10% off a select product if you purchase it with one or more products in the sale. Taking advantage of this special bonus deal allows you to add an excellent resource to your library at one of the best prices we can offer.

Learn more about these special deals below, along with other sale highlights:

christmas-sale-logos-reformedReformed Christmas sale

Save on R.C. Sproul’s systematic theology Everyone’s a Theologian, the three-volume Select Expositions of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the three-volume The Lives of the Puritans, and many other titles.

Special deal:

The 33-volume Westminster Bible Companion Series is on sale for $279.95 (regularly $399.95). But when you get the series with one other Reformed Christmas sale product, you’ll get 5% off the already-discounted series. And if you purchase the series with two or more sale products, you’ll get 10% off the already-discounted WBC series, giving you savings of over $147.00!

christmas-sale-logos-baptistBaptist Christmas sale

Pick up Charles Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer, the two-volume Baptist Encyclopaedia, Augustus H. Strong’s three-volume Systematic Theology, and many others.

Special deal:

The 13-volume Holman Reference Collection is on sale for $159.95 (regularly $239.95). But if you purchase the collection with one other Baptist Christmas sale product, you’ll get 5% off the already-discounted collection. And if you purchase the collection with two or more sale products, you’ll get 10% off the already-discounted collection, giving you savings of over $95.00!

christmas-sale-logos-lutheranLutheran Christmas sale

Save $30.00 on the rarely-discounted 55-volume Luther’s Works. You can also pick up the 11-volume Fortress Press Luther Studies Collection, Adolf Schlatter’s two-volume New Testament Theology, the biography Martin Luther: A Life, and many other works.

Special deal:

The 29-volume Select Studies in Martin Luther’s Life and Influence is on sale for $386.95 (regularly $462.95). But if you purchase this collection with one other Lutheran Christmas sale product, you’ll get 5% off the already-discounted collection. And if you purchase the collection with two or more sale products, you’ll get 10% off the already-discounted collection, giving you savings of over $113.00!

christmas-sale-logos-charismaticCharismatic Christmas sale

Get great deals on Gordon Fee’s God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, the three-volume Randy Clark and Bill Johnson Collection, the three-volume Cindy Jacobs Collection, and many other resources.

Special deal:

The 15-volume C. Peter Wagner Collection is on sale for $119.95 (regularly $153.95). But if you purchase the collection with one other Charismatic Christmas sale item, you’ll get 5% off the already-discounted collection. And if you purchase the collection with two or more sale items, you’ll get 10% off the already-discounted collection, giving you savings of over $45.00!

christmas-sale-logos-orthodoxOrthodox Christmas sale

Pick up the five-volume Greek Fathers for English Readers, the two-volume Fathers of the Desert, the three-volume Formation of Christian Theology, and many other titles.

Special deal:

The 11-volume Collected Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky is on sale for $155.95 (regularly $189.95). But if you purchase the collection with one other Orthodox Christmas sale item, you’ll get 5% off the already-discounted collection. And if you purchase the Collected Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky with two or more sale items, you’ll get 10% off the already-discounted collection, giving you savings of $49.00!

christmas-sale-logos-sdaSDA Christmas sale

Save on the eight-volume Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, Norman R. Gulley’s three-volume Systematic Theology, the 24-volume 1919 Bible Conference Collection, and many other works.

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These six sales end Friday, December 26 at 5 p.m. (PST). Take advantage of them before they’re gone!