3 Steps for Interpreting Old Testament Pairings

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to get into the original languages. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine features articles to help you get into the Scripture’s original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Here’s one adapted from the column “Hebrew Word Study without Hebrew.”

The article—originally entitled A World without God (Bible Study Magazine, Nov–Dec 2011)— is written by Douglas Mangum. Douglas has an MA in Hebrew Bible from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a contributing editor at Logos Bible Software.

A World without God

“The earth was without form (תהו, tohu) and void (בהו, bohu), and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). The word pairing of the synonyms tohu and bohu doesn’t make this passage any clearer. What does it mean that the earth was formless and void? Did it already exist and God just shaped it? And did God create the matter and then shape it for a purpose?

But with a few interpretive steps, nearly any questions we have about an Old Testament pairing can be answered.

  1. Identify the Original Words and Search for the Phrase

    After finding the original Hebrew phrase behind the English “without form and void”—using the ESV English–Hebrew Reverse Interlinear—we can search for the phrase using Logos 4.In doing so, we learn that Isaiah and Jeremiah reworked this creation imagery to assert God’s authority and warn of Israel’s impending judgment. Jeremiah warned of Judah’s coming destruction by describing a future land where God’s creative energy had been reversed in punishment to unmake all things: “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form (tohu) and void (bohu); and to the heavens, and they had no light” (Jer 4:23).

    The prophet Isaiah also used tohu and bohuto describe God’s judgment as an end to civilization and the return of the land to untamed wilderness (Isa 34:11). Both tohu and bohu can refer to an empty, lifeless wasteland. The use of these words together is so rare that we can surmise that Jeremiah and Isaiah probably had Genesis 1 in mind. The prophets made powerful connections to the image of Israel’s greatest fear—a return to primordial chaos. A world without God seemed like no world at all.

  2. Examine Passages with Similar Themes

    The Old Testament was written over hundreds of years, which means that later writers were sometimes subtly responding to other biblical passages. They often played off familiar themes to make an unexpected point. One of their favorite themes to tie in and repurpose was God’s role as creator and sustainer of life.

    We can find these connections by looking up key words, like tohu, in a lexicon. Using The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament(HALOT), we find other passages that expound on creation.In Isaiah 45:18, the prophet stresses that God’s primary objective was to provide purpose and order: “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens [He is God!], who formed the earth and made it [He established it; He did not create it empty [tohu], He formed it to be inhabited!]:  ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ ”

    Isaiah is responding directly to the idea that God created an empty wasteland first, arguing, “No, He didn’t create a formless world. That was just one minor step in the process. He intended an inhabited life-giving world.”Isaiah focuses on God and His uniqueness, not the pre-existent state of creation. God brought form, function and order to His creation. His blessing is symbolized by order; His judgment by chaos.

  3. State What It Tells Us about God

    When reading the Bible, we must ask: how is the ultimate author of our text, God, depicted? From the opening lines of Genesis 1, God is depicted as the one who gives life, order and purpose to all things. A thriving creation is under His blessing; the wastelands are outside of His care—awaiting His creative hand.

Adapted from an article in Bible Study Magazine, published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Randy Alcorn, Priscilla Shirer, and more. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (Nov–Dec 2011): pg. 44–45.

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today for only $14.95 and enjoy powerful tips and insights for your Bible study.

Camp Logos 2 Live: Don’t Miss This Pre-Pub!

Using Logos 4 is as easy as entering a passage and clicking “Go.” This means that anyone can benefit from Logos Bible Software, but did you know that most users use less than 10% of Logos’ full potential? Morris Proctor wants to help you tap into the other 90%.

Now you can learn to use Logos 4 like never before with Camp Logos 2 Live. While Camp Logos 2 Live can be used independently, it picks up right where Camp Logos Live left off—with over nine new hours of training!

As your resources grow in Logos 4, managing your library becomes an important part of profitable Bible study. In Part One of Camp Logos 2 Live, Morris will teach you to identify and organize every book in your library! With your library tagged and organized, there is so much you can do to cater your study to your tastes and needs. As Morris says in the video above, “I believe applying this tagging system is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to enhance the use of your ebooks.”

The second part of the series walks you through some of the important features in Logos 4 which didn’t quite make it into the first Camp Logos Live. You will look at:

  • Louw-Nida numbers
  • Syntax
  • Visual Filters
  • and much more

You don’t have to be a seminary student or well-versed in Hebrew and Greek to get something out of Camp Logos 2 Live. These training sessions are aimed at helping the average user get the most out of their Logos 4 software. Allow Morris to help take your Bible study to a whole new level by bringing our popular Camp Logos training sessions right into your home. With Camp Logos on your personal computer, you can stop when you need to, return to areas of training repeatedly, and work at your own pace.

Pick up your copy of Camp Logos 2 Live while it is on Pre-Pub and get it at 20% off!

Have you attended a Camp Logos, or own a copy of Camp Logos Live? Leave us a comment and tell us how it has been helpful to you.

Get 93% Off the Catholic Library Builder!

Our 238-volume Catholic Library Builder is selling for only $395. At less than $2 a book, this one of the best deals Logos has ever offered! Act fast, though; this special offer ends on November 15.

For only $395, you’ll add amazing content to your library, including:

The Catholic Library Builder enriches your library in several important categories.


Spanning from the Church Fathers to the Second Vatican Council, from St. Thomas Aquinas to Dr. Scott Hahn, this collection covers the full scope of church history.

  • The Ancient World was the cradle of Christianity. The enduring insights of St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Basil and so many others deserve a revered place in every Christian’s library, as the great edifice of Christian scholarship was built upon their work.
  • The Middle Ages were at one time maligned as the “Dark Ages,” but modern scholarship has revealed their rich intellectual, artistic, and spiritual achievement. The writings of Thomas Aquinas, Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux, and many others will add the profundity of medieval thought to your library.
  • The Reformation is the most contentious period in church history. Ignatius of Loyola’s and Teresa of Ávila’s writings, the canons of the Council of Trent, and many other important texts—shed light on the Catholic dimension of the period, illuminating both modern Protestantism and modern Catholicism.
  • Modernity was a period of great struggle for the Catholic Church as it confronted secularization, industrialization, and atheistic ideologies. From Pope Pius IX’s “Syllabus of Errors,” to the First Vatican Council’s declaration of papal infallibility, the Catholic Library Builder provides the essential documents of Catholicism’s attempt to arrest the decline of its influence.
  • Post-Modern Christianity is diverse and decentralized, but with its over one billion members and rapid expansion (especially in the Global South), the Catholic Church remains important and influential. The epochal Second Vatican Council was the springboard for this evangelical movement and an understanding of it is a necessary component of an understanding of world-wide Christianity itself.


There are few parallels in the history of Christianity to the great mystics and spiritual writers of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. The Catholic Library Builder includes St. John of the Cross’ The Dark Night of the Soul, Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux, and many more classics on the soul’s search for God.

Theology and Exegesis

The Catholic Library Builder includes works from such prominent scholars as Scott Hahn, Raymond Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and John P. Meier. Their insights and scholarship will greatly enrich your Bible study.

At over 93% off the retail cost, the Catholic Library Builder is the perfect resource for exploring contemporary Catholic doctrine and investigating church history! Such an amazing deal can’t last forever, though. This special offer ends on November 15, so order the Catholic Library Builder today!

Recommended Commentaries: Matthew

Logos Talk’s Recommended Commentary Series highlights some favorite commentaries by Logos academics and the user community.

We Want to Hear from You!

Each week we will post a forum thread asking which commentaries, available from Logos, are your favorites for a specific book in the Bible. This is a great opportunity to let other Logos users know which commentaries you have found valuable in your studies.

Matthew Commentaries

We asked Logos Scholar-in-Residence Steven Runge to give us his favorite commentaries on Matthew. Here are a few of his choices in no particular order:

Logos Community Favorites

Here are a few commentaries suggested by Logos users:

This is only a small list of the suggested commentaries for Matthew! For a larger selection of suggested commentaries, visit the forum post.

Do you have a favorite Logos resource on Matthew which isn’t listed here? Leave us a comment. Then jump over to the forum and share your favorite commentaries on Mark!

Don’t Miss These Recommended Commentaries!

Logos 4: Proximity Search from Camp Logos 2

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 and provides many training materials.

mp|seminars Tips

A Logos user recently e-mailed stating that he was writing a paper on the purpose of Christ’s crucifixion and needed to find where that subject was discussed in his Logos books. I suggested that a proximity search containing multiple groups of words would do the trick. Here’s how to execute that search:

  • Click the Search icon
  • Select Basic as the Search type
  • Select from the drop down list the books to be searched such as the Entire Library
  • Choose the Search panel menu and select Match all word forms
  • Type (or copy/paste) this in the Search box:  ((Christ,Jesus,Lord) WITHIN 6 words (death,cross,crucifixion)) WITHIN 6 words (purpose,reason)
  • Press the Enter key to generate the search results

This search locates the places where the words Christ or Jesus or Lord occur within 6 words of death or cross or crucifixion. These results then occur within 6 words of purpose or purposes or reason or reasons. In other words, Logos locates all the places authors write about the purpose or reason for the Lord’s death on the cross!

This type of power proximity search with multiple groupings of words is just one of many Logos features covered in Camp Logos 2, which is a two-day, hands-on training seminar that goes beyond the numerous topics discussed in Camp Logos.

And I’m very pleased to make a couple of very important announcements regarding Camp Logos 2:

NationalCampLogos2.pngFirst, we’re presenting a National Camp Logos 2 in Bellingham, WA on November 10-11. Each June, Logos welcomes users from around the globe to the headquarters to discover many exciting aspects of the software. We’ve decided to do the same for Camp 2.

At this national seminar you’ll not only learn additional powerful Logos features, you’ll also hear from Logos leaders about the latest developments for Logos Bible Software, Logos Apps, Vryso, Proclaim, and more. Also at the national seminars we’ll enjoy a couple of meals together which are included in your registration fee. Make sure to visit mpseminars.com for more information and to register.

Also, in case you can’t attend a live Camp Logos 2 seminar or need a refresher after attending, Camp Logos 2 Live DVD training is now available on pre-pub! This four disc set contains nearly 10 hours of video instruction and crystal clear video screenshots enhanced with highlights, call outs, and on screen graphics. Rather than describe the project in this blog, please visit the pre-pub page for complete details and to place your order.

This is the most extensive product that we have ever produced and is a direct result of the countless hours that our team has spent on the project.  Recent Camp 2 attendees have been very gracious in their responses and we hope that Camp Logos 2 will encourage you as well.

Have you ever been to a Camp Logos seminar or purchased Camp Logos LIVE? If so, how has it helped you in your use of Logos? Leave a comment and let us know!

Weekly Roundup: October 15

The Weekly Roundup is a regular feature alerting you to significant things happening at Logos this week. Take a few moments to check out these newsworthy items for the week of October 15, 2011.

Important Information!

To celebrate the value of pastoral ministry, Logos has created Pastor Appreciation Month Specials.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: leadership, worship, pastoral care, and preaching. We’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) for each of these themes which we think will benefit your pastoral Get The Pastor in Prayer for Free!ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released—you never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

Introduce your pastor to Logos! Get 15% off of a base package today when you use the coupon code BLESSING at checkout—your pastor will thank you!

Pick Up Your Free Copy of Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer!

As part of our Pastor Appreciation Month specials, we are offering Charles Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer to you—absolutely free!

This offer—like the rest of our Pastor Appreciation Month deals—is good through the end of October!

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions



New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to pick these up at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

Community Pricing

New to Community Pricing

These Community Pricing products are getting close to meeting their production costs. Don’t miss out on these savings!

Job Postings

Logos is hiring! Here are just a few of the newer postings on our Careers page:

Design & Editorial

Marketing Department


Software Development

Was there anything else from Logos you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Get Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer for Free!

Charles Spurgeon has been called the “Prince of Preachers.” Both an influential pastor and a prolific writer, Spurgeon was a dominant Christian figure in the latter nineteenth century. Over a hundred years have passed, but Spurgeon’s influence has scarcely waned.

Now you can add Spurgeon’s The Pastor in Prayer to your library—absolutely free!

This 175-page book contains a collection of Spurgeon’s prayers and includes the Scriptures which inspired them.

You may already be familiar with Spurgeon’s works, but it is particularly inspiring to read the prayers which invigorated this man whom Mark Driscoll has called, “the greatest Bible preacher outside of Scripture.”

In The Pastor in Prayer you see Spurgeon’s pastoral heart on every page:

“We do pray for all who are out of the way; for such in this congregation as remain unsaved. Lord, let them not die in their sins. Have mercy upon some that have had a godly training, but remain ungodly. Oh condemn them not, we pray Thee, with such a mass of guilt upon them; but save them yet. Lord, have great mercy upon such as are ignorant of Christ, and therefore sin, but know not what they do. Let them become trophies of Thy wondrous love. Gather them in; oh, gather them in to-day.”

“Our Father, for that is the sweetest title by which we can address Thee, we pray Thee save us entirely from sin. There are many in Thy presence who are resting in the peace which comes of justification by faith. We know that we are righteous through the righteousness of another, even Jesus Christ; but we pant and pine for personal likeness to Thyself. If Thou be our Father, then upon every child of Thine should be the Father’s image impressed: so let it be.”

Share This Deal!

Excited about free books? Then tell your friends and alert your followers! Share this post on Facebook and then tweet it to all of your followers! Tell every Logos user you know how they can get their free copy of The Pastor in Prayer.

Check Out Our Other Pastor Appreciation Month Specials

The Pastor in Prayer is just one of the specials we are running for Pastor Appreciation Month.

For every week of October we’ve selected a theme: leadership, worship, pastoral care, and preaching. We’ve chosen five resources (books, collections, or other goodies) for each of these themes which we think will benefit your pastoral ministry. Check back every day to see what new deals we’ve released—you never know what discounts or freebies may await you!

So pick up your copy of The Pastor in Prayer through the end of October, and then make sure to check back to see our new deals for Pastor Appreciation Month.

Free! Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings

Did you know there might be a free copy of the Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings waiting for you? We just added this lectionary to all our base packages, so if you already own a Logos 4 base package, you can get it for free!

About the Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings

These daily readings are centered around the main Sunday text of the Revised Common Lectionary. The readings on Thursday through Saturday prepare for the Sunday text, and the readings on Monday through Wednesday reflect on it. This resource was developed by the Consultation on Common Texts, an ecumenical organization which includes several Protestant denominations as well as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Whether you use the Revised Common Lectionary as part of your liturgical tradition or simply to help guide your personal devotions, the Daily Readings are the perfect companion resource.

Instead of charging for the Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings, we decided to make this resource free for everyone who owns a KF or LE base package. It’s just one more reason to stay up-to-date with the latest base package. Sometimes we give stuff away to everyone (think Perseus). Other times we make books available to specific groups of people. In this case, we’re offering the Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings to everyone who has a Logos 4 base package.

How to Get It

  1. Go to the upgrade page.
  2. If you own an LE or KF base package, select the free crossgrade option.
  3. Your free crossgrade to JG (from LE or KF only) includes the Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings.
  4. Next time you start Logos 4, the lectionary will download automatically. (If you noticed the book didn’t come through, simply type “Update Resources” in the Command Bar and Logos 4 will download them.)

See If You Qualify

Head on over to the upgrade page to see if you qualify for the free Revised Common Lectionary: Daily Readings. While you’re there, be sure to check out all your upgrade options.

Upgrading your base package is one of the best ways to build your library. When you upgrade, you’ll add hundreds—potentially even thousands—of books to your library for a fraction of the cost. Most books run around 90% off if you get them as part of a base package upgrade. Check out your options!

The Legacy of Archibald Alexander

“Do not for a moment suppose that you must make yourself better, or prepare your heart for a worthy reception of Christ, but come at once—come as you are.”—Archibald Alexander

Some people carve a name for themselves out of the tumultuous times in which they live. Others create notoriety by challenging the status quo. And some, like Archibald Alexander, create a lasting legacy by simply leading a life of steadfast faithfulness.

Alexander was born to a Virginian farmer and trader in 1772, only four years before the United States declared its independence  from Great Britain. Despite such turbulent times, Alexander spent his early years working and studying hard. It became apparent quite early that he was a remarkable student. By seventeen, Alexander was a tutor in the home of General John Posey.

An aged Christian woman named Mrs. Tyler was also living in General Posey’s home, and one of Alexander’s responsibilities was to read to her from the sermons of John Flavel. Although not a particularly spiritual individual, the young tutor was touched while reading Flavel’s sermon on Revelation 3:20. Jesus’ words, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. . .” filled Alexander with wonder at God’s patience and benevolence towards sinners. Soon young Alexander was pouring over the works of such preachers as John Owen, Richard Baxter, George Whitefield, and Phillip Doddridge. Before the end of his seventeenth year, Alexander had made his profession of faith.

Feeling called to ministry, Alexander was ordained at twenty-two and preached his way across the northeastern United States. By twenty-four he was president of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia where he served five years before being called to the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.

In 1812, the Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in New Jersey. Alexander was chosen as the college’s first professor. As more faculty joined the staff at Princeton and the number of students increased, he was able to focus more and more of his energy on pastoral theology and polemics. He was an institutional pillar at Princeton until his death on October 22, 1851.

Alexander was valued by his students for his godly leadership and influence. One student, Charles Hodge, even named his child after Alexander. This child—Archibald Alexander Hodge—went on to be the principal of Princeton (1878–1886).

Archibald Alexander’s 20-volume collection is currently on Pre-Pub. Pick up this theologically rich collection for over 80% off the retail price. With this collection, you will get the first works ever written at Princeton to defend biblical inspiration against the claims of higher criticism, two volumes dedicated to the history of Israel, and a collection of sermons, lectures, and his address delivered at his own inauguration as professor of theology at Princeton.

Order yours today!

What Does It Mean That Love Is Kind?

Apostolic Fathers Greek-English InterlinearIn my previous post about the Apostolic Fathers, I gave an example of how the Apostolic Fathers can be helpful when considering language/phrasing that sounds a little unusual.

They can also be helpful in understanding words and concepts that don’t occur too often in the New Testament. This is one of the primary reasons I look to these writings, and one of the primary reasons I wanted to make these writings more widely available in the form of the Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear.

My guess is that most of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13, the so-called “Love Chapter.” You know, “Love is patient, love is kind,” and all that?

Did you know that the Greek word translated “is kind” in that verse (1Cor 13:4) is the only instance of that word in the New Testament? The Greek word is χρηστεύομαι. It isn’t a difficult word, though, and looking elsewhere isn’t going to change the definition we’d use in 1Cor 13:4. But did you know this word occurs three times in First Clement?

First Clement is a letter that was probably written in the early 90’s from the Roman church to the Corinthian church (you know, the church that Paul wrote First and Second Corinthians to about 30 years earlier). In Clement’s time, the Corinthian church had booted out its leadership, but the Roman church didn’t think the action was merited. So they wrote a letter to the Corinthians saying, essentially, “You guys need to get along. Here’s why.” In the midst of that, Clement talks to them about being kind in chapters 13 and 14.

In the first two instances (1Cl 13.2), after attributing his words to “the Lord Jesus” in 1Cl 13.1, Clement gives a pastiche of gospel quotations (Mt 5:7; 6:14–15; 7:1–2, 12; Lk 6:31, 36–38), mixing “kindness” in with them:

For [Jesus] spoke as follows: “Show mercy, that you may be shown mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven you; as you do so will it be done to you; as you give so will it be given to you; as you judge so will you be judged; as you are kind so will kindness be shown to you; with which measure you measure, with it will be measured to you.” (1Cl 13.2)

Continuing the argument in chapter 14, Clement uses “kind” one more time:

Therefore it is right and holy, men and brothers, for us to be obedient to God rather than to follow those instigators of loathsome jealousy in arrogance and insurrection. For it is not common harm but rather great danger we will endure if we recklessly surrender ourselves to the purposes of the people who plunge into strife and rebellion in order to estrange us from what is good. Let us be kind to them, according to the tenderheartedness and sweetness of the one who made us. (1Cl 14.1–3)

Do you see what Clement is doing? He is exhorting the Corinthians to put aside how they feel, to be “obedient to God,” and to not treat the leadership of their church with the same harshness the leadership dealt them. Verse 3 (using our word, χρηστεύομαι) turns it back around: “Let us be kind to them.” Verse 4 follows this using a very similar word, χρηστός (the noun form, “kind”), again probably quoting Scripture, this time Prov 2:21–22; Ps 37:9, 38, “The kind shall be inhabitants of the land ….”

Whether purposefully or not, Clement is using the same word Paul used as he writes to the same church. Paul told the Corinthians that “love is kind”; Clement is telling them how to show the kindness of love to the exiled leadership of the church.

This is one of the reasons why I so enjoy the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. They use the same language and the same themes, and careful examination of them in conjunction with study of the Bible can reap profitable dividends.

If this kind of stuff appeals to you, maybe you should get in on the pre-pub for the Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear while it is still available with Pre-Pub pricing.