Greek Syntax: Kinds of Mystery

I’m in a small group home Bible study, and we’re studying Colossians. My Father-in-Law leads the study, but he and Mom were on a short vacation last week so that means I got to sit in the hotseat. Our text was Col 2.1-7.

So Col 2.2 was one of the verses we looked at. Here it is, in the ESV:

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, (Col 2:2, ESV)

The text has the words “God’s mystery”. One of the first things I wondered about had to do with what other types of “mysteries” are mentioned in the New Testament. In, what this means is that I wanted to find what sorts of things qualify the word translated “mystery” (μυστήριον).

I’ve detailed this sort of search before (see blog post Syntax Search Example: What “Qualifies” another Word?), complete with video.

That’s cool and all … but what if I didn’t want to go to the trouble of creating a syntax search? Well, I could just run the Bible Word Study (BWS) report. One of the Grammatical Relationships examined for the Syntactically Annotated Greek New Testament involves qualifiers.

Specifically, it is the “Words and phrases used to further qualify (word)” relationship.
So I just ran the BWS by right-clicking μυστήριον and selecting the Bible Word Study option. Of course, if I was in a reverse interlinear, I could’ve just right-clicked. Here’s the list I retrieved:

Now, assuming you have Logos 3 and the syntax databases, you try it. Here’s my question for you: What kinds of “Kingdoms” are mentioned in the New Testament?

Go to Mt 13.11 in your ESV New Testament Reverse Interlinear, which mentions “the mystery of the kingdom of heaven”, right-click on “kingdom”, and run the right-click option for Bible Word Study.

When it’s done, scroll down to the Words and phrases used to further qualify βασιλεία. It should look something like this:

Watch out … now you’re using syntax in your study of the New Testament!

Logos in the News

If you live in the St. Petersburg, Florida, area you might have opened up the paper last Saturday to see Logos’ own Scott Lindsey looking back at you. The paper’s religion section carried a very nice feature article on Scott’s presentation at a Worldview Weekend event in the Tampa Bay area.

One of my favorite quotes from the article illustrates a cool phenomenon—teens getting excited about using technology to study the Bible:

Lindsey said parents have been buying the software for their teenagers, who request it after they see the demos.”I stumbled upon a statistic that shocked me as a parent,” he said. “The article stated that by the time the age group that is right now between 14 and 18 graduates, more than 70 percent of what they will learn, they will learn electronically.”Today’s young people don’t view study as paper. They view study as electronic.”

Check out the story to learn a few things about Logos you might not have known.

Other Recent Press

Über-blogger and tireless reviewer Tim Challies posted a highly complimentary review of Logos Bible Software 3 on his website a couple of weeks ago. Tim’s review will also be printed in an upcoming issue of Journal of Modern Ministry, edited by Dr. Jay Adams.

The latest crop of reviews from Review of Biblical Literature included an informative look at our Works of Philo product.

The Fall 2006 issue of Kindred Spirit—a print magazine published by Dallas Theological Seminary that goes to approximately 30,000 alumni and “friends of the school”—included an excerpt from a review of Logos 3 authored by DTS prof Dr. Hall Harris and alumnus Matt Blackmon.

And, finally for now, the September-October issue of Preaching magazine featured their annual “Survey of the Year’s Best Software for Preachers.” My favorite bit from that review, authored by former Preaching managing editor and current seminary student Jon Kever:

I get asked regularly by users if it’s worth upgrading to version 3. My answer is always an emphatic “YES!” [Logos 3] does more, faster and better, and looks good doing it. It’s obvious that the developers listened to users and put the time and effort into creating a superior Bible study software library. [Logos 3] works the way you study. There’s no way I can include all that’s new and improved.

All the News That’s Fit to Print

As always, you can visit to read the latest reviews, news clippings, and press releases from Logos. They’re excerpted right on the homepage.

If you have a My Yahoo homepage, personalized Google homepage, or use an RSS aggregator you can receive alerts with the latest items from Logos—including these blog posts!—by subscribing to our RSS feeds. Here’s a friendly article that explains how.

The Libronix Interface in Your Language

After my recent post on Chinese Bibles, I would be remiss if I failed to let readers know how they could install the Libronix DLS interface in Chinese or another language.
Libronix DLS and Localized Interfaces walks you through the process of installing and switching between the available language interfaces. The interface is available in more than 25 languages and dialects.
Since we rely on volunteers to do the localization, some languages have partial support. For those languages, you’ll see a mix of English and the target language within the Libronix interface.
As you can see from the graphic at left, the support for various languages ranges from 99.20% for Swedish (shout out to Thomas) down to 0.01% for Maori, with many languages left to do. As far as I know, nobody has attempted a Klingon interface, though there might be a couple people in the building who are capable.
Get Involved
We need help with the work of localizing the Libronix DLS interface. If you are a polyglot and could donate a few hours for interface translation, please get in touch with us. You don’t need to know a lick of computer programming: you’ll use a simple web form or Microsoft Excel to translate the English text in Column A into the blank space in Column B. Details here.
If you’re looking for a complete digital library in another language, either for yourself or a missionary you know, see If you’d like to add individual books in other languages to your existing Logos Bible Software library, you’ll find them listed by language on our Product Categories page.

Chinese Bibles for Libronix DLS

In response to user requests, Logos recently released two Chinese Bibles for the Libronix Digital Library System. They are both the Chinese Union Version with New Punctuation (CUVNP); one is the Shen Edition (Simplified Chinese) and the other the Shangti Edition (Traditional Chinese).

The Versions
If it seems like there are a lot of modifiers in the names of these Bibles, well, there are. The Chinese Union Version was completed in 1919 and has become the predominant version used by Chinese Protestants. More recently, the punctuation was updated to conform to modern usage.

The Shen edition and the Shangti edition derive their names from the different titles Chinese believers use for God, a debate wrapped up in the history of the Chinese church. Some groups and missionaries have used Shangdi (上帝) while others prefer Shēn (神). Rendering the name of the biblical God into any language has always been fraught with theological implications, dating back a few thousand years, so it’s no surprise that Chinese Bible publishers continue to print Bibles with both variations.

(For much more on the Shangti-Shen controversy and its theological/historical/missiological impact, see the informative SBL Forum article “God’s Asian Names: Rendering the Biblical God in Chinese“.)

So, two names for God and two different scripts: Traditional, which is used in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and by many overseas Chinese communities; and Simplified, used in the People’s Republic of China and Singapore. The Simplified script was developed to boost literacy in the 1950s and 60s and, as you might guess from the name, it is intended to be simpler to read and write. Compare the traditional characters at left with the simplified characters at right:

The Logos Editions
To quote Eli Evans’ post yesterday, “Logos was Unicode before it was even cool to be Unicode.” The early investment we made to build the Libronix DLS as a truly multilingual application back in 2001 means that we can support a complex language like Chinese without having to make radical changes to the architecture.

This also means that our Chinese Bibles are first-class citizens of the digital library right out of the gate, with support for features like highlighting and annotation.

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Tools like Compare Parallel Bible Versions can be used to mark up the textual differences between the two versions, making comparison quite easy.

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The Gee-Whiz Factor
When talking about the multilingual nature of the Libronix Digital Library System, we’ve often said things like, “You could read a Chinese Bible inside a German interface while running Russian Windows.” Probably not practical to 99% of our users, but it sure sounds cool. Well, I didn’t go to the additional effort to install a different Windows interface, but here’s a screenshot that shows what it looks like to use a Chinese Bible in, say, a Swedish interface:

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It’s our vision that the Libronix DLS will continue to play a role in the development of electronic libraries for Christians in every part of the world, regardless of what script they use to represent God’s Holy Scripture.

All in a Day’s Work: Making an Ugaritic Font

First, we acquired rights to the Conchillos Ugaritic databank. Then, we acquired the rights to produce several Ugaritic textbooks, grammars, and other helps as well. We put together a product.

Then we had to figure out how to support Ugaritic. [Cue scary music.]

[Read more…]

Why does Logos have editions of both the NA27 and UBS4?

If you’ve looked at the list of Greek New Testaments contained in Scholar’s Library (and Silver, and Gold) in any detail, you’ve likely noticed that both the UBS4 and NA27 texts are included.

I’m sure you’re asking, “Hey, aren’t those the same text? Why would you ever have them both?”
It’s true, the texts share great similarity and can even be said to be the same text. From tha NA27 Introduction:

The text of this edition reproduces that of the 26th edition unchanged. Consequently, with rare exceptions, the paragraphing and punctuation remains the same, avoiding the necessity for altering the page makeup. Thus the text of the present edition is identical as before with that of The Greek New Testament, now in its 4th revised edition. The same text underlies the concordances, the Lexikon zum Neuen Testament, and the Synopsis quattuor Evangeliorum.

Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, K., Aland, B., & Universität Münster. Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung. (1993, c1979). Novum Testamentum Graece. At head of title: Nestle-Aland. (27. Aufl., rev.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung.

But an edition is more than text. The NA27 and UBS4 editions have the same letters in the same order with the same book, chapter and verse breaks. But that’s where the similarity ends. The texts have different punctuation, different casing, different paragraph breaks, different ideas of what constitute quotes or allusions from the Old Testament, and different poetry formatting.

All of these features play in to how a text is read and understood—you know, the very thing that students of the Greek New Testament (and the Bible in general) are very interested in.

Because Logos preserves as much formatting of the printed edition of the text as possible, these differences can be seen in comparisons of the text. One good example that has exegetical implications is found in 1Ti 3.16. This is a well known verse that contains what may be an early hymn or creed that the author used to support his argument. Some commentators see 1Ti 3.14-16 as the central piece of the epistle. But NA27 and UBS4 format the poetry/creed/hymn differently. UBS4 has the six lines formatted as two triplets while NA27 formats the text as three doublets.

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The formatting has direct impact on how one reads the text. Are there two groups of three things? Or three groups of two things? What items are parallel to each other? Each edition presents different options, so both are necessary to consult to get a clear picture of the problem.

Sometimes one text will format things as poetry when another does not. An example of this is found in 1Ti 2.1-7. The UBS4 text sees this whole block as one paragraph, while the NA27 breaks out verses 5 and 6 as poetry (or perhaps an early hymn or creed or saying of some sort).

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If one considers vv 5-6 as a reference to an early creedal statement, it may play a different role in exegesis than normal supporting text in prose. There are a few options. From the NA27 text, one might conclude that Paul is either waxing poetic/creedal (very possible) or referring to a commonly known creedal statement to back up his statement in vv. 3-4 (God wants to save all people, and wants them all to come into knowledge of the truth). Or, reading from the UBS4 text, one might consider vv 5-6 to be normal prose offered in support of the previous assertion with no creedal sort of impact. Is Paul appealing to an external saying he knows his audience will see as authoritative? Or is he being creative? Or did he just come up with some nice phraseology in the context of his argument? All (and more!) are possible. Whichever you prefer, the typography of each edition conveys the editors’ thoughts and it is valuable to take into account when reading and exegeting the text.

Another difference between editions is when one text has more paragraph breaks than the other. A good example of this is found in 1Ti 5.3-16. In the UBS4 text, this is one paragraph. In the NA27 text, it is two paragraphs (vv 3-8 and vv 9-16) with a sub-paragraph break in the second paragraph (so sub-paragraphs of vv 9-13 and vv 14-16). UBS4 has no notion of sub-paragraph breaks, but the NA27 uses them routinely to break larger paragraphs. You can see another one in the screen shot before verse 21.

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A few other slight differences between versions can be seen in the above screen capture.
First, note the word Σατανᾶ in verse 15 of UBS4. The same term is σατανᾶ in the NA27. One could conclude that the UBS4 edition considers this to be a name or title, while the NA27 edition considers it a noun (“adversary”). This is not a small difference when it comes to exegesis.

Second, note the quotations and allusions from the Old Testament in vv. 17-19. They’re different typographically. UBS4 uses bold font while NA27 uses an italic font. But if you look closely, you’ll see disagreement on what is and is not a quotation from or allusion to the Old Testament. The UBS4 is much more conservative here; it generally only emboldens fairly direct quotations. The NA27, on the other hand, notes both quotations (the one matching the UBS4 edition) and allusions (the balance of italic text in vv 18-20. This as well is exegetically significant. If I think the author is reaching back to quote or allude to the Old Testament in the course of his argument, it may affect exegesis of the text.

The bottom line: While UBS4 and NA27 do share the same sequence of letters, they differ in many, many other ways. They are different editions of the same text. Some of these differences can and do affect exegesis. I’ve used examples from the same relatively short epistle (First Timothy, six chapters long) on purpose so you can see these differences can and do occur with frequency.

They are not isolated.

The good news is that your Logos Bible Software presents these texts as they appear in their printed versions. The UBS4 text even has section heads and, in the gospels, cross-references after the headings to parallel passages. You can simply scroll the text side-by-side to see if there are any differences in the passage you’re studying.

When you run across differences, ask yourself: “What impact would this difference have on exegesis of the text? What would I have missed if I wouldn’t have noticed this?” and seriously think about the options. Your exegesis will be better for it.

The times they are a-changing…

A new release this week shows just how much has changed since Logos began 14 years ago. Back then, everyone in the Bible software industry had to be content with getting content from publishers’ backlists (sometimes the deep backlist). The time between the print and electronic edition of a title was typically measured in years.

That has changed. Today, content is being published in multiple formats simultaneously…and sometimes the electronic edition precedes print!

The ESV Reverse Interlinear Bible is a joint project of Crossway, the German Bible Society, and Logos Bible Software. We included the Reverse Interlinear Bible in Logos Bible Software 3, which shipped in May, 2006.

This past Monday, the ESV Bible blog announced that the print edition of ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament has started shipping. You can pick up your copy in hardcover (1,376 pages printed on honest-to-goodness tree matter) from the Good News & Crossway store. If you have not stopped taking your Bible to church, this sounds like a great way to keep your Greek sharp and your pastor on his toes.

What’s Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything?

You may have seen the announcement of our recent Ugaritic Library prepub, thought “Ugar-huh?” and clicked on to the next thing. That’s probably what I would have done…if I hadn’t been hearing some of the smarter people around here going on about Ugaritic lately.

Do you need to know what Ugaritic is, let alone add Ugaritic texts to your digital library? Dr. Heiser, academic editor for Logos Bible Software, wrote an article to tackle these questions. In it, Dr. Heiser calls his grad school class in Ugaritic a “life-changing course” and shares an observation, drawn directly from study of Ugaritic parallels, that he says holds “profound implications for the biblical theology of both testaments.”

So give Dr. Heiser’s article a read and I guarantee you’ll at least learn something you didn’t know about this ancient culture and its religion…and you might even be persuaded to launch your own study of Ugaritic texts in the original language or in English translations. The great news is that the Ugaritic Library has everything you need to get started!

Update 10/27/2006 – Thanks to the ESV Bible Blog for linking to this post and excerpting Mike’s article.

See alsoAll in a Day’s Work: Making an Ugaritic Font

Greek Syntax: Searching for Granville Sharp

If you’ve studied NT Greek, you’ve likely heard of something called the “Granville Sharp Rule”.

If you’ve been around Bible software, you know that many folks use “finding Granville Sharp” as a sort of litmus test for the capabilities of their Bible software.

The Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament gives us an opportunity to examine what the Granville Sharp rule really is and to think about new ways to find instances of it.
Awhile back I wrote a paper for internal use here at Logos examining what “Granville Sharp” is and how to find it using the traditional “morphology+proximity+agreement” approach. This approach has problems because one must approximate relationships between words using morphological criteria (i.e. part-of-speech data), morphological agreement (i.e. terms ‘agree’ in their specified case), and word proximity (i.e. words are within N words of each other).

Then I examined finding Granville Sharp using the SAGNT. With the syntax annotation, you’re freed from approximating relationships with morphology+proximity+agreement and empowered to actually specify relationships that the syntax annotation encodes.

The 17-page PDF document linked below is that paper. It has explanation and screen shots of the queries, graphs and whatnot so it should help in thinking about how to go about isolating syntactic structures via searching the SAGNT. It might even help get the juices flowing for those considering the Logos/SBL Technology Paper Awards.

I’ve also included the two syntax queries discussed in the paper. I just tested them on 3.0b Beta 2, so if you have that version installed, you should be fine. I would think it would work on any flavor of 3.0, but why not upgrade if you’re not up to date?

Copy the queries to your My Documents\Libronix DLS\Syntax Queries folder and then load them as you would any other syntax search, from the Load … button in the Syntax Search dialogue.

IE7 FAQ & Libronix Update

We’ve put together a web page with information about Internet Explorer 7 and Libronix DLS at:

The page includes a FAQ section and links to an update page where you can download the latest version of Libronix DLS that works with the latest version of Internet Explorer 7. (Don’t you love moving targets?) If you have already updated to Libronix DLS 3.0b you’re all set.

We’re rolling this version out broadly…it’s the same update you get if you click Tools | Libronix Update from within the application. We’re encouraging all users to update, especially if you have installed or will soon install Internet Explorer 7.