Evaluating Textual Variation with Logos 6

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

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

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

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

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

Textual commentaries

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

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

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

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

Apparatuses

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

Editions

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

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

Transcriptions

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

Ancient versions

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

Online manuscripts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dig into valuable insights

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

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

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

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

Meet David De Mers: Faithlife’s Australian Representative

david-de-mers-australian-repDid you know that Faithlife reaches over 190 countries around the world? In the last year, we even hired a few people to help us out in some of those faraway areas. David De Mers is our sole authorized Faithlife representative in Australia, but he also serves some of the surrounding nations. We interviewed David so you could get to know him a little bit better, too.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am married with five children ages 24, 21, 12, 5, and 3. I have lived in Australia for three years now, though my wife, Kim, was born and raised in Manly, New South Wales, Australia. I am a permanent resident visa holder. I hold a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and a master’s degree from Bethel University/Seminary. Currently, I’m in my second year of doctoral studies at the University of Newcastle, NSW. I enjoy many things in life, but my love of God helps me better love my family, friends, and those just needing a helping hand.

2. What gets you excited about our products?

Faithlife products are designed to help all of us better understand, interpret, and live the Word of God as found in the Bible. All the Faithlife products are excellent, but the ones I find most practical and useful are the apps for my iPad and iPhone. I use the Noet, Faithlife Study Bible, Logos, and now the new Every Day Bible apps all on a daily basis. I find that the products we can use in a practical manner and on the go are the best.

3. What’s your favorite feature in the software?

I love everything about Logos. I have been a consistent user since 2008 when I first started my seminary studies. I could not have finished my master’s without it. My favorite features are the new contextual tools found in Logos 6. My master’s degree focused on biblical and theological cultural contextualization, so naturally I love these new features. Being able to access, view, and use the Cultural Concepts tool, the Ancient Literature tool, and the new Atlas tool helps me get a total view of the Bible’s contextual meaning.

4. What add-on product can you not live without?

My favorite add-on product is Noet’s Modern Philosophy Research Library that I added to my Logos collection. I love the new authors and content, and I find that the material complements my existing scholarly readings well.

david-de-mers-australian-rep-25. What is your market like? Who do you serve?

My market is all of Australia, and by default many parts of Oceania. I serve over 12,000 current Logos users in Australia, including church pastors, lay pastors, administrative personnel, and lay Christians of all types. I also serve a large academic sector here in Australia, and we are just beginning to make inroads into the huge private and public high-school market. I also serve the numerous Christian conference-goers here as well.

6. What are some goals or plans you have for your market?

I have ambitious goals for Australia in 2015. First, I’d like to offer consistent training classes at all the capital cities in Australia. Secondly, I plan to hold academic demos at more than 25 Bible colleges and seminaries in Australia and Oceania. This plan also calls for facilitating and presenting at about 15 conferences in the region. Lastly, as I mentioned before, I plan on targeting numerous private and public high schools, starting in Sydney and then moving beyond in order to ensure the schools have our Bible and language tools at their disposal.

7. What are some upcoming events you’ll be at?

For the first part of 2015, I have a heavy travel commitment to visit pastors in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Mixed in with those events, I have multiple training seminars in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Then on the schedule there are academic demos in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. It will be a busy first quarter here in Australia!

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Learn more about David on his website, Saul2Paul.com, or get to know him on the forums!

Keep Your Most Important New Year’s Resolution with Every Day Bible

every-day-bible-appIt’s resolution-making season. And to ensure your most important resolution—the one about daily Bible reading—is also the easiest to keep, we’d like you to meet the free Every Day Bible app.

Built on the reading-plan framework of Connect the Testaments, a popular calendar devotional written by Faithlife’s own John Barry and Rebecca Van Noord, Every Day Bible presents you with three manageable passages each day—one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from the books of poetry. This approach will lead you through the entire Bible in a year. Along the way, you’ll garner a big-picture view of Scripture aided by Barry’s and Van Noord’s insights delivered in daily devotional passages.

The Every Day Bible app puts that powerful content in your pocket, so you can maintain your resolution to read Scripture even when the next year takes you unexpected places.

We kept it simple, so there’s nothing extra to learn and you can jump right into your Scripture readings each day. The result is a daily-reading app that’s easy to use. You still have total control over which types of text you’d like to read: use the settings menu to turn sections on and off if you’d prefer to focus on one particular type of text.

Each day is topped off with a piece of Bible Screen art from one of the verses covered that day. Our in-house professional design team has been illustrating a different Bible verse every day for years. Their work has taken many forms—apps, T-shirts, magnets, postcards—and we couldn’t resist putting it here to inspire you in your daily Scripture reading. And if you’d like to share the art, you can do that with just a click.

We think you’re going to love the brilliantly simple Every Day Bible app. Download it for free today, and start keeping that resolution to read Scripture.

Improve Your Bible Study in 2015

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

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

Study with Logos 6

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

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

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

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

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

DIY Bible Study

Get started today!

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

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

3 Tips for Sticking with Daily Bible Readings

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

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

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

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

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

1. Get daily readings delivered to your desktop.

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

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

Here are some premade reading plans you can choose from:

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

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

2. Gain support and accountability through community.

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

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

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

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

3. Map out a manageable plan in seconds.

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

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

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

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

Genesis 1:1–5

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

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

Master Journal Bundle: A Treasure Trove of Insights

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

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

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

Journals for every student

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

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

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

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

Make your journals work for you

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

Over a century of knowledge at your fingertips

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

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

Logos 6: See and Read Only Highlighted Text

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.

If you’re like me, while reading a print book, you like marking up important points. Likewise, for years we’ve been able to highlight text in our Logos resources. Now, in Logos 6, we can go one step further. We can actually extract, view, and read just those highlights we’ve made in a book!

Here’s how:

  • Open a resource, such as Alone with God
  • Choose Tools | Highlighting
  • Expand a palette such as highlighter pens (A)
  • Select some text in the resource (B)
  • Click a style, such as green highlighter (C)

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  • Continue highlighting text as you desire
  • Open another resource, such as Moral Foundations of Life
  • Highlight text in this resource as well (D)

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By default, when we use styles in the highlighter-pens palette, Logos creates a notes document called Highlighter Pens.

  • Open the notes document by choosing the documents menu
  • Click the Highlighter Pens file to open it
  • Select Quotes as the view in which to display the notes (E)
  • Notice the names of the resources in which text was highlighted (F)
  • Click the arrow to the left of a resource to reveal all of the text that was highlighted in that specific resource (G)

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As you can see, by utilizing the highlighting and quotes views, you can in essence produce a personal summary, comprising what you deem important of any resource in your library.

You can learn more about Logos 6 features in the Logos 6: What’s New? Manual and the Logos 6: What’s New? Video, now available on Pre-Pub.

Also be sure to register for an upcoming Camp Logos live training seminar, including the January events in Tampa and Houston.

Our Long-Awaited Jesus

Luke 2:11

When I meditate on Christmas, I think about our Jesus—about the miracle of our Savior. About being free from my sins and being able to rest in his grace all because he came here to save us. But I don’t often think about the fact that people longed and waited for him to come.

Patience isn’t something that comes naturally for most people, especially when there’s no ETA. And waiting for Jesus had to require more patience than anything else we’ve ever waited for.

They knew he had been promised. They believed he would come. But they didn’t know when. I can’t even imagine how amazing it felt for those shepherds, who were just going about their day, to hear those glorious words:

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

The Lord was here. Our Jesus had come. They would be set free. The Savior born was declared to be the divine Messiah, and an angel had been sent to tell them personally.

After all that waiting, he had finally arrived.

The hymn Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus puts this into perspective:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

He was the desire of every nation, the longing of every heart. Jesus, the best king they could ever hope for—their strength, hope, and joy. People didn’t care about gifts, or great food, or even good company. Their long-awaited Savior had suddenly come, and that’s all that mattered.

This Christmas, let’s remember what a miracle Jesus was. Let’s not take his birth for granted. Let us drop everything and bask in the glory of our long-awaited Savior, who was born on earth, would die to save us, and who will never leave us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

—John 3:16

Hallelujah, our Savior is here! Let us rejoice.

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.

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.