I have a long-standing, friendly argument going with an old professor of mine. It started when, as a budding young Greek student in seminary, I asked, “Should I get the paper version of BDAG or the digital version?”
“Paper,” he said, “because you can see the whole layout of each entry instead of only a tiny portion of that entry, which is what you get on your computer screen.”
I think he made an excellent point. I bought the paper edition.
But I rarely used it. It was so heavy, and like the sluggard who won’t bring his hand from the dish to his mouth, I just didn’t find myself actually going to the trouble of looking up things very often. Bible software was so much quicker for such mundane reference tasks.
I sold my paper edition and bought a digital copy. And I used it.
That was in 2003. My laptop monitor had a resolution of 1024×768. Now even my phone has a higher resolution than that. And my computer dwarfs it. I’m looking right now at a 2560×1440 screen, with a 1920×1080 screen next to it. In other words, I’ve gone from 786,432 pixels of screen space to 5,760,000, a 732% increase.
I’ve got the digital real estate to make good use of a reference work like BDAG. In fact, I keep it open permanently in multiview on my secondary monitor (along with another multiview tab dedicated to Bible translations):
Digital is the only way to go with reference works, even if I do still read some books in print.
BDAG in Digital Format
So why is BDAG itself still laid out for print, even within Bible software? All of the points and subpoints are sort of wadded together into massive, imposing, visually impenetrable paragraphs, like lexicographical colossi daring you to scale them:
This kind of layout made sense in a print era in which you had limited “paper space”—1024×768, as it were. But typographers and layout artists over the centuries have realized that there are more helpful ways to organize information like this visually. We call them hard returns and indented bullet points:
Years ago on my personal blog I called for a digital-friendly layout which made it easier to process the reams of information in each BDAG entry. And, thankfully, both my readers heard that call! My mom and my mother-in-law must have called Logos Bible Software, for lo and behold, Faithlife came out with a visual filter which did just what I asked. Here’s a video showing you how to do it, too:
The most economical way to get BDAG is to buy a Logos base package. I typically tell people that if they have ever studied Greek, they should not consider getting any package lower than Platinum, in part because that’s the package BDAG comes in. It’s an utterly standard resource for NT studies, and nowhere is it easier to use than in Logos. Learn more about Logos 6 Platinum.