Review of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG) on Logos

BDAGI have owned a hard copy of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG) for the last 8 years and it has been an invaluable resource on my shelf. There just isn’t any other lexicon out there with this amount of detail and accuracy. It has been my “go to” resource for Greek studies. I am going to talk about the hard copy and then about what Logos has done with it to take this resource to the next level. Even if you already have the hard copy, I think you will be very interested to see what they have done to make it ever better.

The hard copy retails for right at $100 on amazon. This book contains every single word used in the Greek New Testament listed and defined in alphabetical order along with a whole litany of pertinent information that will assist you in your studies, preaching, teaching, etc. Here is a list of the most common things listed under each entry.
Formal equivalent/gloss: a word it can be translated with…think of this as single word suggestions that are the English equivalents. Italic font
Extended definition: a full definition which is more explaining the concept than a word to translate it by. Bold font
Translation equivalent: often a suggested translation of a given phrase is supplied
– Multiple glosses/definitions as needed for a given word in Greek
– Every NT occurrence of that Greek word categorized under what they interpret it to be the appropriate definition, relevant extra-biblical usage of the word with a citation so you can go look that up, sometimes a Hebrew equivalent is given.

In the Logos version, you get all of the functionality that I just described in addition to some features that make BDAG a whole lot faster to use, much more user friendly and interactive with other Logos resources. Here are some of the things that I thought were extremely helpful.

Outstanding Search Capabilities
One thing that stand out about Logos’ version of BDAG is that it is way more than just a digital/pdf version of the hard copy. There are tools they have included that have increased its functionality and integrated its search features that have saved me countless hours of searching.thate that takes BDAG above and beyond just taking the print version and making it digital.

First, BDAG is fully searchable. You can type in “church” and get any time it appears in the book. But you can get more specific in your search by filtering your search to a selection of any of the following: search by formal equivalent (blood must be in the gloss), search by extended definition (blood is in the conceptual explanation) and/or translation equivalent. This makes it easier to find more common words by having more specific search options. BDAG is over 1100 pages of very small print so this comes in handy. In order to do this, you click the search button at the top of Logos, click “Entire Library” and change that to BDAG. Then click “all text” and check “search fields”. Last, click the down arrow by search fields in order to select the fields you want. It will then look like this and you can check on or off any fields you want to search within

SearchFields

Let’s say you land at “Ekklesia” it would look like this (notice the extended definition in bold, the gloss in italics)

Ekklesia

If you rollover any of the scriptures they provide you get the verse. If I rollover Acts 19:39 in definition number 1 here is the result

Ekklesia-scripturerollover

Now, let’s say you want more information on a Greek word that is in the text. You can search your other resources for that word by right clicking on it and then selecting the search option you want.

Ekklesia-lookupwordindefinition
In this instance I right clicked the word you see at the bottom left συνερχομενων and then clicked “Search all open resources” which allows me to quickly search BDAG (and in this instance the SBL Greek New Testament since that was open as well) for all other instances of that exact word. Here are the results

results

Those search results demonstrate another great feature. I had my SBL Greek New Testament open at the same time and as you can see the only time that word is used in the GNT is in 1 Cor 11:18. If you double click the word in the text and it is in its lexical form, say you clicked και or θεος it would take you straight to that entry in BDAG. Then you just use the “back” arrow at the top right of the window to get back where you were in your study.

Integration with other Greek Language products
BDAG integrates with many other Logos products. Let’s say you are reading your SBL Greek New Testament and you want to look up a word in BDAG. You just double click the word and you are on the word in the full text of BDAG. I cannot tell you how helpful that is. What is more, if you download the free Logos App you can do this on the fly away from the office. I was listening to a sermon the other day where three Greek words were mentioned in a specific verse. I got out my iphone, opened the Logos app, pulled up the verse in the Greek NT, clicked the words and had them in BDAG right in front of me. On a side note, you cannot click words that have been transliterated and get the same result. For instance, Ben Witherington almost always transliterates his Greek words so the words aren’t in a Greek font. You cannot click those and end up in BDAG as it is not integrated with transliteration.

I am still playing with the features but have really appreciated what I have found. The thing that will make this interesting to many of you is that I have found this helpful and fast enough that it has renewed the amount of time I spend in the Greek New Testament because I can get to what I need quickly and easily. I want to wrap up the review by thanking Logos for allowing me to have a copy for this review.

This can be purchased from Logos bundled with the 5 volume Hebrew/Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) here

bdag-halot-bundle

Advertisements

Jesus in Context – One of the Most Helpful Biblical Background Books Around

JesusInContext-BockI recently came across the most helpful resources on the historical backgrounds to the Gospels that I have ever seen. It is called Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study by Darrell Bock. This book works through the synoptics and John and pulls just about any relevant extra-biblical text in full quotation to help you see what other ancient writers said about a topic, a city, a custom, etc. Reading the geneaology of Jesus? Look and see how other ancient Jewish writers did genealogies. Studying Jesus’ turning water to wine at Cana? You go to that miracle in this book and it first gives you a bit of historical background on eschatology and wine followed by relevant quotations from 1 Enoch, 2 Baruch, Tobit, and the Talmud on wine and quotations from Josephus on Cana. Combine the content with Logos Bible software and you have an unbelievably powerful resource for your studies. This book concludes with multiple indices that include index by topic, by scripture, by extra-biblical reference and a huge list for further reading broken down by topic, If you are a student of the Gospels and want extra-biblical references all in one place this is the book for you. If you would use Logos and would like to have it at your disposal in a fully searchable, indexed format with clickable links with full references for you to use in your study or writing, you can get it here.

Bible Class Archive: 1000 Free Bible Study Lessons, Over 3000 Pages of Free Material

I haven’t mentioned the Bible Class Archive in a long while. It is a page on the blog where I compile many of the lessons for Bible class and small groups that I have written over the years. I have also included some of my co-laborers in the kingdom in the collaborative process and have added in their lessons as well. So if you haven’t ever been on that page of this blog, have a look…

Bible Class Archive

To date, over 70,000 pdf’s have been downloaded! I intend to add more material very soon.

Review of Logos “How to Read the Bible” Collection – Part 3

AllJesusAsksThe third book in the Logos “How to Read the Bible” Collection is Stan Guthrie’s All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us. Guthrie takes the majority of questions Jesus asked during his ministry and weaves them into an investigation of the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. In later chapters he turns to questions that explore our identity as disciples (character, (in)competency, attitude, etc) and finally concludes with some apologetics.

After being fairly critical of the other book he did in this collection, “A Concise Guide to Bible Prophesy“. I am really happy to say that this book was excellent. It is thorough. It is insightful. The illustrations are excellent. If I had to compare this to something, I would call this book “Jesus’ Questions for Everyone” as his style reminds me of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” Series of New Testament commentaries. He touches on the relevant verses, illustrating and commentating along the way.

I would recommend this book not just to people who want all of Jesus’ questions in one place but to people who enjoy investigation. He doesn’t just linearly and analytically make a list of questions and address them. He weaves the questions of JesusI really love that because any book about questions should feel like an investigation…it is just being fair to your subject…and Guthrie really does pull it off.

There are only three criticisms I have of this book. First, he admits that he is no biblical scholar so there are times I think he missed the point. One of those times in in Chapter 4, “His Humanity” where Guthrie interprets some of Jesus questions to mean that Jesus asked certain questions because he really had no idea of the answer. Here is one example,

When Jesus stands before Pontius Pilate, and a Roman execution for sedition looms large, the procurator asks him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus is not concerned with saving his own skin, but learning whether this brutal Roman official might be a spiritual seeker, one in whom the seed of faith is likely to grow. “Do you say this of your own accord,” he asks, “or did others say it to you about me?” Jesus genuinely wants an answer because he doesn’t know. – Guthrie, S. (2010). All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us (60). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Jesus was making a point in asking the question that goes beyond him just being ignorant of the answer (much like God asking Adam and Eve “Where are you” after they sinned – Gen 3:9). Of the recorded questions of Jesus in the Gospels, Jesus doesn’t normally ask questions out of ignorance. His questions make a point. This entire book was about how Jesus taught through questions, so I am not sure how he missed it on this one.

The second criticism I have of the book just comes with the territory. Any time you deal with passages out of context and develop a whole book that strings together related topics and verses out of context you run the risk of missing some of the meaning. Like the above examples, that happened a few times in the book. Again, that is to be expected due to the way the book is laid out. Third, when you take out of context verses and force them into a self-made framework you run the risk of twisting some passages to fit your topics. That doesn’t come across too much in this book but it does happen. (See Procrustean bed)

Overall, great book and one I would recommend. What the book lacks in scholarship (which overall is pretty insignificant) Guthrie makes up for in his journalistic style, engaging commentary, and ability to connect the reader to the thrill of the investigation, relevance and application. Questions are powerful and Guthrie does a great job of handling the questions of Jesus from his own perspective without getting in the way.

Free Ebook Resources By Verge Network & Logos

If you aren’t familiar with the Verge Network and/or don’t get their email updates about their free ebooks you might want to sign up. They provide some pretty good, free material that can be helpful to your ministry. I have downloaded a few of their books and have enjoyed them and appreciate their generosity in offering these up free of charge.

Verge Network’s Free ebook page

Free Verge eBooks:

Free Logos eBooks:

Logos Bible Software Launches 1500 Quotations for Preachers (with Slides)

LogosBibleSoftwareA few months ago I reviewed a Logos product called 300 Quotations for Preachers by Elliot Ritzema. In that review I gave some really good feedback about Elliot’s work. One of my biggest compliments was how thorough he was in pulling some of the best quotes from all over Christianity over the last 2000 years. Well, Elliot and Logos have just stepped it up from there with 1500 Quotations for Preachers.

 

Unbelievably thorough:
This new product splits the 1500 quotations up into five groups:
300 Quotations from the Early Church is from the years 100–600
300 Quotations from the Medieval Church is from the years 600–1500
300 Quotations from the Reformation is from the years 1500–1650
300 Quotations from the Modern Church is from 1650 forward

They also include an additional 300 quotes from the Puritans.

Highly functional:
What is more, like the original 300 quotations package, this one is full searchable, searchable by theme and comes with its own professional developed powerpoint slide for each quotation so you can plug it right into your presentation. Here is what it looks like:

Here is the layout of each quote:

Logos1

If you click the writer’s name you get where the citation for the quote. If you click the picture, you get the slide they have produced for that quote. If you click it, it does this…

Logos2You can right-click the larger image, save it or copy it and put it right into powerpoint. It is very fast and the images look good. The big advantage here is having such a large collection of quotes in a database that you can search (even search by the scriptures they tag each quote with!) and nearly instantly put them into a presentation. That saves you from having to scour the internet trying to find the right quote and having to find an image to pair it with and format it all in powerpoint. Kudos to Elliot, Elizabeth Vince and Rebecca Brant for all that they put into this package. Also, each slide’s background image is tied to the era from which it came.

Unaware of any bias that influenced selection
In looking through the quotations I don’t really notice much selection bias. We all have our biases but I can’t really see any glaring through based on what was selected. It would be easy to cherrypick quotations that fit with our own conclusions and that is just about inevitable to some degree but if it is present in this software I haven’t noticed it yet. It is hard to keep to your biases when you include 1500 quotations from various people over 2000 years of history!

Three suggested changes
There are two things I think this are missing. It would be nice to have a brief bio on each person they quote. It would also be helpful to have a link that could be clicked to get you to the full context of the quotation. Stripped from its context, quotes can mean many different things. That doesn’t diminish the usefulness of this software. Logos has informed me that if the work it is quoted from is in your Logos library, that it will take you to the quote in context. Seems like they thought of just about everything. The last change I would make is to change the ordering of these in the Logos library software so they are in chronological, rather than alphabetical order.

If you are interested in purchasing it, you can find it here – 1500 Quotations for Preachers (With Slides)

I appreciate Logos for asking me to review this material. I did receive a copy of this for reviewing it but that doesn’t affect my ability to review it objectively. In other words, I would try to talk you into spending your money is it wasn’t quality enough to warrant it.

A Comprehensive List of Scot McKnight’s Commentary Recommendations: The Pastor’s Bookshelf

Scot McKnight often lists his recommended commentaries on various books of the Bible in what he calls the “Pastors Bookshelf”. Here are the ones he has done so far all in one place. This is an invaluable resource for selecting the best of the best commentaries on each book of the New Testament. Thanks Scot for taking the time to assemble this over the last few years. If Scot has already compiled this somewhere let me know.

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Acts of the Apostles

Romans

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians & Philemon

1 & 2 Thessalonians

Pastorals (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

Hebrews

James

1-2 Peter & Jude

1-3 John

Revelation