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

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Help From You Guys With Accordance or Logos – What is the most common command in the Bible?

I had an email discussion yesterday with a buddy about what the most frequent command in scripture is. If you google it you will find “do not be afraid” comes out on top. That is at least the theory but I can’t find really any evidence that backs it up. They say it occurs 365 times in the Bible and that there are 365 days in the year, and that God was making a point with that (even though the Jewish calendar didn’t have 365 days). Often the command “Fear not” (like in Acts 27:24) is actually in the passive and is not an imperative. It comes across as an imperative though. Anyone thought about any of this? Help me out. What is the most common imperative in the whole Bible? Is it:

  • Go
  • Say/Tell
  • Listen
  • Do
  • Something else?

Any ideas out there?

Romans 8 Greek Wordle

I left out the articles, conjunctions, etc to help the main themes of Romans 8 stand out better.

Wordle: Romans 8 in Greek

Here are some of the Greek wordles posted on the blog in the past:

John 3
John 1:1-18

Barbarians in the New Testament

It is not too often I laugh out loud at something I find while studying a passage. In Romans 1:14 Paul provides us a chuckle when he writes, “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” The word non-Greeks is the Greek word “Barbarois” where we get the word Barbarian. This word has an interesting etymology that you can find in Cranfield’s commentary on Romans or in the wikipedia entry for the word Barbarian. Apparently the Greeks thought their language was somewhat superior to the surrounding and outlying cultures and the other languages sounded to them like gibberish. That would make this word an Greek example of onomatopoeia (don’t you just love that word?)…hearing the other culture’s gibberish as a constant stream of “bar, bar, bar…” almost like Charlie Brown’s teacher. It would be like if we called them the Blablahs today.

Other instances of this word in the New Testament are found in:

  • Acts 28:2,4 – “The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.” The islanders are called Bar-Bars.
  • 1 Cor 11:14 – “If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner (bar-bar) to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.”
  • Colossians 3:11 speaks for itself.

What is also funny in this verse is when you re-read it and the following vers with this in mind: “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.” – Paul says he is obligated to the foolish and gibberish speaking bar-bars…that is why he is so eager to come to you who are at Rome!

I have to throw in a disclaimer here. Words often become so used that we no longer think about the etymologies when we use them so it is most likely that Paul wasn’t really thinking about the gibberish aspect that I am emphasizing here, just like when you use the word automobile you aren’t thinking about the two words that form it and all the underlying meaning of a machine that moves itself. But I still think it is funny.

Sin, Aristotle, and the Tragic Hero

Ryken gives an interesting observation about sin in his book How to Read the Bible as Literature. It is in the context of discussing tragic heroes who, in spite of their great ability, fall due to a character flaw.

“Ordinarily a tragic hero possesses something that we call greatness of spirit. All of this grandeur is brought tumbling down bby a final trait of the tragic hero-a tragic flaw of character. Aristotle’s word for it was hamartia (translated “sin” in the New Testament) a missing of the mark. Aristotle described it as ‘some great error or frailty,’ some ‘defect which is painful or destructive.’ In other words, tragedy always portrays caused suffering…Drawn in two or more directions, the tragic hero makes a tragic choice that leads inevitably to catastrophe and suffering.” (Ryken, 83-84).

How to Use Greek and Hebrew Fonts When Blogging

Tyndale has a nice set of Unicode fonts that you can download with instructions at this link. This converts your keyboard into having Greek and Hebrew fonts. There is a little keyboard icon next to the microphone icon on that thin blue bar in windows. I keep mine to the left hand side and auto hide it. I find I can fit more open windows on it and still be able to read what they are all in less space if you drag it from the bottom of your windows desktop to the side. On that blue bar there are some icons you may have never paid much attention to (a keyboard, microphone, etc). Here is a picture of what I am talking about (again, your is probably horizontal on the bottom of your desktop – I like mine pulled to the side which makes it vertical

The little keyboard icon over the microphone is for keyboard options (including adding other languages). This is where the Tyndale fonts will be accessed from. I am including a second picture below to show you the language options and how to click on them once you have installed the tyndale fonts. Another way to use them (and much faster) is through a keyboard shortcut that toggles between English, Greek, and Hebrew. All you have to do is while you are typing hit Ctrl+Shift and you will toggle first from English to Greek and if you hit it again from Greek to Hebrew and again from Hebrew back to English. By doing this you can use Greek and Hebrew fonts even while blogging. So here goes:

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1 – “εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 1:1 – “ברַשִית ברַא אֶלֹהִים אֶת הַשָׁמִַים ואֶת הֶָָרֵז

I am still working on the accents and pointing but with some work it can be done. This can be a really helpful way of using Greek and Hebrew in blogging without having to transliterate it.

Here is the picture of the keyboard options: