Logos is the most powerful and efficient Bible study tool I’ve ever used. You can use it to like a Kindle app to read biographies on your tablet (iOS or Android), or you can use for PhD research of superbly hyperlinked and fully indexed academic resources on your computer (Mac or PC).
The new version released this week has integrated all the notes I’ve made in 10 years of using Logos — more than 7,000 annotations to my Bible, covering every book except 2 John.
It’s also telling me I’ve added 43,000 highlights to other books in my library. Top five:
- 3,000 in N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God
- 3,000 in N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God
- 2,500 in The Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
- 1,500 in The Dead Sea Scrolls
- 1,400 in Josephus
Why those ones particularly? As my About page explains, “it was N. T. Wright who convinced me I needed to understand Jesus in his historical setting, from a first-century Jewish perspective … the framework for the questions I’m asking about how Jesus understood the kingdom.”
To discover what the kingdom meant to Jesus, I needed a methodology. The ideal way to understand how any culture thinks is to visit them, to sit around the campfire and listen in on their conversations as we do with focus groups. I didn’t have a way to travel back in time to the Jewish world before Jesus, but it occurred to me that I did have a way to listen to their conversations. We have thousands of Jewish writings from the Second Temple period, and this literature could transport me into their world:
- The Pseudepigrapha contains many of those texts.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls represent pieces from almost 1000 scrolls.
- Josephus explained first-century Judaism to a non-Jewish audience.
These writings were my doorway into the cultural world of Jesus and his contemporaries, and the effort of entering that door has been richly rewarded. That research eventually launched this blog with this explanation, “It took a few years of part-time study of the second temple literature before the lights went on and I began to see the kingdom as they saw it.”
So, in 2016, I invited you to come on this journey with me. If I had begun to understand Jesus perspective, we needed to re-read the whole of Scripture as the kingdom-of-God story. We’ve made a start: almost 400 blog posts, showing how Scripture comes alive with the fascinating plotline of the restoration of God’s kingship over the earth. (See Scripture Index.)
So thanks, Logos, for the tools to do this life-defining research. We can do things now that were not possible in previous generations. We carry thousands of books everywhere we go. We instantly lookup lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, background material. In less than a second, we execute powerful searches for phrases and intertextual connections that could not have been done in weeks using books on shelves. It’s no exaggeration to say this research revolution rivals the invention of the printing press.
If you’re serious about Bible study, check out one of the Logos 8 packages, or get Logos 7 Basic for free. Add books as you go. Each month, there’s a free book of the month from Logos, Faithlife, and Verbum.
Sample search: This example searches a subset of my library (my “Kingdom of God” collection), for each time the phrase “Son of man” is found in close proximity to either “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of heaven.”