Logos 4: a quick note about a portable library

Ah, the age-old debate about how one should build a library: print or digital?

Okay, it’s not really that old of a debate. But it’s one I’ve gone back and forth on. I own the major lexicon for the Greek New Testament in digital edition. Same thing with the major lexicon for the Hebrew Bible. (They’re both huge.) But I went a bit overboard with the LEH lexicon for the Septuagint: I have it in print, in Logos, in Accordance, and in BibleWorks! (I only had to pay for the print edition, though.)

I’m taking a great class on the use of the Old Testament in the New. Most of the texts we use for the class list multiple biblical references, but don’t write out the verses. Take this example from Richard N. Longenecker’s Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period:

V. Quotations occurring in John alone, with introductory formulae:

35. John 6:45 (Isa 54:13; Jer 31:33).
36. John 7:38 (Isa 12:3; 43:19–20; 44:3; 58:11).
37. John 10:34 (Ps 82:6 [LXX = 81:6]).
38. John 13:18 (Ps 41:9 [MT = 41:10; LXX = 40:10]).
39. John 15:25 (Ps 35:19 [LXX = 34:19]; 69:4 [MT = 69:5; LXX = 68:5]).

That’s a lot to look up! Especially flipping back and forth between Hebrew, Greek, and English versions.

In the Logos 4 edition of the book, however, all those texts are hyperlinked, so that I simply have to mouse over them to have a pop-up window display the verses in my preferred version. This is a great time saver, and I much prefer to read a book like this with such an easy way to look at the verses it’s referencing. I can also set up my windows and tabs in Logos to have multiple Bibles/versions open, too, while I read through a book.

I know print is better on my eyes than a screen is, so there’s still that. But the hyperlinking system in Logos makes buying books from them a desirable option–and they have a wide selection.

I also know that my bookshelves at home are beyond full, so my wife will likely appreciate digital additions to my library rather than more books in the living room….

This is a bit of an excursus in my Logos 4 review, though I purchased the Logos edition of the book above. See part 1 of my Logos 4 review here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and part 4 here.

BibleWorks 9 now runs natively on Macs

Big news from BibleWorks today. BibleWorks 9 now runs natively on a Mac. And there’s a free way Mac users who own BibleWorks 9 can do it. Read all about it here.

I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin.

See links to all six parts of my BibleWorks 9 review here.

UPDATE 10/4/12: Shoot! It’s no longer going to be available for free, and at the moment (10/4/12), it’s not available at all:

10/4/2012: Due to licensing restrictions, it turns out that we will have to offer the BibleWorks 9 Mac Public Preview through our webstore. We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but if you check back here early next week, we should have it available again!

Hopefully this gets ironed out soon. I’d love to use BibleWorks on a Mac.

UPDATE 2, 10/4/12: See here.

Using the Exegetical Guide and Passage Guide in Logos 4

Logos 4 offers an “Exegetical Guide” and a “Passage Guide” for any verse(s) a user is studying. These features’ utility lies primarily in how Logos compiles and presents the various resources in the program. A couple times in the last year or two when I was trying out Logos on a seminary library computer, I had trouble seeing the use in the Exegetical Guide and the Passage Guide. Can’t I just find that stuff all myself, I thought?

Now I’ve had a chance to use both at greater length. Here’s what I think about them.

From the home page I begin to type in Deuteronomy 6, and a nice drop-down auto-complete feature comes up (a smart search engine!). Everything you see below in the home page can be changed and customized, as I noted here.

Selecting “The Greatest Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:1-9),” this screen then comes up (along with other tabs I already had open, not shown here). Click for larger if need be.

There are multiple collapsable and expandable sections from which I can choose. Most helpful are the “cross references” that pop up. Below that are “parallel passages,” which highlighted for me a resource I didn’t even realize Logos 4 had: Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament (you know I love that!).

There’s more, too–a quick gathering of and hyperlinks to pertinent people, places, and “biblical things”; “media resources,” such as this one shown at right; a compare versions tool… and more. There are some things I won’t necessarily use, like the Graceway Media graphics (which take you to an external site, where it looks like you have to pay to download). But that’s no biggie–there’s an “x” I can click on so that won’t show in future Passage Guides. It’s all highly customizable, a consistent strength of Logos.

The Passage Guide saves me time and highlights resources and references throughout Logos 4 that users may not even be aware exist. I’m a fan and can easily envision using this in preparing messages and Bible studies.

The Exegetical Guide has a really similar layout. The categories here, however, tend to be more focused at the word, clause, sentence, and verse level, such as: textual apparatuses (if you have any in your Logos), grammars, visualizations, and word-by-word analysis. This latter feature is cool–it shows you parsing for every word, as well as its definitions in multiple dictionaries/lexica at the same time. See here:

In the image below (another part of the Exegetical Guide), the top two arrows show you the colorful word distribution results throughout the various biblical books; the bottom arrow shows you how you can click on “more” for a given word (click for larger):

The Exegetical Guide and the Passage Guide are winners. They pull a lot together in one easy-to-get-to place, and they do it quickly. Nicely done.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I am giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. This has been part 4. See part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

Guest post: Robbie Pruitt on A.W. Tozer

Magnificent Monograph Monday this week features a guest blogger, Robbie Pruitt. I have guest posted on his blog (My Two Mites) before, and today he posts here. It’s a review of Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. Robbie is a gifted youth minister, teacher, poet, reader, writer, and friend.

Nothing is more important than a right understanding of God, or “thinking rightly about God.”  In Knowledge of the HolyA.W. Tozer states, “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.”  Tozer is addressing idol worship that many fall into by thinking wrongly about God.

It is into this reality that Tozer speaks in Knowledge of the Holy, which is an excellent study of the attributes of God. (See pdf of book here.)  Tozer describes in detail the importance of thinking rightly about God, going so far as asserting, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  When it comes to our thinking about God, everything is at stake.  We must think deeply and accurately about God if we are to know Him and worship Him rightly and truthfully.

According to Tozer, when we think about God, we are using the language and the concepts that our finite minds can grapple with.  Our understanding of God is limited, as God is infinite and we are finite.  We are also unaware of the fullness of God as there are attributes we have not had revealed to us yet, and which we do not currently have the capacity to comprehend.  Tozer says, “We learn by using what we already know as a bridge, over which we pass to the unknown. It is not possible for the mind to crash suddenly past the familiar into the totally unfamiliar.”

While Tozer is acutely aware of the magnitude of his subject, God, he is not deterred from writing a most excellent reflection on the attributes of God that we can understand and contemplate.  An attribute, simply stated by Tozer, is “whatever may be correctly ascribed to God.”  While there is ample evidence to conclude that what we do not know about God is vast, there is so much about God’s character and nature that we can accurately know.  To begin with, we can know His attributes, and we can ascribe these attributes to Him with confidence.

In thinking about the enormity of God, Tozer is quick to warn against idolatry and thinking wrongly about God.  He says, “To think of creature and Creator as alike in essential being is to rob God of most of His attributes and reduce Him to the status of a creature.”  We must not think of God in “human” terms, though we are using human brains and creation and are reasoning, to contemplate the essence of God.  In thinking of God we must proceed cautiously, reverently and prayerfully, in faith and in love, as we rest in God’s divine revelation to us.

If we are not cautious, the dangers are clear.  We can think of something less than God and find ourselves in idolatry, worshipping something less than God.  Tozer says, “If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.”  The other danger in thinking about God is attempting to manipulate, control, or manage God, which essentially places us above God as “god.”  Tozer describes this phenomenon this way: “Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms.  We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him.”

We must look to God with great anticipation and appreciation of God’s revelation to us.  It is adequate.  God has revealed Himself to us and God is knowable.  God, in His great love and mercy, has revealed Himself to us in His son Jesus and we can know Him in faith and in love.  Tozer asserts, “In Christ and by Christ, God effects complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience.”   We can know God and we can experience God.  This revelation of God is a great mercy to us and is a gift to us in Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit, which leads us into all truth.

As Tozer says so eloquently, “For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself.”  These truths of God are, indeed, His attributes, and we can know them and study them.  Knowledge of the Holy is a great tool for this study as we seek to come to know the eternal, magnificent, and indescribable God that we seek to worship rightly.

An attribute study is a great way to come to know God more deeply and is a great way to explore the richness of the Scriptures in a more non-linear approach.  Knowledge of the Holy covers some essential thoughts and attributes of God, as well as doctrines, that every Christian should think about.  As Tozer rightly points out, “The study of the attributes of God, far from being dull and heavy, may for the enlightened Christian be a sweet and absorbing spiritual exercise. To the soul that is athirst for God, nothing could be more delightful.”  As we seek God and seek to have our thirsts for Him quenched, this book, in addition to Scripture, prayer, and community, is a great place to start.

A thorough reading of Knowledge of the Holy highlights so many truths about God.  We are plunged into the depths of God’s character and nature and are left in a state of awe and worship in the presence of an awesome God.  While we will spend a lifetime and an eternity seeking to know God completely and to worship Him rightly, we can know God and worship Him now.  To quote Tozer one last time, “To our questions God has provided answers; not all the answers, certainly, but enough to satisfy our intellects and ravish our hearts. These answers He has provided in nature, in the Scriptures, and in the person of His Son.”  How marvelous it is to wonder at His greatness and to think rightly about our God!

Another 4-year-old son review of The Berenstain Bears… this time: God Bless the Animals

Family Friday this week at Words on the Word comes on Saturday. Here my 4-year-old son reviews another Berenstain Bears book. See him review the first one here.

For this review, my 4-year-old son’s 2-year-old brother joined us. The 2-year-old’s comments are in parentheses below, usually also in all caps, because that’s how he speaks. Regular font is my 4-year-old.

This is a flap book.  (That’s a book!)

There’s a little baby who has a little rope on her head with a little heart on the front, and she has a little shirt with a heart on it. And Mama Bear walks the baby down the stairs. (MAMA BEAR! DADDY BEAR! DA DOOO!)

Are you writing goo-goo words?

Sister Bear is pointing under the lettuce, a little cabbage. Do you know what’s under the cabbage, daddy? There’s bunnies; I’ll count them. 1, 2, 3, 4. So there’s 4.  There’s a butterfly under some flower beds.

(NO NO NO NO! I WANT TO READ A CHOO-CHOO BOOK!)

Mr. Possum and Mr. Skunk–the skunk is in his hollow stump and looking at a book. And there’s a light so he can see and one little hole for one little window, and only just a chair.

There’s a squirrel that’s jumping from here to here.

Daddy, how about you write up some baby words? Whatever I say will be baby words, just to be funny. Are you ready for some baby words?

Goo goo ga ga. Bloo rah rah. Dada.

There’s one little frog and four bees. The bees are making a lot of light. Bzzz!!  (BEEEEZZZ!)

How about we surprise the other guys with this one? On this page can we surprise the guys? It’s okay if we just go to the next page. (2-year-old putting blanket on 4-year-old: GO TO BED!)

There’s a fish sliding across the stream. It’s going, “Weeee!!!” And it might bump into some of the rocks.

That’s all I want to do. So we totally book reviewed it.

I liked it because of everything. I felt good when we read the book.

Find more about The Berenstain Bears: God Bless the Animals at its Zondervan product page or on Amazon by clicking the book’s image above. Read the rest of my 4-year-old son’s reviews here. Jake wishes to comply with FTC guidelines and disclose that he received a review copy of this book from Zondervan, but not with any expectation as to the nature or content of the review.

frameworks (How to Navigate the New Testament): a review

Why the book frameworks? Author Eric Larson says,

frameworks, quite simply, is a book about Bible navigation and context, material that’s designed to build your confidence in your ability to negotiate the text and understand it. Think of it as a guidebook, a Bible companion, written for anyone who would like to have a personal biblical tour guide. This book can be used for self-study, in small group discussions or in classrooms to set the context for Bible reading and to lead you through it.

The emphasis in the book is on presentation and memorability. Larson uses rich and beautiful imagery (and “lots of refreshing white space”) to create a book that has a good home on a coffee/display table. Yet he doesn’t neglect solid content around each biblical book, either.

The introduction is short and sweet and covers essential territory like who the writers were, literary divisions of the book, and an especially helpful 7-part “Navigating Jesus’ Ministry” section with simple maps and narrative highlights. After an introduction to the New Testament in general, each book of the New Testament has these 10 sections: introduction, theme, purpose, outline, verses to note in that book (the best part of frameworks, I thought), navigation (a page of things to look for when reading a book-well done), unique things about that book, recap, questions, and a verse to apply right now.

There is a sample pdf of the table of contents and introduction here.

Charts, tables, photographs and other graphics are a strong point of this book. Some are as simple as this historical timeline, which is visually appealing:

Or take this visual outline of the book of Luke, from p. 92 of the book (and posted on the author’s blog):

(The spelling error in ascension is corrected in the book.)

This book will answer many questions people had about the New Testament but were afraid to ask–one of its intended purposes. For example, in Larson’s introduction to the Gospels (“Biographies of Christ”), he writes about the “four living creatures” that many have understood to represent the Gospels. (Lion, Ox, Man, Eagle.)

I’ve always seen Mark associated with the lion, but Larson has the lion with Matthew, the ox with Mark, the man with Luke, and the eagle with John. He notes that this is the order of the four living creatures in Revelation 4:6-7. But the order as it appears in Ezekiel 1:1-14 is what I’ve seen more typically, where it’s human, lion, ox, and eagle. I understand that Christian tradition varies here a bit.

This is not a huge deal, but it is indicative of a larger trend in the book–nuance seems to be prioritized at times less highly then presentation. Larson’s laudable goal is to engage “anyone who would like to have a personal biblical tour guide.” It’s about “navigation and context,” but readers will still want to look elsewhere for greater detail and clarification on some matters.

As far as a New Testament framework goes, Larson’s 4-1-9-4-8-1 scheme did not immediately strike me as easily memorable. He divides the NT this way:

  • 4 biographies of Christ
  • 1 history book (Acts)
  • 9 letters of Paul to the churches
  • 4 letters of Paul to people
  • 8 general letters
  • 1 book of prophecy (Revelation)

This is less memorable than the 4-1-21-1! chant I’ve used with young people. (See the pdf of it here, from Center for Youth Studies.) Larson’s 4-1-9-4-8-1 does have the advantage of dividing up the 21 letters/epistles into their types/authors, but as much as I wanted to latch on to 4-1-9-4-8-1, I never quite did. This is not too say it’s a bad thing to use; it is to say a reader might not pick it up as easily as some other NT “frameworks.”

One other critique I offer is that, although I appreciate the approach of using visual imagery and stories and examples rooted in culture to try to connect the ancient text to today, sometimes the connections feel a bit stretched. For example, the photograph accompanying the “history” title page (for the book of Acts) is an unfinished attic with a sawhorse in it and a window with light coming through. It’s a beautiful image. But what’s it trying to evoke? The upper room? The light as the Holy Spirit? Okay, but why the sawhorse? Other such images left me curious as to why they were selected, or how they were meant to visually reinforce the author’s text.

Similarly, while the story about Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller to begin the book of James is itself inspirational, its application to James and his audience sure felt reach-y. That James’s “self-indulged spiritual children” were “behaving badly and desperately need a spanking” is an odd way, indeed, to describe things! James would have never “spanked” his listeners. I know the author doesn’t mean that literally, but that image was distracting. I often found myself reacting this way in the introductions to each of the books.

Everything after a book’s introduction is generally solid–and creative. In Mark, for example, Larson has a selection of verses from that Gospel that he has the reader “read…without stopping to take a breath.” He puts in bold words like “at once,” “quickly,” and “immediately” (a favorite of Mark’s). Then he concludes, “If you feel out of breath, congratulations. Mark has succeeded in brining you into his fast moving narrative.” I thought this was a great way to draw the reader into the fast-paced action movie that Mark often feels like.

I like the approach to this New Testament introduction; it’s creative and will reach a larger audience then some less visually-oriented books on the same subject. The short descriptions of each book are generally solid, but the occasional lack of nuance and informal tone distracted me at times as I worked my way through the book. (In other words, as with any book, this one should be read critically.)

Yet I do think Larson’s efforts will guide the reader into deeper engagement with the biblical text. His emphasis on what to look for in a book, pulling out and quoting specific verses, and his constant admonition to “Read It!” are refreshing. He even gives an estimate for how long it takes to read through a book at a casual pace, which is an enormous aid to anyone who will commit to sitting down and doing reading through God’s Word.

I received a free copy of frameworks for review purposes. Thank you to the author and publicist for the chance to review it.

The Original Languages Library in Logos 4

How is Logos 4 for study of biblical languages?

Typically when I think about Bible software and original languages, three important areas come to mind:

  • The Hebrew Old Testament
  • The Greek New Testament
  • The Greek Old Testament, or, the Septuagint

I’ve already written about the Septuagint in Logos here. What about the Hebrew OT and Greek NT?

For Hebrew study there is the BHS Hebrew Bible with (WIVU) morphological analysis. I mentioned in my last post that the Information tab can be brought up to give lexical and morphological analysis of any word. Also, the bottom gray border area of Logos updates with morphological analysis as you move over a word. So you can instantly parse and analyze the Hebrew as you go.

My go-to Hebrew lexicon is part of this base package: Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by Holladay (based on HALOT). And Landes’s ever-helpful Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary is included. There are some grammars like Futato and Gesenius. You can open all of these as stand-alone windows, or integrate them into what you’re doing in a given text. Here’s a Hebrew Bible layout I’m using at the moment (click for larger):

You can see in the top left area that I’ve got BHS open in the leftmost tab–what you’re seeing in the shot above is what happens when you seek to open a new tab. I like that it suggests resources that address the verse that’s already open. You can also mouse over a resource for a handy pop-up window with description. The above pop-up window is for the Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text, which gives even more insight into the Hebrew text than just the BHS with WIVU morphological analysis.

One highlight of the Hebrew resources available in this package is the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. See here for a good description of the “seven layers of syntax information” included. (That’s better than a seven-layer burrito!) Here’s a screenshot:

And more here from Logos:

The Analyzed Text contains morphological and lexical analysis, similar to that found in the above editions of the Hebrew Bible, but also analyzes features such as genre and semantic domains. The Phrase Marker Analysis, however, goes beyond the word level and shows how phrases and clauses function together, in essence diagramming the entire Hebrew Bible with Syntax information. There is a database that allows the user to search the Hebrew bible based on these Syntax structures, and a glossary resource that defines all the terms used in the Analyzed Text and the Phrase Marker Analysis. This package represents a new trend in computerized biblical studies – the ability to work with syntax, not just morphology, when studying the Bible.

I was a little unclear as to why the English translation (on the far right in the shot above) was so wooden in this resource–and “thou wilt” struck me as out of place. Also odd (in this verse) is the English translation “gods” (circled above) when it is in apposition to Yahweh, and the idea is clearly of one God.

But that barely takes away from the impressiveness of the Phrase Marker Analysis. It’s unique to Logos, and packs quite a punch. Grammar nerds rejoice! (As I have.)

When it comes to the Greek New Testament, all the basic stuff is there–the NA27 and UBS4 with morphology (apparatus sold separately), Westcott and Hort, the Byzantine textform of the GNT, the Louw-Nida lexicon, a concise Greek-English dictionary, both a harmony and synopsis for the Gospels (not Aland’s in this package, and nothing in Greek, but decent nonetheless), a great vocabulary guide, and so on. UPDATE: You can, in fact, view the Gospel synopsis in Greek, just by opening the synopsis tool and changing the versions, as below (click image for larger):

But get this. The Original Languages Library comes with the digitized 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. I couldn’t believe this at first and thought surely it was the abridged version. Nope. It’s the full thing–“Big Kittel.” It’s fun to use as a digital resource, too. One saves time not having to look things up, and all the abbreviations are hyperlinked, so that if you just move your cursor over them, you see quickly what they stand for. Same thing with verse references:

This resource in print is $400 (retail is something like $700). Once I realized its inclusion, the $415.95 sticker price for the Original Languages Library made more sense. Comparable packages in other Bible software are cheaper, but none of them include TDNT. I’m amazed Logos can include it in this base package, but glad that they do.

As for English translations, the Original Languages Library includes these, among others:

  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • King James Version (KJV)
  • Lexham English Bible (NT)
  • The NET Bible (my personal favorite at the moment)
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

There is also a variety of (reverse) interlinear Bibles. I personally don’t use these much, but they could be helpful to others. The Tov/Polak Hebrew-Greek Parallel Aligned Bible, however–presented in interlinear format–is great. (More about that here.)

The Original Languages Library packs in quite a bit. With the exception of perhaps an English translation of the Septuagint, all you need for original language study is here. The Andersen-Forbes resources for the Hebrew OT, the TDNT for the Greek NT, and the Tov/Polak aligned Hebrew-Greek OT are all wonderful inclusions and fantastic resources.

How is Logos 4 for study of biblical languages? It’s great.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I am giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. This has been part 3. See part 1 here and part 2 here.

My 4-year-old son reviews The Berenstain Bears: Faith Gets Us Through

There’s three little cubs and Sister Bear says, “I’m scared.” And Brother says, “I’m scared.” And Fred says, “The Lord is my salvation.”

There’s lots of rocks. I’ll count them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, on two sides. And there’s a mountain goat standing on one of them. One’s on one rock and the other one’s on another rock.

Then they [the Bears] go in the cave. One goat is up really high, on the top of the cave. And they go in the cave. Papa Bear is pointing at himself and saying, “I know all about caves.” Then they talk about caves.

Papa says, “Hello!” And it goes, “Hello! Hello!” That’s the echo.

Something [a stalactite] almost fell on Papa and killed him. But he jumped away.

Papa: “It’s okay, I left a string showing you the way.” The goat eats the string and they don’t know the way out. But they actually know the way out.

They all splash out, and what does Papa say? It starts with a Y. Does he say, “Help”? Or “Welp”? Um… he says, “YIEEE!”

[To father/typist] Hey, Daddy, do you know all about caves? I want to know.

They got in the water and then… weeeee!!! They got their badges. Kind of like Chuck and Friends. But Chuck and Friends don’t get weeee’d down the water. They’re just exploring. They mostly just look for stuff to help them do stuff. And the big, grown up monster truck teaches them.

[Back to the story….] I like that the goat eats the string and that they go down the water slide. It’s not a water slide. It’s actually a water fountain.

I didn’t like that Papa doesn’t know that there’s another way out. And that’s it.

I am glad I have this book. This book is good for four-year-old ages, and every age. Hey, daddy–let’s read!

Bye bye.

Find more about The Berenstain Bears: Faith Gets Us Through at its Zondervan product page or on Amazon by clicking the book’s image above. Read the rest of my 4-year-old son’s reviews here. Jake wishes to comply with FTC guidelines and disclose that he received a review copy of this book from Zondervan, but not with any expectation as to the nature or content of the review.

Enter in: One good reason to study how the New Testament uses the Old Testament

I’m reading the book shown at right for a seminary class I’m taking. The class is called “The Old Testament in the New.” Its syllabus is here (pdf).

I’ll offer a review of Beale’s Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament later, but for now, this:

The aim of this chapter [3], and indeed of this entire handbook, is to obtain a better understanding of the way the NT is related to the OT at just those points where the New refers to the Old. The ultimate purpose in this exercise is more clearly to hear and apprehend the living word of the living God (cf. Acts 7:38), so that we may encounter God increasingly and know him more deeply, and so think and do those things that honor God.

He notes that he realizes “that this purpose is not shared by all in the academic guild,” but I believe that if the biblical authors meant for their writings to be read in a “participatory mood,” we actually do some injustice to the text when we don’t read them that way.

One of my reviews to be published in Bible Study Magazine

I have written a book review that is slated to be published in an upcoming issue of Bible Study Magazine.

You can see what Bible Study Magazine looks like by flipping through this past issue.

The book I review is Lamentations and the Song of Songs, by Harvey Cox and Stephanie Paulsell. It’s the newest edition of Westminster John Knox Press’s Belief theological commentary series. (More about the book is here.)

Both authors suggest reading their respective biblical books in a “participatory mood.” Cox and Paulsell each highlight the timelessness of Lamentations and Song of Songs, surveying well their history of interpretation to help readers today apply them and enter in to the texts. A good commentary to have at hand, especially when preaching through either Lamentations or Song of Songs–something that probably doesn’t happen as often as it should.