Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The importance of "uniquely occurring words" and how to find them

I have been having some conversations lately with some colleagues regarding "uniquely occurring words" in the New Testament. It seems significant that out of the whole of the Greek language, there are places where the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament writers to use a word that appears no where else in Scripture. That one word is exactly what the Holy Spirit intended to be used and is was not adequate to describe anything else in the New Testament. An example appears in James 3:17 when two such words appear in the list of characteristics of the "wisdom from above."

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
Jamess 3:17 (NASB).

In this verse the words for "reasonable" and the word for "unwavering" are uniquely occurring words. They appear no where else in the New Testament. Studying these words can bring a great deal of additional meaning to the section being studied. The Holy Spirit chose these words specifically because of their unique ability to say what needed to be said. We should take the time to look more closely at these words to discover why they are so appropriate for the section being studied.

So how do you find these words?

Englishman's Concordance
Obviously you can find these "uniquely occurring words" using a hardback paper concordance, but that can be very time consuming. In Logos Bible Software you can run an Englishman's Concordance report on a suspected word and it will show you every verse that uses the word. To run and Englishman's Concordance report you must use the New American Standard (NASB), the King James Version (KJV), or one of the two new reverse interlinear versions, the English Standard Reverse Interlinear (ESV) or the New Revised Standard Reverse Interlinear (NRSV). Simply right mouse click on a word in the text and select Englishman's Concordance from the pulldown menu that appears.

The drawback to this approach is that you may miss some uniquely occurring words because you did not look them up in Englishman's. Which words do you check and which words do you skip?

Exegetical Guide
The Exegetical Guide provides a way to find ALL of the uniquely occurring words in a pericope at once. For example, when I ran this report (with setting that I will explain next) I found 11 more uniquely occurring words in James 3 in addition to the two I had already identified in James 3:17.

To set up the Exegetical Guide to find these words:

  1. Open the Exegetical Guide and click Properties in the upper right corner of the window.
  2. Deselect everything in the list (This report will take a long time to run and you need to strip any information that you don't need out of the report to make it manageable)
  3. Look at the Word by Word section of this report properties.
  4. Be sure to deselect Show Verse Text (If you don't turn this off it will list every word in the pericope. If your pericope in and entire book, it will really slow things down.)
  5. Set "Filter Out Words Whose Lemmas Occur More Than..." to 1
  6. Choose which parts of speech you are interested in searching for
  7. Select any Root Word Analysis options that you would like. I leave all of these selected.
  8. Run the report
PLEASE NOTE: This report may take some time depending on the speed or your computer and the size of the pericope you have chosen. You will also have to choose "MORE" at the bottom of the report to see all of the entries. You may have to click "MORE" a number of times to see them all.

This approach will help you identify these words and you may be surprised at the depth they can bring to your studies. Look at these words closely to discover why the Holy Spirit chose that exact word for that exact purpose. It can be very exciting.

Happy word hunting....

Friday, June 06, 2008

Controlling Logos when pasting verses into your notes....

Many times my students and friends ask me how to stop Logos from pasting in footnotes when they copy and paste Bible verses into their documents. Often times they will tell me that they have deselected "Include footnotes when copying" from the TOOLS / OPTIONS / GENERAL / INTERFACE menu, but it doesn't solve the problem. The answer lies in the terminology. You need to understand the difference between footnotes and bibliographic references.

FOOTNOTES - refers to the inline footnotes contained in a Bible verse text (or any other text for that matter). When you deselect "Include footnotes when copying" it simply does not copy any cross references or footnotes contained in the pericope you are using.

Here is an example of footnotes:

1 Peter 1:23 (NASB95)

23 for you have been a born again b not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring c word of God.

a John 3:3; 1 Pet 1:3

b John 1:13

c Heb 4:12

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

This text from 1 Peter was pasted in fully formatted. The footnotes are included.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCE - refers to the reference giving the source of the actual quote. This is really the problem. Most people are asking me how to stop Logos from adding the bibliographic reference to what they are pasting. The confusion lies in the fact that Logos uses a literal footnote to add the bibliographic reference! In the example of 1 Peter 1:23 given above you will notice that the bibliographic reference is listed after the [1] at the end of the text that was pasted. To keep Logos from doing this, you need to MODIFY THE COPY AND PASTE STYLE Logos uses.

1. Select the COPY BIBLE VERSES icon in your system tray (this is the small black book icon).
2. Select the STYLE from the pull down menu that you want to change and click the CUSTOMIZE button to the right
3. Click the MODIFY button on the right side menu to see the options available to you
4. Make sure that "Include bibliographic reference" is NOT selected and then save the style.

Now, whenever you use this new copy and paste style, the bibliographic reference will be omitted from your entry.

Happy pasting....

RefTagger lets you link the Bible to your website

The folks at Logos Bible Software have done it again. They have created a new tool called RefTagger. This tool allows you to link Bible references on your website to so visitors can see the text for themselves. RefTagger goes through your page and links Bible references automatically. When a visitor hovers their mouse over the reference, a small pop-up window opens showing them the verse. You can choose between the KJV, ESV and NLT translations for your pop-up and it is very easy to add to your website. There is also an icon option that lets any visitor using Logos Bible Software open the verse in Logos right from your website. This new free tool is available here.

Here is an example of how this works: 
1 Peter 1:5
James 1:2-4
You can included a verse anywhere John 3:16 in your text and RefTagger will track it down for you.

I didn't have to do anything but include the Bible reference in my article. RefTagger did the rest. It will also go back through any of my previous articles and do the same thing. 

Pretty nifty stuff.