The Bible is the most important book in the world. Nothing else comes close. No other book in the world reveals God. No other book in the world is inspired by the Holy Spirit. No other book in the world is able to make people wise unto salvation. No other book in the world is totally true and trustworthy.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom 10:16). The Apostles of Jesus have all passed from the scene, but the word of Christ is still heard in what they wrote. Faith comes from hearing the Bible. “For since in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God by wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor 1:21), and though they are dead, the Apostles continue to preach through the Scriptures.
These truths about the Scriptures—that they reveal God and proclaim the salvation that God has wrought in Christ—are the reasons I care about Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the languages in which the Bible was written, and these reasons are also why I care about the ancient manuscripts that transmit the Scriptures and the scholarly discipline of textual criticism.
The original languages and textual criticism matter to me because the Bible matters to me.
In order to understand the original languages in which the Bible was written, we need to understand the grammatical structures of these languages, and we need to understand how the words of these languages were used. Over the years, scholars have compiled massive and significant grammars and lexicons, reference works that collect and organize how phrases and words were used when the Bible was being written.
When we come to a phrase or grammatical construction we do not understand, or when we come to a word we do not know, we can look the word up in a lexicon and the phrase or construction up in a grammar. More detailed lexicons and grammars will do more than just gloss meanings, citing other texts where these words and phrases are used, sometimes giving snippets from those texts, or in the case of grammars, discussing them.
The two advanced Hebrew Grammars are Gesenius, Kautzsch, Cowley (GKC) and Joüon Muraoka. GKC comes with Logos Scholars Gold. Joüon Muraoka comes with the Original Languages Supplement (hereafter OLS). The OLS also comes with Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew by Sue Groom (a resource with which I’m not yet familiar).
One of the advanced Greek grammars, BDF, comes with the OLS, as does the best intermediate Greek Grammar, Dan Wallace’s Exegetical Syntax.
The most important Greek Lexicon for NT study is BDAG, which comes with the OLS, and the most important Greek Lexicon for all ancient literature, including LXX study, LSJ, also comes with the OLS. Logos also includes Learning the Basics of New Testament Greek, which comes with a workbook.
Let me summarize what this means: in the Logos Original Languages Supplement, you get three of the four most important lexicons for biblical studies: HALOT, BDAG, and LSJ (BDB coming with other packages), and three of the five or so most important grammars for biblical studies: Joüon Muraoka, BDF, and Wallace (GKC coming with other packages, and ATR’s big Greek Grammar only comes with Platinum and Portfolio Logos packages).
I am simply astonished that all these resources are available in electronic format. Whereas in years past you needed a big table for massive volumes such as LSJ, now you need a powerful computer. The possibilities such easy access open up are mind-boggling. Much will be required of us, for to us much indeed has been given.
Logos is to be congratulated and thanked for their service in making such tools available. We are all in their debt. May we be good stewards.
I have two minor complaints about Logos, and I don’t know whether these issues are related. The first is that the program comes with a lot of “resources” that I will never use. I wouldn’t keep hard copies of most of these books if they came into my possession for free. I wish that there were an easier way to delete multiple items from my Logos library all at once. The best thing I found was instructions in a forum somewhere that gave a step by step process for deleting (hiding, removing from my library, whatever it’s called) ten items at once. The steps had to be followed exactly, I’m not sure if I could get back to those instructions (probably easily could by googling them), and it would just take forever to remove all the clutter I would like to get out of Logos. I’m not sure I want to take the time to do it. So I wish there were an easy way to remove a whole bunch of resources all at once. I know there’s a lot of magic behind the curtain, but what if Logos could bring up all my resources in one big list, with an edit button at the top right like I find on my iPhone. I hit edit, select the items I don’t want in my library, and delete them all at once. Is this possible?
My second complaint may or may not be related to the first. That is, I don’t know if it’s the number of items in my Logos library that makes the program sluggish, but it is sluggish. I have saved “Layouts” for OT, NT, and LXX screens. My MacBook Pro is about a year old, and it’s a pretty powerful machine. Just now I went to Logos, clicked the “Layouts” tab, and selected “NT” (I was in “OT”). I was able to count off 20 seconds before the NT layout appeared. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for me to try to scroll through a passage, or hit the button to go to the next chapter, and have to wait for the program to respond. This may seem petty. I agree. It is. What a pity to have to wait 20 seconds to switch from my OT to my NT layout. Cry me a river. But there is no comparison on this point with Accordance or BibleWorks. The word “instantaneous” comes to mind for Accordance, and BibleWorks is the same on Windows machines.
Would Logos be faster if I took the time to delete all that stuff I don’t want? I don’t know. I’m not sure that I want to risk the time and find it doesn’t make things go faster. If I could be assured that it would lighten the program’s load, I might look for a time to do it.
Let me return to what matters: the Bible. There is nothing in the world more important than the Bible. Lexicons and grammars are vital to study of the biblical texts in the original languages. The best, most important, most thorough, most used grammars and lexicons are in the Logos Original Languages Supplement.
As I reflect on what it’s like to have the Logos Original Languages Supplement, I think this must be close to what it was for Harry Potter to hold wand in hand.