How to Use Greek and Hebrew without Looking like a Total Idiot: New and Improved

genesis-hebrew2I’ll get back to my Transitional Mormonism and Tradition, but I was really excited about this development. 

I’ve seen several bad uses  flagrant abuses of original languages recently by people who don’t actually know the languages. They’re typically relying on Strong’s Concordance, which can be used legitimately (see my article here, the section called “original language resources”) but 99% of the time, Strong’s is abused by people who just don’t know better. They use it as a lexicon, as a guide to meaning, but this is highly problematic. If you read something citing Strong’s to establish what a word means, you can be fairly certain the authors have not actually studied Greek or Hebrew, and I strongly recommend not giving that source any scholarly weight or authority in Gospel Doctrine or Seminary.

I am terribly pleased to inform you that there is a new technology-assisted way to move directly from the KJV to legitimate scholarly Greek and Hebrew tools. And it’s free! I’ll provide a description, then walk through the steps to get it, demo some things on video, and then make some suggestions.

Logos just released the free version of its new engine, Logos 7 for Mac, PC, iOs, and Android. Logos is like a supercharged Kindle on steroids, which I use as my research library. I buy all my academic and popular books in it when possible. Back in 2000, I started using it because there was a screaming deal on the Anchor Bible Dictionary (which has been cited in General Conference!) With the upgrades and free resources now provided in version 7, the Basic engine will let you jump directly from the KJV to a decent basic Hebrew/Greek lexicon, included.  Moreover, it comes with both a decent Bible Dictionary and Study Bible, free (both produced by Logos.)

You will need to create an account, but the basic engine is indeed free. You will probably get marketing emails trying to get you to buy a package of books and higher-level functionality. You don’t need to do this, but if you’ve got the cash, go for it. BTW, once you create an account AND fill out a marketing thing, Logos gives you $20 credit every year on your birthday.

How to Get the Free Stuff

  1. Go here to get the free engine. It should ask you to create an account.
  2. It will download an installer file, which will then download the rest of the program and (I believe) the free resources. After downloading and installing, it will draw some processing power to index the new books.
  3. If you don’t see them in your library after everything downloads and indexes, here are the links to some free stuff you should have.
    • Lexham Bible Dictionary
      • Lexham is one publishing name Logos uses (Faithlife being another.)
    • Abridged BDB
      • This is the Hebrew lexicon, a simplified version of the $20 100-yr old lexicon most first-year Hebrew students buy, named after its authors
    • Faithlife Study Bible
      • Essays, introductions, visuals, diagrams, and verse-by-verse notes.
  4. Logos also does a free-book-of-the-month, with one free and one related for $1.99. This month, two books by N.T. Wright.
  5. Other free books are here. Pick up the Greek New Testament, SBL edition, Lexham English Bible, Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs, and perhaps the Classics, Arabic, or Civil War And 19th Century America collections.
  6. Other books and series go on sale regularly, with both monthly sales and specials, and you can get steep discounts on Pre-publication or Community Pricing.

Supercharge your Old Testament study for $70

Things to learn to take maximum advantage of the free stuff

    • Learn the Hebrew alphabet and vowels here. Hebrew alphabet intimidates more than it is actually difficult. Practice the consonants with Psalm 119 in our KJV. It’s a Hebrew alphabet acrostic, so the letters are printed there.
    • Both BDB and CHALOT will use some unfamiliar but important terminology for verbs. You should learn what qal, niph., hiph, etc. mean or you won’t understand the range of meanings in the definitions for verbs. This is a decent introduction to this vocabulary.

Things I’ll point out in the screencast demo 

  • Note the scripture pop-ups.
  • Lock panes to scroll together.
  • Corresponding Words visual filter. (Only in the KJV or other purchased interlinears. I don’t do much with this in the demo, so click the link and watch their video.)
  • Link Bible to a lexicon! This and the KJV interlinear are the key to cutting out Strong’s.

(I recommend watching 1080p so you can read the text.)

Logos has an active forum free of theological discussion (where I am the resident Mormon),  a good wiki, and lots of how-to videos linked within the wiki.

So, go forth and download, but remember to keep some intellectual humility! You still don’t know the languages, you’re just using much better tools.

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