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Day 2: Biblical Themes


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Learn to Study the Bible with Logos: Part 1

Day 2: Broaden Your Knowledge about Biblical Themes

Step 2: Identify Important Themes in the Passage and Connect Them to the Broad Themes of the Bible

Hi, and welcome back. Today we’ll take the next two steps in Bible study.

One of the many reasons for reading slowly through the passage we are studying is to identify the major themes in the passage. This is the second step in the observation stage. We’ll also want to connect those themes to the broad themes of the Bible. As you’ve read through it several times already, I hope you’ve noticed the major themes in Matthew 4 and made notes about those themes. But how do we find extensive information related to these major themes? If you are not using Logos, you can find such information by diligently looking through various commentaries and Bible dictionaries. This is important work for good Bible study. A broad knowledge of biblical themes really helps us understand the narrow focus in our passage. Fortunately, Logos makes finding related topics easy.

Go Box—Entering a Topic

The Go box is one of the fastest ways to access information on a topic or passage. By default, our software opens to the Home page and the Go box is in the upper left of the Home page.

One of the major themes, if not THE main theme, in Matthew 4 is temptation. When we search for this word in the Go box, Logos runs 3 reports. The Topic Guide gives us information that helps us understand a topic. The Sermon Guide provides us with resources that will help us apply and communicate a topic or passage. And, if we are studying a specific word, the Bible Word Study analyzes the word we are studying by providing background information and definitions. Each guide is segmented into different sections full of information and can be accessed independently of the Go box by using the Guides menu. Let’s focus on the key elements of the Topic Guide and the Sermon Starter Guide.

Topic Guide

The Topic section in the Topic Guide provides us with a quick definition from one of the Bible Dictionaries in our library, links to other Bible dictionaries, and additional searches. We can also access sermons, illustrations, and media that apply to our study.

Sermon Starter Guide and Thematic Outlines

Let’s look at the Sermon Starter Guide. While this guide was designed with the pastor in mind, it holds useful information for everyone. In the preaching resources section you’ll find quotations about temptation and helpful commentaries with practical application. The passages section expands the related verses section with “Pericopes.” Here we’ll an extensive list of sections of the Bible, not just verses, that relate to our main theme.

One of the most helpful sections is the Thematic Outlines section. Scholars at Logos have outlined important themes and topics and provided Scripture references for each point. Expand “Temptation and Jesus Christ.” Here we find a detailed list with Scripture references of the temptations Jesus faced. When we think about Jesus and temptation, we typically think of the three temptations He experienced in the wilderness. This thematic outline shows us that He was also tempted to avoid the cross and please His listeners. We also learn that we can identify with Jesus and have confidence when we face temptation. All of these entries are followed by references from Scripture. Let’s add a note about this by right clicking on verse 1, selecting the reference, and adding a note to our Matthew 4 Note file.

With the Topic Guide and the Sermon Starter Guide we have access to a wealth of knowledge about our selected topic of interest. Specifically helpful are the Thematic Outlines.

Step 3: Compare English Translations

The third step in Bible study is to compare English translations of the passage. Translations can be considered a basic form of commentary. Whether we realize it or not, the translators of Scripture have to make interpretive decisions. It is impossible to translate from one language to another without interpreting at a basic level. There are no word-for-word translations. If you know more than one language, you know that it is impossible to translate a long string of text word-for-word. That fact shouldn’t shake our confidence in the translations of the Bible we have. The level of commentary that translators make is small and that’s what makes comparing translations really helpful. We can find differences between translations and therefore find differences in interpretation and other nuances of language. In the past, we would have to accumulate several different translations and go through the tedious work of looking back and forth between them. Logos makes the task of translation comparison much simpler.

Go box—Entering a Passage

We typed a topic into the Go box earlier in this video. When we type “Mat 4” into the Go box, a list of suggested topics appears. Let’s choose “The Temptation of Jesus.” When we press Enter, the amount of information Logos returns is even more impressive than when we entered a topic into the Go box. The different panels on our screen will help us accomplish one of the key steps in the observation stage of studying the Bible—comparing different Bible translations.

Parallel Resources

To compare translations, we can select the Bible’s tab and then press either our Left or Right Arrow keys. We can skip directly to another Bible by clicking the Parallel Resources icon and selecting the version we are interested in. We can do this with most any resource in your library, like commentaries and dictionaries. When we type a Scripture reference in the Go box, Logos also opens multiple translations in tabs behind the esv, so we could compare translations by clicking on the different Bible tabs.

Text Comparison Tool

To really see the differences between the texts, let’s use the Text Comparison Tool in the bottom right of our screen. We can access it independently of the Go box by clicking the Tools menu. Let’s open it in a floating window by clicking on the resource panel menu and selecting “Float this panel.” At the top of the screen we can choose what translations we want to compare by typing the abbreviation of our favorite translations separated by commas. We can also choose how we want to display the differences. When we click on the blue “A,” the differences between the main version on the left and the other versions are highlighted in blue. When we click on the marked through “A,” Logos adds the main translation differences to the other translations with slash through the text. To change the main version of comparison, we can change which translation appears first in the lists of translations at the top. When we look through differences highlighted in the King James text we find that Jesus says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” in verse 7. When we look at the esv, we find the word “test.” This difference alerts us to what may be an important point to study.

Information Panel

We can find out more information about this word by hovering our mouse over the Bible version open in our main screen and looking at the information panel. The information panel is full of information that changes as we hover over different words.

Let’s hover over “tempt” and we’ll see the Greek word is peirazo. We will find that the Greek word for “test” is ekpeirazo. This shows us that both words come from the same root, peira, which shows us why the kjv translators chose the same word, “tempt”—they were emphasizing the similarity of the two words. It also shows that the word “tempt” has a broad range of meanings in English and Greek—which shows us why the esv translators chose different words.

Let’s add a note about this by right-clicking any word in verse 7, selecting the reference, and selecting “Add a note.” Rename the Note file and add your note.


Now it’s your turn to find more differences in the translation:

  • Find at least two more significant differences between translations and add them to your Note file
  • Change the translations you are comparing and see what other differences you can find

You’re doing great. In the next session, we’ll begin to discover why context is so important to understanding our passage.