How to Find Rhetorical Questions in the Bible

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A fellow Logos user posted this task in the MP Seminars Faithlife Group:

I am trying to find all the rhetorical questions in Luke.

I actually blogged about this awhile back, but for the sake of convenience let’s take a fresh look at it.

Please note, to complete this search you’ll need a Bronze or above feature set.

searching Logos for rhetorical questions in the Bible

  • Open the Search panel 
  • Select Bible as the search type (A)
  • Set Luke as the verse search range (B)
  • Select your desired Bible from the drop-down list (C)
  • Copy/Paste this query into the Search box: (D)
    {Section <SpeechAct = Info: Assert>} WITHIN {Section <Sentence ~ Interrogative>}
  • Press the Enter/Return key to generate the results (E)

Here’s a quick explanation of what we just did:

The Sentence Types Dataset tags sentences in the Bible according to common labels, interrogatives being questions, of course.

The Speech Acts Dataset basically tags sentences according to their function or purpose. Keep in mind rhetorical questions are not designed to get information, but rather give information, hence the Informative: Assertive label.

So, we just located the Informative: Assertive label WITHIN the Interrogative Sentence label, or rhetorical questions!

As you examine the results there may be a few false positives, but for the most part we’re looking at what we would normally consider rhetorical questions.

For more detailed instruction about datasets and advanced searching techniques, please check out a subscription to where you’ll find 1000’s of videos to help you become proficient in both the desktop and mobile formats of Logos Bible Software!

Written by
Morris Proctor

Morris Proctor (1961–2023) was a certified trainer for Logos Bible Software and founder of MP Seminars. Morris trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, and his team continues to provide many training materials.

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Written by Morris Proctor
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