A Simple New Way to Search Your Bible Inside Logos

Good Bible readers have lots of questions. I wonder what other OT verses the author of Hebrews cites? Where was that other question Peter asked Jesus, the one I just read the other day? I wonder how often the NT authors refer to the fall of Adam?

And these questions lead to insights. In fact, you can’t usually get to insights unless you ask questions.

You can take your Bible questions to Google, and you’ll likely find some good stuff. Every haystack has at least one needle in it. But using Logos to search the Bible is like searching a needlestack in which, okay, there may be some pieces of hay.

Logos has extremely powerful search capabilities. But until now, finding those needles of insight often demanded some complicated search syntax. Like this:

{Section <Sentence ~ Interrogative>} INTERSECTS {Section <SpeechAct = Info.:Assert.>}

The new Bible Browser lets you do some of that same, detailed searching in a simple way.

TV infomercials always say things like, “It’s so easy that anyone can do it!” But seriously—you can click, right? If you can click, you can use the Bible Browser. It will help you find all kinds of things Logos has tagged in the Bible over the years. People, places, objects, events, speech acts, figurative expressions, miracles, parables, topics, grammatical constructions, and—cue the infomercial—so much more!

OT quotations in Hebrews

Let me give an example from a real-life Bible study situation. I was researching the use of the Old Testament in the book of Hebrews. Using the Bible Browser, I selected “Intertext” in the panel on the left; then, under “Target,” I clicked “Hebrews.” This generated a huge list of OT passages that Hebrews “targets”—that it quotes, cites, or alludes to.

The passages Hebrews cites, alludes to, and echoes read like a tour of redemptive history: Genesis 1, Genesis 3, Genesis 12, etc. It’s such a huge list, however—355 passages—that I decided to refine my search. I clicked “Quotation” to see just the quotations (removing allusions, echoes, and citations):

The list of actual quotations in Hebrews reads like a collection of favorite passages from an extremely observant and retentive reader of the Old Testament. Habakkuk 2:4, for example, is not a verse that would have stood out to me if New Testament writers hadn’t called my attention to it. I think I would have read it as a passing phrase in an obscure prophecy by a minor prophet. But Paul and the author of Hebrews saw it (rightly, of course) as a profound theological statement: “the righteous shall live by his faith.” The writer of Hebrews noticed the importance of this verse. He handled the OT with care and insight. And the Bible Browser helped me see that.

Rhetorical questions

Another example: finding those rhetorical questions I mentioned earlier. A few months ago, I wrote an article showing Logos users how to do this and, frankly, it was a bit complicated. With the Bible Browser, it’s as simple as clicking “Interrogative” under Sentence Types and “Informative: Assertive” under Speech Acts. Currently, only the New Testament is tagged for sentence types and speech acts, but look at a few things this search finds:

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” (Mark 3:33)

“Was Paul crucified for you?” (1 Cor 1:13)

“Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14)

The Bible Browser uses a data-organization technique called “faceted browsing.” Each search term you click on allows you to look at the Bible as at a gem and to focus on one facet—to take one viewpoint at a time as you study a Scripture text.

Why is this valuable? Because if you teach through any portion of the New Testament you’re going to run across rhetorical questions, and you’re going to want to cite other examples of such questions to help people understand them. And you’ll either have to rely on your memory—which almost certainly can call up a few rhetorical questions—or you’re going to be able to rely on the work of others who have laboriously tagged the entire New Testament, helping you find just the right examples and not only the ones that happen to come to mind.

Judas Iscariot

Blunt-force searching can be done by any free Bible software program on the Internet. They will all tell you, in .0347 seconds or less, that “Judas” occurs 32 times in 31 verses. But the team at Logos has gone beyond basic word-searches and tagged all the different Judases separately, so you can easily narrow the results to Judas Iscariot (or Judas brother of Jesus, or Judas Barsabbas, etc.). Just type “Judas” into the search bar in the Bible Browser, and all the Judases come up. Click the Judas you want, and he will come running into your search window, shoving all the other Judases aside. Even when the biblical text refers to Judas with a pronoun (“him,” “he,” “one of you”), Logos will have it tagged correctly for a specific person:

Calling all Bible nerds

The Bible Browser snuck up on me. I had heard about it in the Faithlife offices before its release, but the power of it didn’t really hit me until I sat down and used it for Bible study. I have been turning to the Bible Browser regularly to make my searching quicker and easier.

The Bible Browser is included in the Extended Feature Set for Logos 7. If you have it, what have you used the Bible Browser to do? What insights did you achieve with it? How did it improve your Bible study or sermon? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.


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Written by
Mark Ward

Mark Ward (PhD, Bob Jones University) is Senior Editor for Digital Content at Word by Word, the official Logos blog. He is the author of several books and textbooks including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption (BJU Press, 2016), Basics for a Biblical Worldview (BJU Press, 2021), and Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible (Lexham Press, 2018), which became a Faithlife infotainment documentary. He is also a host for Logos Live and is an active YouTuber.

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Written by Mark Ward
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