Theological journals are nice and informative—and they’re expensive, bulky, hard to reference, and easy to ignore. Nothing in my office library is more easily overlooked than theological journals, probably because journals have identical covers, often lack a core theme, and frankly because I’m not smart enough to remember all the topics that are covered in each individual issue.
Over the last several months, I began populating my Logos 4 library with a large number of high quality theological journals—the electronic versions.
Currently I run these three titles on Logos 4:
- Theological Journal Library, volumes 1-10, $400 ($339 on CD from WTSB)*
- Theological Journal Library, volume 11, $50*
- Theological Journal Library, volume 12, $50*
All combined, they provide me with a large archive of the top theological journals including:
- Westminster Journal (1938-2008)
- Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (1997-2008)
- Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1995-2008)
- Trinity Journal (1980-2007)
- Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (1966-2008)
- Tyndale Bulletin (1972-2005)
- Bibliotheca Sacra (1934-2008)
- And many others …
In total, the TJL collection provides me with about 20,000 individual articles, and it’s a very quick and convenient way to get the most benefit from those articles. To illustrate the value of the Theological Journal Library volumes 1–12, I captured a few of my recent searches with screenshots.
As Easter approaches I’ll be spending more time studying the grand theme of Christ’s resurrection as the inauguration of the New Creation. I blogged on this topic last year and it’s a theme I plan to reengage this spring.
To search through my journal collection, I searched for references to this simple keyword string:
“resurrection” NEAR “new creation.”
The search scans the entire text of my journal library, far more comprehensively than an abstract search. This search in particular produced 84 articles that I’ll want to study more carefully. I’ll post a screenshot. On the left panel you will see my search string. I’ve opened up two attractive results. In the middle panel I opened up Stephen J. Wellum’s article, “Christ’s Resurrection and Ours (1 Corinthians 15),” published in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, vol. 6:3 (2002), page 81. On the right panel I opened Edmund P. Clowney’s article, “The Politics Of The Kingdom,” from the Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 41:2 (1978), page 300.
Here’s what it looks like (click for larger):
Now I’m ready to dig in and read these resources more carefully.
It is also very easy to search the journal collection for articles written by a specific author. For example, my library contains 16 articles written by D. A. Carson. Finding these articles is very easy. Here’s a screenshot of my search:
Author + Keyword Search
Finally, let me illustrate a keyword search within the selected author search. In this case I’ve searched for every article by D. A. Carson with the keyword “assurance.” The search string looks like this:
author:”D. A. Carson” AND assurance
The search reveals a very promising article, “Reflections on Christian Assurance,” published in Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 54:1 (1992), pages 1–29.
iPhone + iPad
With a lightning-quick search of the electronic files, finding the needle (article) in the haystack (20,000 articles) is quite easy. Finding the time to read those interesting articles is never so easy. I’ve never been one to read an entire article on my computer screen. Of course I could print the articles, but that can be cumbersome too. Now, finding the time read the articles is easier, thanks to the free Logos app on my iPad and iPhone.
Since I opened volume 54 of WTJ to the Carson article on assurance on my computer (see above), I can now easily find this same resource remotely on my iPad and iPhone. And once I open the resource it opens to the exact page that I last left off when working at my computer. So I open my iPad app and find volume 54 of WTJ …
Then when I click on the resource it opens to this page automatically:
The same is true on my iPhone app:
So when I leave my computer and sit in my reading chair with my iPad, or if I find myself sitting in a waiting room with nothing in hand but my iPhone, I can resume reading the journal, or virtually any other resource in my library. Logos keeps all of my resources synced. It’s like keeping all my books and journals open to a specific page and accessible on the go. Pretty nifty.
Theological journals are important in my research and bible study, but only because the e-journals are affordable and easily searchable. Searching my library of 20,000 journal articles is not only lightening fast but the e-journal library is fairly inexpensive compared to the print costs. Logos 4 saves me time (quick searches), money (each article costs about 2.5 cents), shelf space (none needed), and makes it really easy for me to read the journals when I’m on the go and away from my computer (thanks to their free iPhone and iPad apps).
If you are in the market for theological journals, I would recommend considering the value, usefulness, and long-term benefit of populating your e-library with quality resources like those in the Theological Journal Library collection (1-10, 11, 12, 13).
Two related notes:
Volume 13 of the TJL will be released in the next week, adding update volumes to all the above-mentioned journals. It will also add several older issues to the Tyndale Bulletin archive.
Also soon to be released is Themelios, the journal now operated by The Gospel Coalition. All 99 issues of the journal published between 1978–2008 will be released on Logos. The collection currently sells for $99* as a Pre-Pub. (Pre-Pubs are resources that are proposed for development. By ordering these resources, interest builds, and, when there’s enough interest built up for a resource, it is developed and eventually released. By pre-ordering the resource the user receives a nice discount.) No doubt Themelios will be a great addition to my e-library. And I have a hunch this resource will prove to be a great starter collection if you’ve never owned e-journals in the past.
* Prices current as of January 5, 2011.
This review originally appeared at Miscellanies. Used with permission.