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Study the Bible with Logos
Logos Pro Team
Lexham Press, 2016
LT271: Study the Bible with Logos: Jonah 1:1–16
Copyright 2016 Lexham Press
Lexham Press, 1313 Commercial St., Bellingham, WA 98225
You may use brief quotations from this content in presentations, books, or articles. Video material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed in whole or part without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Leader: Adam Borries
Lead Author: Jacob Cerone
Contributing authors: Todd Bishop, Tavis Bohlinger, John Pierceson, Mark L. Ward, Jr.
AV Talent: Adam Borries
Screencasts: Adam Borries, Jacob Cerone
Quality Control and Communication: Jacob Cerone
This course was designed to help you study the Bible. That’s its first purpose. But part of learning how to study is learning to use your tools well, so we have included substantial instruction on the use of Logos Bible Software as well. Studying the Bible with Logos can be as simple as typing a passage or topic in a box and hitting enter. It’s an ideal tool for the “Observation, Interpretation, Application” Bible study method we’ll be using, even if you never become a Logos expert. But the best way to gain facility with this tool is to use it in actual Bible study. So that’ what we’ll do.
The units in this course correspond to the three stages of Bible study (see Course Outline below). The course is further segmented into ten steps of Bible study. These ten steps will help you study the Bible whether you use Logos or not.
If you join us and watch one short video a day for 30 days, we’ll provide you with new Bible study skills and a better understanding of Jonah 1:1–16.
Part 1: Observation
Step 1: Read the passage in its context several times
1. Become Familiar with the Passage and Its Context
2. Read the Passage Slowly and Mark It up
3. Organize Your Library and Create Your Own Layout
Step 2: Identify important themes in the passage and connect them to the broad themes of the Bible
4. Identify and Research the Main Themes
5. Broaden Your Knowledge about Biblical Themes
Step 3: Compare English translations
6. Explore the Differences between Translations
Step 4: Explore the passage’s literary and intertextual context
7. Explore the Literary Context
8. Explore the Intertextual Context: Parallel Passages
9. Explore the Intertextual Context: Intertestamental Connections
Step 5: Explore the passage’s historical and cultural context
10. Explore the Historical Context of the Event: Geography and Time
11. Explore the Historical Context of the Event: Chronology of Events
12. Explore the Historical Context of the Writer
13. Explore the Cultural Context
Step 6: Pay special attention to the words and actions of the characters
14. Observe What Main Characters Say
15. Observe What Main Characters Do
Part 2: Interpretation
Step 7: Look for and study important words and phrases and connect them to the rest of Scripture
16. Find the Most Frequently Used Words
17. Research Words in the Original Languages: Root Searches
18. Research Words in the Original Languages: Lemma Searches
19. Research Words in the Original Languages: Word Studies
20. Research Words in the Original Languages: Senses
21. Research Words in the Original Languages: Grammatical and Semantic Roles
22. Research Words in the Original Languages: Grammatical Constructions
23. Research Words in the Original Languages: Textual Variants
Step 8: Outline and interpret the passage and check your interpretation with the interpretation of others
24. Understand the Purpose through Structure
25. Summarize the Big Idea of the Text
26. Check Commentaries for Interpretation
27. Explore the Doctrinal Implications of the Passage
Part 3: Application
Step 9: Apply the passage
28. Apply the Passage
29. Find Personal Application
Step 10: Share insight
30. Share Insight
Part 1: Observation
Become Familiar with the Passage and Its Context
Install Logos Bible Software for free >>
The first step to reading the Bible is reading the Bible. We start with observation, simply reading the passage in context and beginning to write down things we see. We’ll also set up reading plans and prayer lists.
Welcome to the Logos Pros’ second course on how to study the Bible. Hi, I’m Adam and I’ll be your guide as we learn to study the Bible using Logos. Thousands have already benefited from our course, Learn to Study the Bible with Logos, as we walked through the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4. In this course, we’ll follow the same methods as we used for Matthew, but with a passage from the Old Testament.
Using Jonah 1 verses 1–16 as our study text, this course will follow the well-known inductive Bible study method of “Observation, Interpretation, and Application.” I’ll outline ten steps in Bible study that you can follow with any passage of the Bible.
This course is also designed to help you master the powerful study tools in Logos Bible Software to make your Bible study easier and more insightful. We’ll pay special attention to the new tools available in Logos 7.
There are countless things Logos can do help you study the Bible, but you’ll be well on your way to using Logos if you can master just two skills: launch your study from the homepage and right-click to access more information. Most of the videos in this class are based on these two simple skills.
How to Watch this Course
We recommend you watch one video a day so that you have time to fully learn the new skills. The videos are short, between 5 and 10 minutes, and most will include an assignment that will take up to 30 minutes to complete. Feel free to only watch the videos, but if you can invest a little more time, doing the assignments will help you solidify your new skills.
If you need further help, additional training videos are located at Logos.com/pro and you can always ask for help in the course’s Faithlife group, which you can follow at faithlife.com/studyjonah.
Because different Logos base packages include different tools and resources, you may not have access to some of the functionality or resources demonstrated in a number of the videos. Nevertheless, watching all of the videos will help you. Not only will you gain more insight into Jonah 1:1–16, you’ll learn key steps in Bible study.
In this first section of the course, we’ll spend a good deal of time observing the text. There is no substitute for spending time with the passage we’re studying, and Logos provides us with tools to help us see what’s there. Essentially, we are looking at the details of the text and asking who, what, when, where, why, and how. We’re looking for things that we should study further. In our effort to explore the text deeply, we’ll identify important themes, compare English translations, and analyze the setting and characters.
The Bible is a powerful text. And Logos Bible Software is a powerful tool. If you invest in learning how to use it, it will transform how you study the Bible. You’ll be more efficient and walk away from your study with deeper insight. If you want to communicate truth to others or simply grow in your knowledge of God’s Word, Logos Bible Software can help you in big ways. I’m glad to have you join us.
Step 1: Read the Passage in Its Context Several Times
Part of the observation stage is reading a passage in its literary context. For example, we need to understand Jonah chapter 1 as it relates to the rest of the book. In fact, reading the passage several times in its context is a great idea for good Bible study and is the first step in the Bible study method of this course. Reading it as much as possible familiarizes us with what we are studying and helps us ask better investigative questions of the text.
In this short video we’ll explore how Logos can help us in our daily Scripture reading and prayer. We’ll also find out how to take important notes in the Bible as we read. For the next three videos we’ll spend some time setting up a few things in Logos before we start an in-depth study.
Custom Reading Plans
Let’s start by creating a custom reading plan. Simply open the Documents menu and choose Reading Plan. Here we can choose to follow a predefined reading plan or choose to setup a custom plan that fits our schedule and goals. We’ll create a reading plan on Jonah. Let’s click “Generate a Reading Plan,” give our reading plan a title like “Reading through Jonah”, and limit the range to the book of Jonah by typing “jonah” in the New Reference Range box. Let’s plan on reading the book of Jonah over the next month. Since there are four chapters in Jonah, we can read through the book 7 times before the end of the month. To do this, we’ll enter “jonah” six more times into the reference range box. Now, we can choose how we want Logos to divide the daily passages, by chapter or pericope. We’ll choose “chapter.” Next, I’ll choose the LEB as my preferred version, but you can select any Bible version you own in Logos. We also want to consider how often we want to read and the time period in which we want to read it. Let’s choose to read something every day. If we want to read this portion of Scripture with others, we can easily share it with any Faithlife group we are part of. When we are done, let’s click “Start.”
Now, when we relaunch the Logos Desktop app to the home page, we’re reminded of today’s readings. Selecting the reminder will open our preferred Bible to today’s reading and provide us with helpful start and stop indicators to track our progress. And, Logos reading plans are automatically synced between our desktop software, mobile apps, and app.logos.com, so we can take our daily Bible readings wherever we go. Plus, we can build a reading plan on any of our books, so if we want a custom reading plan through Pilgrim’s Progress, Logos will keep us on track. Instead of choosing a Bible translation in the reading plan creator, just choose the book you want to read.
As we read through the text, we’ll want to keep track of our observations. Keep in mind that we are asking who, what, when, where, why, and how. When we find an answer to one of those questions, we’ll want to highlight the text or make a note. To do this, we will go to the documents menu and select notes, then give our note file a name. We’ll call our notes “Devotional Reading Notes” to distinguish them from other notes we make in the software. Now, let’s highlight the portion of text we want to comment on, right-click, select reference, and choose “Add a note.” Then we’ll enter our comments.
Lastly, here’s how to create a prayer list. While prayer isn’t a technical step of Bible study, it is an important and foundational part of studying the Bible. If we believe that it is God who illuminates the text and changes our hearts, we need to ask for His help when we read His word. To create a prayer list, we’ll go to the documents menu and select Prayer List. Let’s give our prayer list a name. Now we can add a prayer by clicking on “Add prayer” at the top of the panel. Now, let’s give our prayer a title and add any notes or tags. We can also choose how often we want to pray for this specific request. Let’s choose every weekday by clicking on the checkbox by “Pray for this item,” changing “day” to “week,” and selecting the weekdays. Now, when we return to the homepage our prayer requests will show up next to our daily reading reminders. When our prayer is answered, we can return to our prayer list and add that answer.
Here are your assignments:
• Start a reading plan for your devotional reading and begin using Logos for your daily Bible reading
• Start a Note file for your study of Jonah 1:1–16, begin reading the passage regularly, and start adding notes to your passage answering the investigative questions we spoke of earlier
• Add at least five new prayer requests to your new prayer list and begin using the prayer list in your daily prayer time
Thanks for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed learning about reading plans, notes, and prayer lists.
In the next video, we talk about how to use quick start layouts, read the text slowly, and how to markup the text with useful highlights.
Install Logos Bible Software for free.
Read the Passage Slowly and Mark It up
Install Logos Bible Software for free >>
Setting up the basics of your workspace helps you know where to reach when you need a tool. This is as true for users of Bible software as it is for carpenters and mothers. Today we’ll look at some QuickStart layouts we’ve prepared for you, show you how to highlight text, and give you tips on how to use Logos to shut out textual distractions while you read the Bible.
Step 1 (cont.): Read the Passage in Its Context Several Times
Observation requires close attention to detail. One of the main skills in Bible study is simple, but not always easy: we need to read slowly. This is a major benefit of learning the original languages of the Bible: Reading in Greek or Hebrew forces us to slow down. Of course, this isn’t the only tool we have to help us read slowly.
As we read, we’ll find it very helpful to mark up the text. Perhaps you’ve used colored pencils to highlight key words and ideas in your paper Bible. The advantage, of course, it that it makes it easier to recognize themes in a passage. We can do the same thing with Logos, with some added benefits: Logos highlights and other documents are automatically saved, so you’ll never lose them. You can use them on your mobile device with the Logos Bible app, and they can be transferred to other versions of the Bible. And highlights can be hidden, when you want to focus on just the text.
Before we start marking up the text, I want to show you how you can quickly set up your workspace to get right into studying the Bible. New with Logos 7, we’ve designed QuickStart Layouts that are designed around specific tasks. From the Home Page, we can navigate to the Layouts. When we click on this menu, we see sections for Quickstart layouts, Home Page Layouts, and Saved Layouts. For now, let’s just look at the Quickstart Layouts.
Under QuickStart Layouts, there are a number of general options such as Bible and Commentary, Bible Journaling, Devotional and more technical options such as Greek and Hebrew Word Study, Lectionary Reading and more. If you’re looking for a quick way to get into the text to accomplish one of these tasks, this is the first place you should go.
For instance, Bible Journaling sounds like exactly what we’re looking for. Let’s click on this option to see what Logos opens. Once the layout loads, we see a menu of highlighters, a Bible, and a note file which is automatically saved with the title Bible Journaling. If we wanted to open the highlighting menu independent of the QuickStart Layout feature, simply go to the Tools menu and choose “Highlighting.” This is exactly what need to start marking up the text with our observations.
Now, we might want to customize this layout a bit. For instance, since we have already started a note file in the last lesson’s assignment, let’s close this file and open that one. I entitled mine, “Jonah 1:1–16 Notes.” It’s important to know that if we wanted to return to this exact layout from the Bible Journaling option in the QuickStart menu, we will need to update to this specific layout. Logos has designed these layouts to be tied to the note files they generate. So opening it again will open the note titled Bible Journaling and not our Jonah 1:1–16 note file. We can change this by returning to the Layouts menu scrolling over Bible Journaling, clicking on the drop down menu, and selecting “Replace with current layout.”
Now that we’ve set up our layout, let’s start marking up the text. To create a highlight, we can choose any of the default options listed. Each option gives us different styles we can use to markup the text. Each set of styles is gathered into a palette. Let’s look at the default palettes to see how we can highlight the text. In “Emphasis Markup” we see that we can underline text, place it in all caps, and add boxes around it. The “Highlighter Pens” show us that we can highlight with very natural looking highlighting styles. The “Inductive” palette uses the highlighting scheme from Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible study method. Notice how she highlights important, recurring words in the biblical text.
When we’re reading the Bible and we want to highlight something, like “toward Tarshish, from the presence of Yahweh,” we’ll select the portion of text we want to call attention to and select the highlighting style we want. For now, let’s use the red highlighter style.
Now click on the Documents menu, and notice that we have a new Notes document with the name “Highlighter Pens.” That’s because when we create a highlight, by default Logos stores that highlight to a Note file with the same name as the highlight palette. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the default, though. Let’s erase this highlight. Right click on the highlight and choose remove annotations, and we’ll set up some custom settings for our study of Jonah.
Logos gives us complete flexibility with where highlights are stored and even gives us the ability to create our own, custom highlighting palette.
Let’s click on “new palette” and give it the name “Observations.” When we hover over our new pallet, a small drop-down arrow appears on the right. After we click it, we’ll hover over the “Save in” option and choose “Jonah 1:1–16 Notes.” This will ensure that every portion of text we highlight will appear in our Jonah 1 Note file. Now, let’s add a few styles by clicking on the drop-down arrow again and choosing “Add a new style.” We’ll give the new style a name and edit how we want the highlight to appear in our text. We can choose the font, add a background (like a true highlight), choose text effects, and many other options.
Again, let’s use the red natural highlighter, and save the style. Now when we hover over our new style, Logos presents us with a new drop-down arrow. When we click on it, we can choose a shortcut key if we would like. This is really helpful if we are using the same highlighting style over and over again. Let’s go back to the phrase “toward Tarshish, from the presence of Yahweh”, and highlight it again in red, and this time the note has been added to our Jonah 1 Note file.
What to Look for
Let’s create highlighting styles for each of our investigative questions. Click on the dropdown arrow of the palette and choose “Add a New Style.” Give it the name “Who.” Expand “Insert Text” and in the Label text box under Text type “Who.” Check the box beside “Capsule” and click Save at the top. Now do the same for each of our remaining investigative questions, “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Now read through Jonah 1:1–16 and begin adding these labels to the text.
Along with the answers to the investigative questions, what else should we be looking for? Repetition of words, phrases, or ideas is a primary way that Old Testament authors communicated their message. While repetition—to the modern ear—may sound dull, monotonous, and unsophisticated, to the ancient audience it was a literary device that connected and highlighted significant elements within the narrative.
As we read through, we can create highlights for instances of repetition we notice. We’ve already highlighted “toward Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh” in the first part of verse three. If we continue reading, we’ll notice this phrase appears again at the end of the verse as if the author is trying to bring attention to Jonah’s disobedience. Let’s highlight this with our red highlighter.
We can also create a new highlighting style in our palette for each thing we notice. For instance, we might notice two phrases in Jonah 1:3 that indicate Jonah’s movement away from God. Jonah “went down to Joppa” and he “went on board” the ship. In English, these verbs are quite different, but let’s see what the Hebrew text says.
Even if you don’t know Hebrew, we can easily find out if the author of Jonah uses the same word to describe Jonah’s actions. To do this, click on the visual filters icon with the LEB resource panel. Enable the Corresponding Words section and then expand it. Now, let’s make sure that the only thing we have selected is “same lemma.” We’ll talk about this more in a later video, but for now just know that whenever we work with words in the original language, the easiest way is by lemma, which is the dictionary form of the word. Checking this option will ensure that when we select a word, Logos will highlight only the words that are the same in the original language. We’ll also make the filter only apply when we click on the word we want to investigate further.
Now, click on the word “down” in Jonah 1:3. Notice that Logos automatically highlights a second instance in verse 3, one in verse 5, and a final instance in chapter 2 verse 6. The narrator seems to be highlighting not only Jonah’s desire to physically flee from the Lord but also his spiritual descent into a Sheol-like prison.
Let’s create a special highlighting style for this repeated phrase.
Once we have finished looking through the text and marking it up, our Bible may look a little cluttered. That’s a good thing! But, there will be times when we simply want to read the biblical text—perhaps for our daily Bible reading or when we are reading the Bible with others. To turn off the highlights we just made, let’s go again to the Visual Filter menu. Remember, we set our highlights to save in our Jonah 1 Notes file, so we can toggle all of our markup on or off with that one check box. Now what we see is just the biblical text. We can just as easily turn our highlights back on.
Bible Text Only
We can make our Bible even cleaner for reading and studying. Let’s click on the Visual Filter menu and expand the menu item entitled “Resource.” We’ll also expand “Bible text only.” When we toggle “Bible text only” on and have no other boxes checked under it, we’ll only have the biblical text—no verse numbers, chapter numbers or footnotes. This is really helpful for us when we want to read the Bible as literature. Chapter and verse divisions were added many years after the original text was written and they are certainly not authoritative. For example, have you noticed that we have chosen to look at Jonah 1:1–16 and not the whole first chapter? Though the chapter division suggests that verse 17 is a part of the same thought unit, it most likely is not. In verse 17, the author introduces a new character, the fish, a new setting, the fish’s belly, all while the ship and its sailors fall away from the narrative. Without chapter and verse references, we might be more inclined to look for these details instead of relying on the work of others.
Deleting Note Files
As we finish up this lesson, let’s do a bit of maintenance. When we opened the Bible Journaling Layout and when we created our first highlight, Logos automatically generated new note files entitled Bible Journaling and Highlighter Pens, respectively. Since we aren’t using those for this course, let’s delete them so they don’t clutter up our work environment. If this isn’t your first time using Logos, please make sure you don’t already have important work stored within these files.
To delete a note file, go to the documents menu. Locate the file you want to delete and right click on it if you are using a PC and ctrl click if you’re on a Mac. Finally, choose delete. Deleting other files like Prayer lists and reading plans can be accomplished in the same way. Just locate them in the documents menu, right or ctrl click, and select delete.
Now it’s your turn:
• Read through Jonah 1:1–16 slowly at least three times and answer the investigative questions
• Additionally, create new highlighting styles for the important elements of the text, like repeated words or phrases, and markup the text
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to practice these foundational steps of study. In the next video, we’ll talk about how to organize your library and create your own layout.
The free Lexham Intro Collection contains the Lexham English Bible.
Starter includes the Corresponding Words feature.
Organize Your Library and Create Your Own Layout
Install Logos Bible Software for free >>
Good Bible study typically involves, at some point, reading books other than the Bible to access the insights of other Bible students. You need to know how to search and organize your Logos library so that the resources you need come easily to hand. We’ll show you how to prioritize resources so that your favorites come to the top of search results—like having a small stack of books on your desk for easy reference.
Step 1 (cont.): Read the Passage in Its Context Several Times
In this video, I’ll show you how to search your Logos library, prioritize resources, and customize how Logos displays your resources.
One of the benefits of owning a base package in Logos is the library that comes with the software. Though you can do Bible study with just the Bible and a pad of paper, quality resources take advantage of insight God has given the universal Church throughout the ages and around the globe. You’ll need to know how to access these resources to take full advantage of what you have in Logos.
Let’s start by searching our library. Let’s click on the Library button and open a pane with all of our resources. The more specific we can be in our search the better our results will be. For example, if we’re looking for everything written by Augustine in our library and type “Augustine” in the search box, we’ll get both the books written by Augustine and books that contain quotations from him. But, if we type “author:augustine” we get only his works. We can use many of the words in this top row to make our searches more specific and we can right-click on this row and see more categories. For instance, if we wanted to find every Bible dictionary we own, we can input, “type:encyclopedia” since “encyclopedia” is how Logos has labeled Bible dictionaries. We could also find all our commentaries by typing “type:commentary.” Let’s input “type:bible” to find all of our Bibles. We could add “AND language:English” to find just our English Bibles. Let’s open the [Lexham English Bible by clicking on its title.
Two of the most helpful resources in our library are the Faithlife Study Bible and the Lexham Bible Dictionary. To start off, let’s search for “title:Faithlife Study Bible.” If you know the abbreviation of a specific work, you can use that instead. In this case, it’s “fsb.”
Prioritize Resources and Shortcuts
Let’s do two things with this resource. Let’s prioritize it by clicking “Prioritize” in the upper right and dragging this resource over to the list. This will ensure that the Faithlife Study Bible is one of the first places Logos directs you to when you’re looking for information. If you haven’t already, also prioritize your preferred Bible at the top of the list . Then, let’s drag the Faithlife Study Bible to the shortcuts bar for future access.
Let’s also prioritize the Lexham Bible Dictionary and add it to our shortcut bar. Now open both resources next to our Bible. We can link the LEB to the Faithlife Study Bible by going to the Resource Panel menu and choosing “Linkset A” for both. Now, as we read through our text, the Faithlife Study Bible follows along. We can also link other resources to our Bible if they are divided by verses, like commentaries. Let’s scroll back up to Jonah 1:1. As we look at the contents in the Faithlife Study Bible, we see a number of links that contain extended sidebar discussions. Let’s click on “Introduction to Jonah” to gain an overview of the book, its contents, and its message.
Within this discussion, we discover some important information. “Jonah is the only narrative included in the books of the Minor Prophets. It tells the story of God commanding the prophet Jonah to preach in Nineveh, but Jonah decides to run the other way by boarding a ship. After God orchestrates a storm and a great fish swallows Jonah, he obeys God’s command. But when Nineveh—a major city of the Assyrian Empire and Israel’s enemy—repents after listening to Jonah, he is infuriated. The book’s lesson becomes clear in the end: God’s care extends to all who call on Him—even those who previously stood against His people. His mercy is truly for all.”
If we want to collect helpful quotes like this one, we can start a Clippings file. Let’s highlight the sentences above, right-click on them and choose, “Add a clipping.” We’ll give this Clippings file the name “Quotations for Jonah 1:1–16.” We can access our clippings later by going to the Documents menu.
Next, double click on “Nineveh” in the Bible. Logos opens the Lexham Bible Dictionary to an article on Nineveh because you prioritized the Lexham Bible Dictionary. In this article we read, “The Bible frames Nineveh as a thoroughly evil city and an enemy of Israel. The book of Jonah describes Nineveh, its inhabitants, and its king as so evil that Yahweh threatens to completely destroy them if they do not repent. The Israelite prophet, Jonah, despises Nineveh and is disappointed when the people repent and Yahweh spares them.” This is helpful background for Jonah’s unprecedented flight from the Lord. Let’s add this quotation to our Clippings document.
With this layout, you’ve essentially created a study Bible. In the last lesson, we learned about using the QuickStart Layouts and customizing existing Layouts. But there is also the option to create our own original layout. So let’s navigate to the layouts and save our study Bible as an original layout. On the right hand side of the menu, we have the option of saving this layout as a named layout. Let’s select this and give it the title “Study Bible.” We can now come back to this Study Bible anytime we like.
Here are your assignments:
• Read through Jonah 1:1–16 three times
• Use the library type search to find your favorite Bibles, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and lexicons and prioritize them in groups (first your top 5 Bibles, then your top 5 commentaries, etc.)
• Add a shortcut for your favorite Bible
• Create a layout with your favorite Bible beside your favorite commentary and link them together
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to practice these foundational steps of Bible study. In the next video, we’ll talk about how to identify the important themes in our passage.
The free Lexham Intro Collection includes:
• Lexham English Bible
• Faithlife Study Bible
• Lexham Bible Dictionary
Identify and Research the Main Themes
Learn more about Logos 7 >>
Using Logos can be as easy as typing a topic into the “Go” box and hitting enter. Let’s see what happens when we study “rebellion” in the Bible that way.
Step 2: Identify Important Themes in the Passage and Connect Them to the Broad Themes of the Bible
Hi, and welcome back. The second step in the observation stage is to identify the important themes in the passage we are studying and connect those to the broad themes of the Bible. There are multiple ways of choosing what to study, but most people start with either a topic or a passage. In this video series we are assuming that we already have a passage in mind to study, Jonah 1:1–16, but that is not always the case.
Let’s imagine that we want to study what rebellion looks like in the Bible. We know that the Bible says a lot about rebellion and that Jonah, a prophet of God, openly rebels against God’s commands. But what if we don’t know where to find information about rebellion? We could look in the concordance of your print Bible, but the information there isn’t prioritized and it’s limited. We could do a search on the Internet, but you aren’t guaranteed quality results. Our best bet is to check a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia for the topic. Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias include short articles that cover biblical topics, people, events, and objects. They also often include Scriptural references that are connected to the topic we are studying. So, as we study a passage of the Bible, we should identify the major themes in it and then look for those themes in a Bible dictionary.
Logos makes this essential step easier.
Go box—Entering a Topic
The Go box is one of the fastest ways to access information on a topic or passage. Our software opens to the Home page by default and the Go box is in the upper left of the Home page.
Let’s type “rebellion” into the Go box and press Enter. When we search for a word in the Go box, Logos opens to a reference that particularly encapsulates that topic, some dictionaries discussing that keyword, and three reports. The Topic Guide gives you information that helps you understand a topic. If your Topic relates to a biblical theme, the Sermon Starter Guide provides you with resources that will help you to apply and communicate the message. And if you’re studying a specific word, the Bible Word Study guide analyzes that word 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 using the Guides menu.
When we ran the Go box for “rebellion,” Logos opened the Bible to the Deuteronomy 9:23–24, where God reminds Israel of her rebellion, her refusal to enter the land he promised her, and her punishment on account of her unwillingness to obey. Logos has also opened informative articles from Bible dictionaries as well as several reports on the topic of revolt and rebellion. It would have taken a significant amount of time to accumulate this information and prepare it for analysis if we were searching through physical books.
Your results may differ from what you see on the screen depending on your library and on what resources you have prioritized.
Let’s look at the Dictionary of Bible Themes. It says that rebellion is, “A state of revolt against established divine or human authority. Scripture condemns rebellion against God and indicates the futility of Israel’s frequent rebellions against him.” It will be interesting to see how this concept plays out in the book of Jonah. Though he flees from God, God has power over land and sea and rebukes Jonah with a storm that eventually drives him back to land and back to the task set before him.
Let’s look at one more dictionary. In the Lexham Theological Wordbook the entry for “Rebelliousness” says, “Rebellion encompasses the political and the religious life of Israel. In the OT, rebellion involves defiant acts and attitudes toward royal figures and God.” Now let’s scroll down a bit to the theological overview. Here we will discover significant insight into how God deals with rebellion which is essential for our interpretation of the book of Jonah.
“Rebelliousness primarily relates to sin and obedience as a theological concept in the Bible, though it also involves political and personal relationships. The OT repeatedly underlines how it is difficult for Israel to keep the commandments and not follow after other gods. Indeed, the OT often states that Israel has been in rebellion against God since its beginning (e.g., Pss 78:8, 17, 40; 106:7, 43; Neh 9:26). Israel’s collective rebellion against God represents its transgression of the covenant relationship between God and his people. According to the OT, God remains faithful to his covenant with his people by not ignoring Israel’s rebellion against him. He promises punishment for those who do not repent and turn to him (e.g., Psa 37:38; Isa 1:28; Dan 8:23), yet in his mercy he extends forgiveness to those who turn from their rebellious ways (e.g., Jer 3:13; 33:8; Hos 7:13; Zeph 3:11).”
This information sheds light on the nature of rebellion and God’s response to it. While this is a norm for how God operates, we will also see how the author of Jonah explores this concept. Take notice while you read through the entire book of how God deals with Jonah, the sailors, and the Ninevites within the story. Who are these people? What have they done or failed to do? What response should they expect from God? Does God respond according to their expectations, or ours?
Now let’s add these quotations to the Clippings document we started early. Also included in our results is a list of related verses. This section of the topic guide points us to other relevant passages where our topic of study is discussed in Scripture.
To get back to the Home screen with the Go box, we simply click the Home screen button.
Here are your assignments:
• Continue reading through the Bible dictionary articles and add at least five more clippings to your clipping file on rebellion
• Read through the related verses and add observations to your Note file on Jonah 1
• Use the Go box to find information on another important theme or person you have observed in Jonah 1:1–16
Nice work so far! See you in the next session when we look further into the biblical theme of rebellion.
• Dictionary of Bible Themes (also included in Starter)
• Lexham Theological Wordbook (also included in Silver)
Broaden Your Knowledge about Biblical Themes
Learn more about Logos 7 >>
It’s not just words and sentences and stories that you need to observe while you read the Bible, but topics and themes. Those themes operate at broad and narrow levels; we’ll look at how to identify themes in Jonah 1 and how to use them to create a sermon document.
Step 2 (cont.): Identify Important Themes in the Passage and Connect Them to the Broad Themes of the Bible
One of the many reasons for reading slowly through the passage we are studying is to identify the major themes in the passage. As you’ve read through it several times already, I hope you’ve been able to identify the major themes in Jonah 1 and made notes about those themes. But how do we find extensive information related to the main topic we are studying? 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.
In the last video, we used the Go box to access information on the subject of rebellion. We discovered that Logos automatically opens a Bible, multiple dictionaries, the Topic Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, and the Bible Word Study Guide. We’ll come back to the Bible Word Study Guide in another video. For now, let’s focus on the key elements of the Topic Guide and the Sermon Starter 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 rebellion and helpful commentaries with practical application. The passages section expands the related verses section with “Pericopes.” This is where we get a look at what the entire Bible has to say on a topic.
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 “Rebellion, against God.” Here we find a synopsis of this outline: “Disobedience” Within this outline there are headings with supporting verses entitled: “disobedience enters people’s hearts for various reasons,” “unbelief is disobedience,” “lack of love is disobedience,” and “disobedience to God leads to punishment.” A number of these headings can be organizing thoughts for our understanding of Jonah. Does Jonah’s disobedience stem from greed, lust, impatience, fear, pride, or arrogance? In Jonah 4:2 we read, “And he prayed to Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh, was this not what I said while I was in my homeland? Therefore I originally fled to Tarshish, because I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and having great steadfast love, and one who relents concerning calamity.”
It seems as if Jonah harbors a bit of pride and arrogance. He knew that God would forgive the Ninevites but didn’t think they were deserving of this forgiveness. Perhaps, as some commentators suggest, this is because he was afraid that the Ninevites would destroy Israel. After all, this is exactly what happens in Israel’s history.
Despite Jonah’s reasons for disobedience and whether or not we may think they are justified, we also find that disobedience leads to punishment. Under the subheading “punishment is applied to individuals,” we find a reference to Jonah 1:10–12 where Jonah tells the sailors that their misfortune has come upon them because of his disobedience and that they can stay God’s wrath by casting him into the sea. Here we discover that God will not let his people openly rebel against him without inviting his rebuke.
Within this same heading, we also find two other important concepts: nations are punished and disobedience, like all sin, can be forgiven. Both concepts are precisely what we find in Jonah. In Jonah 3:4 Jonah pronounces a judgment against the entire city of Nineveh, warning them of their pending destruction by God’s hand in 40 days. But that’s not the end of the story. Jonah 3:10 concludes this chapter with, “And God saw their deeds—that they turned from their evil ways—and God changed his mind about the evil that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.”
Jonah experiences this same grace and forgiveness in chapter 2 where he is delivered by the great fish. Yet, as we will discover in our reading, his rebellion continues into chapter 4:3 where we find him complaining that God has delivered the Ninevites saying, “And so then, Yahweh, please take my life from me, because for me death is better than life!” Despite Jonah’s continued rebellion against God, the question at the end of the book in verses 10–11 holds out the promise of forgiveness and grace to Jonah if he is able to understand that grace and forgiveness is available to all those to whom God chooses to grant it. God says to Jonah:
“You are troubled about the plant, for which you did not labor or cause it to grow. It grew up in a night and it perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know right from left, plus many animals?”
Starting a New Sermon Document
If this looks like an outline that you would like to preach or teach from, you can automatically copy it into a sermon document. Simply scroll to the top of the Thematic Outlines section, and select the copy to option. From here, select the sermon option. Now scroll over to the right of the “Disobedience” heading and click on copy.
Logos creates a new sermon document with this outline so we can start adding notes, slides, and discussion questions for a sermon or discussion about rebellion in the human heart. In later videos, we’ll learn more about how to use this powerful sermon editor to streamline sermon, sunday school, or teaching preparation.
With the Topic Guide and the Sermon Starter Guide we have access to a wealth of knowledge about our selected topic of interest. Especially helpful are the Thematic Outlines.
Here are your assignments:
• Explore the Factbook links under the theme section of the Sermon Starter Guide and add the insights you find to your Note file on Jonah 1
• Explore this thematic outline, combing through the references in each section, relating them to the story of Jonah where possible, and recording your findings in your Note file
See you in the next video when we move on to the next step in our Bible study method, comparing differences in translations.
Bronze includes these features:
• Sermon Starter Guide
• Sermon Editor
Explore the Differences between Translations
Learn more about Logos 7 >>
Comparing English Bible translations is an extremely helpful part of the observation process—especially if you have an app on your computer doing all the page-flipping for you. We’ll learn various ways of comparing Bible texts in Logos, and we’ll use the information panel to access information about the language Jonah was originally written in, namely Hebrew.
Step 3: Compare English Translations
In this video we are going to look at the interaction and textual differences between Bible translations.
Translations can be considered a very basic form of commentary. Because 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 is no such thing as a word-for-word translation. If you speak more than one language, you know that it is impossible to translate a long string of text word-for-word. Some words have no single English equivalent, while others might have multiple possibilities, and the translator has to choose the one that seems to best convey the meaning in that context. That fact shouldn’t shake our confidence in the translations of the Bible we have, because the level of commentary that translators make is small. But it’s because the differences are small that makes comparing translations really helpful. Finding differences can reveal nuance in the original language, which in turn can affect our understanding of the passage. 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
Remember how we can type a topic or passage into the Go box to start our search? When we type “Jonah 1” into the Go box, a list of suggested topics appears. Let’s choose “Jonah Disobeys Yahweh.” 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.
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 our library, like commentaries and dictionaries. When we type a Scripture reference in the Go box, Logos also opens multiple translations in tabs behind the LEB, 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 right clicking on the resource panel menu and selecting “Open in a Floating Window.” 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 icon the differences between the main version on the left and the versions to the right are indicated in two ways: Logos displays a red circle where there are omissions and blue text where there are additions in the texts that are compared to the base text on the left. When we click on the marked through “A,” Logos adds the main translation differences to the other translations with slashes 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. We can also click to open the settings for the Text Comparison tool to customize it to our needs. For instance, let’s make sure the tool doesn’t register differences in capitalization or punctuation. When we look through the differences highlighted in the NASB and the NIV we see that the translations vary in what Jonah is commanded to do: call out, cry against, or preach against Nineveh. This differences alert us to what may be an important point to study.
We can find out more information about this word by clicking on it in our main screen and looking at the information panel. The information panel is full of information that changes as we click on different words.
Let’s click on “cry out.” When we scroll down to “Word Info” in the Information panel, we see that the Hebrew word is qara’. Now, let’s jump ahead to verse six in the ESV where the captain of the ship commands Jonah to “call on your God.” Once again we’ll click on the word “call on,” navigate to the Word Info section of the Information Panel, and discover that the Hebrew word is the same. We have found that the verb is the same for the command God gives Jonah and the command the captain of the ship gives Jonah.
But when we go back to the text comparison tool, we find something interesting. While the ESV consistently translates the Hebrew word qara’ as “call out” in verses two and six, the LEB, NASB and NIV opt for variation. In the LEB and NASB, we find some variation of “cry against” Nineveh and that the captain commands Jonah to “call on” his God. The NIV provides an even more nuanced and contextual translation with “preach against it” and “call on your God.” While the NASB and the NIV provide readers with more nuanced translations that take into account Jonah’s role and the function of his message, the ESV preserves the original author’s use of lexical repetition.
The author’s use of repetition here serves multiple purposes. It reminds both Jonah and the reader of the fact that Jonah has abandoned his mission to proclaim God’s word to the Ninevites. It also functions as an ironic comparison between the unnamed pagan captain and Jonah: while Jonah, the prophet should be instructing others in religious matters, it is the captain that tells Jonah he should be praying for his own and the crew’s deliverance. This, we would think, is Jonah’s job. Instead, his pagan shipmates outdo his religious piety, even if it is misguided.
Let’s add a note about this by right-clicking any word in verse 6, selecting the reference, and selecting “Jonah 1:1–16 Notes.” Then 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, and I hope you’re having fun with this. In the next session, we’ll begin to discover why context is so important to understanding our passage.
Starter includes these features:
• Text Comparison with 10 English Bible translations
• Information Panel
Explore the Literary Context
Find a Logos 7 Base Package that’s right for you.
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In today’s lesson we’ll use Logos to collect basic facts about Jonah 1:1–16. The software uses various guides—including the Bible Book Guide, the Passage Guide, and the Exegetical Guide—to conveniently collect information from your library on whatever passage you’re studying. Find out how.
Step 4: Explore the Passage’s Literary and Intertextual Context
Step 4 in our Bible study method starts our exploration into the context of the passage we are studying. There are four contexts we need to be sensitive to when we study the Bible: the literary context, the intertextual context, the historical context, and the cultural context. Our fourth step is to explore the first two: the literary context and the intertextual context of the passage. We’ll talk about the literary context in this video and the intertextual context in the following videos.
The literary context involves two main areas of exploration: genre and the surrounding context. In order to interpret a passage in the Bible correctly, we must determine the genre of our passage. Law, for example, as in Leviticus, is interpreted differently than poetry, as in the Psalms. Narrative, like Judges, is approached differently than epistolary writings, like Romans.
Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck explains the different categories of genre in the Bible. Zuck defines genre in this way:
“Literary genre” refers to the category or the kind of writing characterized by a particular form(s) and/or content. Distinguishing the various genres (kinds of literature) in Scripture helps us interpret the Bible more accurately. “We do this with all kinds of literature. We distinguish between lyric poetry and legal briefs, between newspaper accounts of current events and epic poems. We distinguish between the style of historical narratives and sermons.”
After defining genre, Zuck provides a helpful list and summary of the different types of literary genres within the Bible: legal, narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, Gospels, logical discourse, and prophetic literature.
Under the literary genre of narrative, we find a description of satire where Zuck uses Jonah as a prime example. He writes,
A satirical narrative is an exposure of human vice or folly through ridicule or rebuke. The Book of Jonah is a satire because Jonah, as a representative of Israel, is ridiculed for his refusal to accept God’s universal love. Ironically he was more concerned about a plant than he was about the pagans in Nineveh. Also it is ironic that God had compassion on Jonah, though the prophet did not have compassion on the Ninevites. Many readers of the Book of Jonah have noted that it ends in an abrupt way with the problem of the prophet’s anger seemingly unresolved. The reason for this is that this is often the way a satire concludes. Jonah’s humiliation is an appropriate ending for a satire, and the Israelites would be challenged to see themselves and their own attitude toward pagan nations in Jonah’s attitude. (The fact that the Book of Jonah is written as a satire in no way nullifies the book’s historicity.)
Factbook—Bible Book Guides
If we want further confirmation of Jonah’s literary genre, the Factbook’s Bible book guides are the best place to get this information. We won’t be able to use the Go box or the context menu to get to them, but if we can remember they exist in the Factbook, we’ll be able to access them easily. In the Tools menu, select “Factbook.” To help us remember to check the Factbook in our study, let’s add the Factbook to our shortcuts bar by dragging it beside the Command box. Now, let’s type Jonah into the search box. The resulting report takes information from the introductory portions of our commentaries and organizes it into distinct sections. We will look at the other sections in this report in a future video, so let’s concentrate on the form section.
Notice under “Style,” the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary has an entire section titled “Literary Character.” In his analysis of Jonah’s genre, Jonathan Magonet observes that it is mostly narrative with heightened, or poetic language within the second chapter. He continues to provide insight into the various literary aspects of the story such as the presence of repetition throughout, the use of OT quotations, and ironic inversion. This last section is of particular interest for us:
There is one major narrative device that runs throughout the book. We noted above that when God tells Jonah to ‘arise’ and ‘go,’ our conditioning as readers of the Bible is to anticipate an obedient response—but our expectations are subverted when Jonah indeed arises, but to go in the opposite direction. The ‘hero,’ with whom we would expect to identify, acts in an inexcusable way. Conversely, in the same general way, the sailors, and more shockingly the ‘evil’ Ninevites, behave in exemplary fashion: the former trying to save Jonah and displaying piety and integrity; the latter, in the person of the king, taking the mechanical responses of fasting and sackcloth into the higher dimension of turning away from evil and violence. In short the author reverses the conventions of biblical narrative in terms of the encounter between a prophet and the people, and between Israel and the outside world.
Let’s add this to our Clippings document.
I would also encourage you to read the rest of this section to gain further insight into other ironic reversals throughout the book, such as the prayers in Jonah 2 and Jonah 4.
The second area of literary context is the surrounding context. Context determines meaning, both at the word level and at the sentence and paragraph level. Therefore, spending time studying how our passage fits in the overall story or argument of the book is essential. The first way to do this is reading the entire book in which your passage appears several times. Another way to get the overall argument or flow of the book is to read a summary in an Old Testament or New Testament Introduction. Paul Reddit includes an entire section dedicated to the structure, integrity, and authorship of the book of Jonah in his work Introduction to the Prophets.
Let’s conclude this lesson by quickly surveying the Passage and Exegetical Guides. They should already be open from when you typed Jonah 1:1–16 into the Go box. If not, you can also access them by using the Guides menu at the top.
The Passage Guide is a report full of information about the context, background, structure, and key elements of a passage. The Commentaries section links directly to every commentary that discusses our passage. The Cross References section directs us to other passages in the Bible that scholars believe are connected in some way. The Ancient Literature section tells us where the passage is cited or alluded to in surrounding literature like Judaica and the Church Fathers. The Systematic and Biblical Theologies section points us to everywhere our systematic or biblical theological resources cite the text we’re investigating, and the Cultural Concepts section alerts us to relevant differences between our culture and the culture of the original audience. Biblical Places, People, Things, and Events connect us to important details that help us observe the text. The media sections alert us to stunning artwork, detailed timelines, beautiful quotation slides, valuable video content, and extraordinary artwork and photography.
Now, let’s look at the Exegetical Guide. The Exegetical Guide is the more text-focused of the two. It includes sections on textual variants that highlight the differences between biblical manuscripts, grammars that point to key elements in the original languages, grammatical constructions that point to certain grammatical points of interest, visualizations that organize the text for us, links to interactives that display information in unique and helpful ways, and a Word by Word section that gives detailed information about each word in the original language, complete with definitions, pronunciation, parsing, and links to Bible Word Studies.
As you can see, Logos has done hours of research for you and arranged the results for more efficient study.
Here are your assignments:
• Find a commentary on Jonah in your library that talks about genre, read the section on genre, and add your findings to the Clippings document
• Continue to explore the Factbook’s Bible book guide on Jonah (especially the form section) and add three insights you find to the Clippings document
• Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the sections in the Passage and Exegetical Guides
If any of this seems technical or intimidating, don’t be discouraged. The next few videos will shed more light on how context can help uncover the meaning in a passage. If you need help, please contact the Pro team in the Faithlife group at faithlife.com/studyjonah.
• Basic Bible Interpretation (also included in Starter)
• Introduction to the Prophets (also included in Starter)
• Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (also included in Gold)
Explore the Intertextual Context: Parallel Passages
Find a Logos 7 Base Package that’s right for you.
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Every passage of the Bible has not just a textual context—things that happen before and after the passage—but an intertextual and literary ones. Today we’ll look at the intertextual context, which only means the ways various parts of the Bible combine to help us understand Jonah 1. We’ll also automatically look up helpful insights in commentaries and check into the Hebrew and even the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.
Step 4 (cont.): Explore the Passage’s Literary and Intertextual Context
Welcome back! In the last video, we investigated the literary context of Jonah 1:1–16. This video will begin our look at the intertextual context. While studying the literary context we looked at the genre of the passage and the immediate context surrounding the passage we are studying. The intertextual context includes passages in the rest of Scripture that are somehow related. The strongest connections for our study are passages quoted or alluded to within our passage—and the Cross References section of the Passage Guide is an excellent place to start.
Cross References Section of the Passage Guide
Let’s go back to the Passage Guide, which should already be open from when you typed the passage into the Go box. To narrow the range of the Passage Guide, just type Jonah 1:2 in the reference box, and hit return. If the Passage Guide isn’t already open, highlight Jonah 1:2 and right-click in the highlighted section. Select the Jonah 1:2 reference and then select Passage Guide on the left. The Cross References section of the Passage Guide is extremely helpful for any text, and it will prove particularly helpful for our study of Jonah 1:1–16.
We now have a manageable list of cross references that we can investigate. First, let’s look at Genesis 10:11.
Within Genesis 10:11, we find the Bible’s first reference to Nineveh. Let’s click on the verse reference to see what happens in verses 8–9. The text reads, “And Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty warrior. He was a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Therefore it was said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Yahweh.’”
The next reference in this list jumps forward significantly in the biblical historical timeline and describes events that happen after the Jonah narrative. Nahum 1:1 begins with the statement that the book is an oracle concerning Nineveh. Since Nahum is a book within the Minor Prophets and since it contains an oracle concerning Nineveh, it would be good to open this reference and get an idea of its contents.
The Lexham English Bible provides us with the heading, “Half-Acrostic: Yahweh Takes Vengeance against His Enemies.” And in verses 2–3, we read “Yahweh is a jealous God and avenging; Yahweh is avenging and full of wrath. Yahweh takes vengeance against his enemies; he rages against his adversaries. Yahweh is slow to anger but great in power; and Yahweh will certainly not allow the guilty to go unpunished.”
Now that we have discovered the oracle against the Ninevites, let’s see if we can locate the cause of their offense. There is another cross reference to the book of Nahum in the Cross References section. Let’s click on Nahum 2:8. Here God mocks Nineveh because he has taken away their plundered gold and spoils and made them weak and cowardly. As we scroll down to chapter three, we see an intriguing heading: “The Doom of the Wicked City is Certain.” “Woe to the city that has shed much blood. She is a deceiver, She is filled with plunder, She has hoarded her spoils of war. The crack of the whip! The rumbling of the chariot wheel! The galloping of the horse! The racing of the chariot! Chariots charge! Swords flash! Spears glitter! Many corpses are piled high! There is no end to the slain! They stumble over their dead!”
Within Nahum, we discover the cause of Nineveh’s offense against the Lord and the reason he has sent Jonah with a message to proclaim against it.
Now let’s take one more look at the Cross References Section to see if there are any other references of interest to us. When we hover over Genesis 18:20, Logos gives us a preview of the verse which says, “Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very serious.” Let’s click on the verse to get a broader context. The next verse says, “I will go down and I will see. Have they done altogether according to its cry of distress which has come to me? If not, I will know.”
There are a few aspects of this citation that seem like they might be similar to Jonah 1:2. For instance, in Genesis 18:20 and Jonah 1:2 God takes notice of a foreign city’s great sin, and in both Genesis 18:21 and Jonah 1:2 this sin has “come up” to God.
Commentaries Section of the Passage Guide
Within the Passage Guide, we have a commentary section that lists each commentary on Jonah within our library that has a discussion of this verse. Instead of going to our physical library, locating each commentary, and flipping to the appropriate pages, Logos has them queued up for us. So when we click on T. Desmond Alexander’s Tyndale Bible Commentary on Jonah, it opens up to his discussion of Jonah 1:2. Within the commentary, we find a discussion about this specific issue:
Its wickedness has come up before me. Some scholars see a connection here with Genesis 18:20–21, and suggest that the author of Jonah draws upon the account of the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18–19). Allen comments, “Jonah’s role is that of the divine messengers sent to announce the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19:1, 15). This rather than any previous prophetic experience is the precedent for Jonah’s mission.” This link, however, is extremely tenuous. The roles performed by Jonah and the divine messengers are not identical.
At the end of the quotation, is a footnote. Hovering over footnote 6, we find an explanation from Alexander that “the correspondence between the Hebrew text of Gen. 18:20–21 and Jon. 1:2 is not as close as some English translations may suggest.”
Because I’m a bit stubborn, I’m not willing to give up quite yet on a connection between Jonah 1:2 and Genesis 18:20–21. After all, Alexander notes that some scholars—not just the scholar he cites—makes this connection. So let’s do a bit more investigative work.
Comparing Verses from Different Books of the Bible Using the Passage List Visual Filter
In order to efficiently and effectively compare these two texts, let’s begin by making a Passage List. To do this, go to the Documents menu and select Passage List. This will create a new Passage List Document that we can title “Nineveh, Sodom, and Gomorrah.” Now, we’ll add Genesis 18:20–21 and Jonah 1:2 to this list. Logos automatically inserts the texts for comparison. However, we still can’t investigate Alexander’s charge that while the English texts suggest a close correspondence, the original Hebrew does not. But that’s okay.
Since we’ve created a Passage List, we can use Logos 7’s new Passage List visual filter feature to filter our Bible down to just these passages and interact with the text. In the Lexham English Bible, click on the visual filters icon, scroll to the bottom, and make sure the Passage List visual filter is enabled. Finally, click on the passage list that we’ve titled. “Nineveh, Sodom, and Gomorrah.”
Analyzing the Original Languages with the In-line Interlinear
Now that we’ve filtered our Bible down to just these verses, we can use all the features Logos affords to explore the original language of these passages—even if we don’t know how to read Biblical Hebrew.
First, let’s expose the original Hebrew text by using the Logos in-line interlinear. Click on the in-line interlinear icon, enable it, and then make sure that only the surface (or translated text) and the transliterated text are enabled. The transliterated text replaces the Hebrew letters with English characters for those of us that don’t know Hebrew. Lastly, let’s move this window to the other side of the screen so we can see the verses together.
Now that we’ve set up our layout, we can see just how different the original Hebrew really is. Notice that the word for “sin” in Genesis 18:20 is entirely different from the word for “evil” in Jonah 1:2. Since we have the Corresponding Words visual filter enabled from an earlier lesson, we can click on “sin” to confirm this. When we do, nothing lights up in Jonah 1:2. The same is true of the word “come.” Even though the English translates the Hebrew hǎ bāʹ·ʾā(h) with the same word as it does ʿǒl·ṯā(h)ʹ, these are different words in the original language. It would seem as if Alexander is correct.
Investigating the Septuagint Translation Using the Multiview Resource Feature
There is, however, one last thing I would like to do in this lesson because—as I mentioned before—I’m pretty stubborn. As we mentioned in Lesson 6, translation is a basic form of commentary. Subtleties reveal how the translator might have understood his or her text. So, let’s see if the earliest translations of the Hebrew scriptures, the so-called Septuagint, made a connection between these two passages.
The Septuagint was the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, a couple hundred years before the time of Christ.
Because we want to use the same settings that we’ve created for the Lexham English Bible without setting them up again, we can use the multiple resources view. Simply click on the three parallel lines and type Lexham English Septuagint (or LES for short) in the resource bar. Then select this resource.
When we look at the Septuagint translation of Jonah 1:2, we discover a few differences. Instead of saying, “because their evil has come up before me,” the translation reads “that the outcry of its evil has come up to me.” “Outcry” was nowhere in the Hebrew text, but the translator changes the syntax of the passage in order to include it. And when we click on the word “outcry” in Jonah 1:2, notice that Logos highlights the same word in Genesis 18:20 and 21. In verse 20, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah has multiplied.” Furthermore, the prepositional phrase “to me” in Genesis 18:21 and “before me” in Jonah 1:2 is translated in the Septuagint exactly the same with pros me, “to me.”
It seems quite clear that the translator has seen the same conceptual connection between these passages and has chosen to strengthen that connection. By doing this, I would argue that Jonah doesn’t fulfill the role of the messengers that deliver the message of doom, as Leslie Allen argues, and which Alexander argues is a faulty parallel. Instead, I believe that the translator intends for us to contrast Abraham’s compassionate petition to God, namely, to deliver the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, with Jonah’s complacency and rebellion. While Abraham intercedes for deliverance, Jonah hopes for destruction.
Here are your assignments:
• Use either the cross references in your Bible or the Parallel Passages section in the Passage Guide to find out what other passages are related to Jonah 1:2 and read them in their context to see if they shed more light the biblical history of Nineveh and Israel.
• Look at the other passages that are connected to Jonah 1:2 and record your observations in the Note file
You’re doing great! In the next video, we’ll do the exciting work of showing how themes in this passage connect with other texts in the Bible.
• Tyndale Commentary on Jonah (also included in Silver)
• Lexham English Septuagint (also included in Silver)
Starter includes these features:
• Cross Passage section of the Passage Guide
• Passage List Visual Filter
• Reverse Interlinear Bibles
• Multiview Resource Panel
Explore the Intertextual Context: Intertestamental Connections
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The New Testament refers to Jonah several times, and if the entire Bible is God’s word, then finding out what it says about this ancient book is an essential interpretive task. In this lesson we’ll discover biblical allusions to Jonah with the New Testament Use of the Old Testament Interactive.
Step 4 (cont.): Explore the Passage’s Literary and Intertextual Context
Have you ever used a commentary to help you interpret the meaning of a biblical passage? Most of us have. When interpreting an OT passage we need to start by exploring what the divine commentary of the NT has to say regarding its meaning.
The NT helps shed light not only on the original meaning of a passage but also the extended or fulfilled meaning of a passage. Take for example, Matthew 2:15, where the author tells us that Jesus’ flight to Egypt fulfilled the word of Hosea 11:1 “Out of Egypt I called my Son.” In it’s OT context, Hosea is clearly pointing back to the historical event of the Exodus; however, Matthew shows us that these words also pointed forward to a great exodus brought through Jesus, the true Son of God.
New Testament Use of the Old Testament Interactive
Now, turning back to Jonah, let’s take a minute a see if the words of Jonah appear in the NT and if so, how does the NT shed light on their meaning.
To discover places where the NT quotes or alludes to the book of Jonah, let’s open the New Testament Use of the Old Testament Interactive by going to the tools menu. We’ll find this interactive in the options to the right. From here, let’s right-click on it to open it in a floating window.
This interactive tool allows us to see how New Testament writers used the Old Testament. We can track down these citations, quotations, and allusions then display both Old Testament and New Testament passages in multiple versions for quick comparison.
When the interactive appears you’ll first notice faceted search options to the left. The faceted search options make it easy to find quotes and allusions even if you’re not exactly sure where they are. Let’s use them to find quotes and allusions from Jonah. Notice from the options to the left that we can sort first by type, then by NT reference or by Book source. Browsing by book source let’s us choose which OT book we want to see quotes and allusions from. To scroll through all the options, select more and then locate and select Jonah.
The NT Use of the OT interactive provides us with seven occurrences in Jonah: six allusions and one echo. As we scan the list, we find that Matthew 12:40–41 alludes to three passages in Jonah: Jonah 1:17, 3:5, and 3:8; Luke 11:32 alludes to both Jonah 3:8 and 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:4 alludes to Jonah 1:17; and James 5:11 is an echo of Jonah 4:2. Since the Matthew passage seems to be the most sustained allusion to various passages in Jonah, let’s put our focus there. First, we’ll take a closer look at Matthew 12:40. As we compare Matthew 12:40 and Jonah 1:17, it becomes obvious why Logos classifies this as an allusion. The intentional borrowing of the phrase “three days and three nights” clearly connects the experience of Jonah to a prediction about Jesus’ death and resurrection.
To go one step further, we can adjust the translation of both texts by selecting the version from the drop down at the top. Or to view these texts in the original languages, select this option just to the right. This action calls up the original Greek NT text as well as the Greek and Hebrew text of Jonah 1:17. Now, we can select individual words in one version and see the parallel terms in the other versions. Notice as I select the term “three” in the Hebrew text, Logos reveals the Greek translation as well as the English.
The connection between Matthew 12:41 and Jonah 3:5 and 3:8 is a bit different than the allusion we looked at previously. Instead of borrowing a phrase, Matthew has summarized the events that took place in Nineveh and applied them to his present context. Notice how Matthew describes the Ninevites’ proclamation of a fast, putting on of sackcloth, calling upon God, and turning from their evil ways; all actions that indicate repentance. For Matthew, the repentance of this evil city functions as a condemnation of the disbelief of Jesus’ generation and their request for a sign.
Exploring the New Testament Context of Matthew 12:38–42
Now that we have taken a look at the basis of these allusions, let’s investigate this passage in greater depth by first selecting the NT link within the interactive. When we select this link, Logos opens this passage in our preferred bible, revealing is larger context.
Beginning in verse 38, Jesus rebukes his listeners for demanding a sign that unambiguously proves he is the Messiah. Though he has previously worked several miracles, his audience persists in disbelief. Instead of offering them such a sign, Jesus says in verse 40 that the only sign they will receive is the one from the prophet Jonah, which as we learn later is the sign of the resurrection.
Let’s see if there is anything else we can glean about this connection by opening up D. A. Carson’s Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Let’s go to our library and type title:“commentary on the new testament use of the old testament” and click to open it.
When it opens, we find a discussion on Matthew 12:40 that analyzes the New Testament Context, the Old Testament Context, the Use in Jewish Sources, the Textual Background, the Hermeneutic Employed, and its Theological Use. I’d encourage you to read this entire article on your own and take notes along the way.
For now, though, let’s look at the Hermeneutic Employed. The author contends that there is no introductory formula used to indicate it is a scriptural quotation but is instead a simple analogy. The purpose of this analogy is to employ an argument from the lesser to the greater. The commentary says,
In the immediate context, the comparisons with the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba (12:41–42) suggest that the logic employed is “from the lesser to the greater.” This logic may extend to the fact that the Ninevites repented without having witnessed the sign of Jonah’s “death and resurrection”; how much more, then, ought Jesus’ audience to repent, given the miracles that they have already witnessed.
The Relationship between Jonah and Matthew
Returning to the story of Jonah, we have a better understanding of the significance of the Ninevites’ repentance. As we learned in Lesson 8, the Ninevites were an evil nation that was hated by Israel, their enemies. The unexpected and unprecedented repentance of the entire city at the few words pronounced by Jonah in 3:4 serves many purposes. It is a testament to God’s grace and mercy, his forgiveness of even the worst of sinners. But it also functions as an exhortation to Jonah’s and Israel’s rebellion against their God. If Nineveh heeded God’s words without a sign, why haven’t God’s prophet and God’s people? This question remains even in Jesus’ day. If Nineveh repented without a sign, how much greater are Jesus’ opponents obligated to repent after seeing countless signs, and then ultimately the resurrection?
Here are your assignments:
• Look up additional references to Jonah in the NT, such as Matthew 16:4 and Luke 11:30
• Use the New Testament and Old Testament commentaries in your library to determine how the NT authors interpreted the story of Jonah
That wraps up our discussion on textual context. Next, we’ll get to see how considering a passage in its own historical and geographical location adds nuance to our understanding.
• Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
• New Testament Use of the Old Testament interactive (included in Bronze)
Explore the Historical Context of the Event: Geography and Time
Compare Logos 7 Base Packages >>
Pictures and maps help everyone understand the Bible, not just visual learners. Logos provides various media in an easily searchable format, and it also offers a Bible atlas tool. Find out how to use them.
Step 5: Explore the Passage’s Historical and Cultural Context
In the previous lessons, we’ve discussed the importance of context. There’s literary context—that’s where the story we’re studying appears in the Bible—and then there’s historical context, which is where the story occurs in the context of the world and it’s history. Physical location has a lot to do with a story’s historical context. Take for example the story of Ruth, which begins by telling us that a local famine caused Elimelech to uproot and move his family from Bethlehem to Moab. Now, think about this relocation. In an attempt to survive a famine, a man moves his family from a place, which literally means the house of food, to a foreign and hostile land called Moab. In this story the author uses physical locations and the meaning of city names to point out the absurdity of Elimelech’s plan, which God will later use to bring about his own divine plan.
And the story of Jonah is not much different.
After receiving the word of the Lord to go to Nineveh, verse three says, ” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” Notice the emphasis on physical locations. Three times we’re told that Jonah’s every intention was to get to Tarshish as fast as possible, which he tried to do by going through Joppa. Now, in order to understand the significance of his counter journey, we need access to the layout of the biblical world. To gain this access we can use a couple different tools in Logos.
First, if you’re looking for maps of the biblical world, then look no further than the maps in Logos. Simply right click on an important place, like Joppa. Then in the context menu choose Place: Joppa then choose to open a new Factbook report.
When the report appears, you’ll want to focus your attention on the top section where Logos lists relevant media. Here you’ll find maps and other illustrations pertaining to your topic. To see a full list of related media, click the media search link and Logos initiates a robust search of all your media-related resources.
In the new report, you’ll find an abundance of maps related to our story. Let’s focus in on a couple. First scroll down to the media Logos surfaced from your library, and then select to open the map titled, “The Ministry of Jonah about the Time of Jeroboam II.”
When the map appears, you’ll notice that Logos has clearly charted Jonah’s journey, which we believe began in Gath-Hepher. By hovering over map indicator #1 we learn that according to 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah resided in Gath-Hepher within the territory of ancient Zebulon. This is where Jonah received the word of the Lord to go and preach to Nineveh.
From there, Jonah headed south to Joppa, indicated by marker #2, which is clearly in the opposite direction of where he was told to go. Hovering over this indicator tells us that Tarshish is thought to have been located in Tartessus, in southern Spain (near Gibraltar). In comparison, Jonah’s attempted journey to Tarshish was 3 times as far as the journey to Nineveh, telling us that Jonah was trying to get as far from this mission as possible. After his experience in the belly of the fish, markers 3 and 4 layout Jonah’s potential route to the city of Nineveh.
The Atlas Tool
To get a real feel for how far Jonah traveled, let’s access the Logos Atlas tool. First, return to the search and comb through the results under the Atlas section or open the tools menu and click to launch the Atlas Tool. When the tool appears you’ll notice several map options to the left, just below a search box. In the search box, input the city of Nineveh and press enter.
Automatically, Logos pinpoints the city of Nineveh on a map of the biblical world during the Assyrian exile. Using the zoom bar at the top of the tool, you can zoom in and out on the exact location of the city, situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris river. To measure the distance Jonah was asked to travel, hold down the ctrl key then click and drag from the city of Nineveh to just southeast of the city of Tyre. The approximate distance equals around 470 miles. That’s the distance God asked Jonah to travel; yet, instead of obeying the word of the Lord Jonah was willing to travel far further and at a far higher risk rather than face up to God’s call on his life.
You are doing great and you are a third of the way through the course. Here are your assignments:
• Use the Atlas tool to measure the distance between other events in the Jonah narrative
• Consult your commentaries to investigate the significance of Nineveh and to gain a greater understanding of why God sent his prophet to this particular city
• Logos Deluxe Map Set (also included in some Denominational Base Packages)
Starter includes these features:
Explore the Historical Context of the Event: Chronology of Events
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Good Bible interpretation involves the close look of a magnifying glass and the high overview of the air balloon. We need regular views of both forest and trees. The Bible Event Navigator and Timeline Tool provide this high-level view on the story of the Bible, and of the history going on at the same time as biblical events. Let’s explore them.
Step 5 (cont.): Explore the Passage’s Historical and Cultural Context
Today we continue to observe the passage by researching the historical context of the events described in Jonah 1.
A key part of doing Bible study is researching things you don’t know. This is especially true regarding the historical context. We are separated from the events and writing of the Bible by thousands of years and, for some of us, from the land of the Bible by thousands of miles. We shouldn’t assume that we know what a writer means when he refers to a place or an event. For instance, when the author mentions Nineveh, we shouldn’t assume that we have a firm grasp about the city’s significance. Which nation was Nineveh a part of? Babylon? Assyria? Did that nation’s history come into contact with Israel before, during, or after Jonah’s prophetic ministry? These questions, and others, must be asked in order to gain a robust understanding of Jonah.
Bible dictionaries are great places to find answers for such questions. A good study Bible or commentary will also help. So, if you aren’t using Logos, those resources would be great places to start. If you are using Logos, finding historical information and accessing quality resources is simple.
Let’s right-click on the word “Nineveh” in verse 2. We notice the word “Nineveh” marked with a walled city icon in the right hand column of the context menu. Logos has systematically tagged all the people, places, and things within the Old and New Testament, even when they aren’t referred to by name. For instance, let’s click out of this menu and then right-click on the word “her” within the clause, “and cry out against her.” Once again, we find the place “Nineveh” in the right hand column of the context menu. Once we’ve selected “Nineveh,” a number of different options appear on the left-hand side of the context menu. These action options always depend on the kind of information you have selected on the right-hand side.
As I said before, Bible dictionaries are a great place to find answers to some of our questions, and Logos lists our Bible dictionaries according to how we’ve prioritized them in our library. Logos has also connected the data concerning people, places, and things to the headwords in our dictionaries, which means that Logos automatically opens that resource to the correct spot.
Let’s choose the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. With a click, we’ve answered one of our questions. Nineveh was the “greatest of the capitals of the ancient Assyrian Empire.” Within this article, there is an annotated list of biblical references, information about excavations of the city, and ancient palaces. At the very end of the article is an image that depicts the “restored gate at the site of the ancient city of Nineveh of Assyria.” Let’s add the caption for this image to our note file so we remember that Nineveh is a part of Assyria. This also allows us to relocate this image quickly in the future.
I encourage you to read this article in its entirety or others within your library to answer our other questions. But for now, I would like to show you other ways to discover this information within the Logos ecosystem.
Bible Event Navigator
Within the Tools menu, there is a list of interactive media such as “Miracles of the Bible,” “Names of God,” “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament” and more. Although there are a number interactives here, none of the ones listed in this menu seem to relate to Assyria and Israel’s history. But at the bottom right of the menu, there is an option to see more Logos interactives. Let’s click on the “All interactive resources” button to see what else is available.
Within this new list, there is one interactive that particular catches my eye, and it should catch your attention as well. The Bible Event Navigator chronologically charts the significant events within the Bible, giving us a great overview of biblical history. Let’s take a moment to scan through the main headings. There’s the Pre-patriarchal Period, the Patriarchal Period, The Exodus from Egypt, Israelite Conquest of Canaan, Judges Govern Israel, United Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, Assyrian Exile, Babylonian Captivity, Return from Exile, Life of Jesus, and the Early Church.
This overview of the Bible grants us the ability to place the story of Jonah and the historical details surrounding Assyria into a larger narrative. First, let’s start with Jonah by typing “Jonah” into the search bar of the Bible Event Navigator. We receive 15 results which are hierarchically organized. For instance, “Divided Kingdom” is the first item in the search results. As we work our way down the list, we discover that Jonah was a prophet during a time when Judah and Israel were two separate kingdoms. His role as prophet took place within the reign of Jehu’s line, specifically during the reign of Jeroboam II.
Now that we have an idea of where Jonah is located within biblical history, we can clear our search to regain the broader context. If the heading “Divided Kingdom” isn’t expanded, click to expand for more detail. Let’s also expand subheading “Jehu’s line reigns in Israel.” We’ve now located Jonah. As we look through some of the other events, we notice a couple of significant things. First is the Fall of Israel. The second is the Assyrian Exile, another major heading within the Biblical Event Navigator. When we expand this heading, we find exactly what we’ve been looking for: the Assyrian Exile. Clicking on this heading shows us the various key players within the event, the setting, and other important facts. Here we’re told that Israel, the northern kingdom, was forced into Exile by Assyria.
In a previous lesson, we discovered that Nineveh was a wicked city and that a great deal of animosity existed between Israel and the Assyrian nation. The book of Nahum recounts some of this famous city’s atrocities and prophesied about the city’s eventual downfall. But we didn’t ever find out what happened to Israel or what happened to Assyria. Knowing that the Assyrian Exile happened so soon after Jonah’s commissioning as a prophet may give us some insight into why Jonah fled from his prophetic responsibilities; he understood that God would use this wicked city to judge his people, Israel.
The Bible Event Navigator has given us an answer to one of our two questions. Let’s explore a different tool to answer our second question: what happened to Assyria?
Logos’ Timeline Tool is tailored to help us find historical events, both those recorded in Scripture, and those recorded elsewhere. We can find it by returning once again to the Tools menu. After we’ve located the tool, let’s click the link to open it.
The Timeline Tool has over 17,000 events recorded, which means we have to find better ways to access the information we want than endlessly scrolling through it. So let’s use the filter at the top right corner of the tool. Type in “Assyria AND Israel” to exclude everything but events relating to these nations. Now we have only 13 results, a much more manageable list. The second event from the top states that “Tiglath-pilesar III of Assyria invades Israel and deports many Israelites.” While the Bible Event Navigator gave us this information and related it to other events within the biblical world, we didn’t know an approximate date for Israel’s downfall. The Timeline Tool has provided that for us.
But that wasn’t the main reason for using this tool. We wanted to know what happens to Assyria and our search for Assyria AND Israel is too narrow. Let’s delete the “AND Israel” part of the search. Now we have over 200 events to look at. We don’t, however, have to go through these one by one. Let’s simply scroll to the right of the Timeline and see if we notice anything.
As we scrolled right, you might have noticed that things just stop happening. That’s because, as we discover in the Timeline, Assyria fell between 612–608 BC. Though God used Nineveh and Assyria as a means of judging Israel, they were in turn judged. We can read more about the Fall of Assyria by clicking on the link in the tool and selecting any of the dictionary articles listed in the pop-up.
These historical details raise interesting and significant questions for our study of Jonah. Did Jonah know that God would use Assyria to judge his people? If so, does that provide him with justification for his flight? Does it merit our sympathy? Does the prophecy of judgment in Nahum and the eventual downfall of Assyria mean that Nineveh’s repentance in Jonah is to be questioned? How do the books of Jonah and Nahum and the eventual fates that both Israel and Assyria endure affect our understanding of God’s mercy and judgment? All these questions should remain with us as we ponder this complex and powerful story.
Here are your assignments:
• Read at least one of the articles linked in the Timeline about the Fall of Assyria.
• Reflect on how the fate of both Israel and Assyria affect your understanding of the book of Jonah and record your thoughts in your note file.
• Explore the Bible Event Navigator to gain a better overview of biblical history.
• Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (also included in Starter)
Starter also includes these features:
• Bible Event Navigator
Explore the Historical Context of the Writer
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The discipline of biblical theology is dedicated to tracing themes through the entirety of Scripture. Biblical theology provides an important lens on the text of Jonah, and the biblical theological resources in your library are there to help you look at Jonah through that lens. We’ll learn how to search multiple biblical theologies at once for insights into the story of Jonah.
Step 5 (cont.): Explore the Passage’s Historical and Cultural Context
In the last two videos we researched the historical context of the events described in Jonah. Today, we’ll look at the second part of the historical context, that of the writer and his audience.
We want to uncover who wrote the text we are studying. We also want to find out why, when, where, and to whom it was written. Finding out this information will help us understand the intent of the passage.
As we’ve noted in the past, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and introductions to the Bible are great places for finding information on the historical context of a passage. Logos’ Factbook compiles the information you need into a central place for easy access.
Factbook—Bible Book Guides
We’ve accessed the Bible book guides in Factbook in a previous video which looked at the genre of the passage. These guides contain additional information that will help us understand the historical context of the writer and his audience. We can easily access the Factbook from the Tools menu or from the context menu.
Let’s change the report to the book of Jonah by typing “Jonah” in the search box and selecting “Book of Jonah: Writing.” Here we can explore the origin (who wrote it, when, and why he wrote it), the background (including the recipients), its place in the canon, and the meaning of the book. Before interpreting the text, it is absolutely essential for us to know this background information. Although the amount of data here seems overwhelming, we can read one short article from each section and quickly gain a grasp of the information that is essential to a holistic understanding of Jonah. We can simply click one of the links, read the article, and add the relevant information to our Clippings document. The most beneficial element of these book guides is the multiple perspectives they offer on each issue. In the past, we would have had to open multiple commentaries and Bible dictionaries to compare different views. With Logos, diving into these resources is convenient and intuitive.
Let’s pause our survey of the Bible Book Guides, and think about biblical theology for a minute. Biblical theology seeks to understand the theology and themes of the different books and writers of Scripture, and connect those to the overall narrative of Scripture. Understanding the emphases and themes of Jonah will make us sensitive to those themes when they appear in the passage we are studying. We find different takes on the theme, emphases, message, theology, and significance of Jonah in the Meaning section of the Factbook, but one of the most helpful and comprehensive resources I’ve found is the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. It includes an extensive section that defines the essential part that biblical theology plays in exegesis, a comprehensive article on the biblical theology of each section and book of Scripture, and a detailed list of important themes in the Bible and how they are developed through the story of the Bible.
For instance, in the article on Jonah, McKeown states in the section, “Message and Implications,” “The first main theological statement in the book is forced from the lips of Jonah by the intense questioning of the sailors. In a creed-like statement Jonah confesses, ‘I worship the LORD, the God of heaven who made the sea and the land.’ In this confession, Jonah condemns himself: knowing this about God, he still chose to disobey. The statement describes the nature of God as revealed to Israel. The Exodus from Egypt had demonstrated that the Lord was the God of the sea and the land: the plagues, the deliverance at the Red Sea and the provision in the barren wilderness all manifested his remarkable control of nature.”
McKeown supports this contention in subsequent paragraphs by pointing to God’s control over weather, animals, and plant life. This truth should come as no surprise to readers of the Old Testament. McKeown points us to the reality that God has been sovereign over the fate of his people from the outset. What is particularly interesting about Jonah is that this aspect of God’s character in not being used as a means of assuring Israel about its future prosperity and the destruction of its enemies. Rather, as we saw in previous videos, God is merciful and just and he will exercise his mercy and his justice for or against Israel and for or against Nineveh as and when he desires.
The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, along with a solid introduction to the New and Old Testaments, are staples in my Bible study. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Biblical Theology Dataset
Perhaps you are wondering what other biblical theology resources in your library reference our passage. A new feature to Logos that I regularly use is the Biblical Theology Dataset, which can be accessed in the Passage Guide. In the reference box of the Passage Guide, let’s type Jonah 1:1–16 and hit return. Now, scroll down to the section labelled Biblical Theologies and expand it.
Notice that we have two options for sorting our results at the top right hand side of this section. We can sort the results by subject, which displays the area of theology that each search result appears within. Or, we can sort by Resource, which groups our results by the type of biblical theological resource in which the result occurs.
Let’s expand a few of these to gain an idea of what’s in them. The Thematic section contains, among other things, the New Studies in Biblical Theology, a must-have resource for serious students of biblical theology. Within the Reference section we find works like the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology and the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. And within the Pauline Epistles section is N.T. Wright’s work, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.
For us, the most logical place to start would be to investigate the results in the category “Old Testament Theology.” A few resources are listed here, and I would encourage you to investigate the results you find in your own library, but for now I want to look at the resource titled Old Testament Theology: Essays on Structure, Theme, and Text. There’s one reference to Jonah within this resource and it is to verse 1:14. Logos has categorized this reference as “Theology Proper,” which means it will likely have something to say about God’s character. We find confirmation of this by scrolling over the label, where we find the definition that Theology Proper is “The study of the being, attributes and works of God.”
To open this resource, simply click on the reference to Jonah 1:14. This will take us directly to that reference. If we scroll up to the previous paragraph, we gain a bit of context. Walter Brueggemann is discussing the will of God. He writes that “the history of Israel and its risky future will not be determined by self-securing but by Yahweh’s purposes.”
He continues to reflect on the will of God, where we find the reference to Jonah, saying, “Applied to Yahweh, several stresses are important: (1) The term is used to assert Yahweh’s radical freedom to do what Yahweh wills. (2) In radical freedom, Yahweh may reject and even will death. (3) Yahweh’s characteristic action is willing life and not death, but the gift of life requires radical turning. Thus, the word bears the good news that Yahweh wills covenanted living.”
Though Brueggemann is specifically writing about the book of Jeremiah, we find these same themes played out in Jonah, evidenced by Brueggemann’s reliance on Jonah 1:14 as support for his argument. Despite Jonah’s expectations and desires, God has the freedom to do as he pleases and to deliver as he sees fit. Though he can and does bring destruction and death, he ultimately desires life, and this desire finds expression in the deliverance of the Ninevites. What is of great significance in Jeremiah and in Jonah is a radical turning to the Lord. We see this radical change from both the sailors and the Ninevites. But do we see it from Jonah and Israel? That is a question which you as the interpreter can attempt to answer from the text, assisted by the knowledge of the historical context revealed through the awesome tools in Logos Bible Software.
Here are your assignments:
• Read through as many of the articles in the Factbook’s Bible book guide on Jonah as you can (read at least one from each section) and record your findings in your Note file.
• Read through some of the entries in the Biblical Theologies section of the passage guide to see how Jonah connects with the broader historical and theological context of salvation history.
We’ve covered literary, intertextual, and historical contexts. Next, we’ll spend some time looking at how studying the cultural context of a passage can add real depth to our understanding of Scripture.
• Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (also included in Starter)
• Old Testament Theology: Essays on Structure, Theme, and Text (also included in Diamond)
• New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (also included in some Denominational Base Packages)
• Paul and the Faithfulness of God (also included in some Denominational Base Packages)
• New Studies in Biblical Theology
Gold is recommended for resources used in these features:
• Bible Book Guides in Factbook
• Biblical Theologies section in Passage Guide
Explore the Cultural Context
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You cannot read the Bible as if it were written yesterday in Atlanta. Good Bible interpretation, especially (but not only) of the Old Testament, requires putting yourself in the sandals of people who lived a long time ago in a land far, far away. The Cultural Concepts section of the Passage Guide in Logos can help you dig into and understand those differences.
Step 5 (cont.): Explore the Passage’s Historical and Cultural Context
The last context we’ll spend time on is the cultural context, also called the social context. When studying the historical context, we observe the details of the event described and circumstances surrounding the writing of that passage. We study the cultural context of a passage to understand the customs, traditions, economics, politics, and social dynamics. By studying the cultural context we are trying to find out what life was like for the ancient people who wrote the Bible and who were written about in the Bible.
When interpreting the Bible, we must resist the tendency to read the passage without considering the society in which it is written. Too often, our understanding of our own culture overshadows the culture of those who lived and wrote during biblical times.
A great example is casting lots. In the previous lesson, we talked about the sailors and the Ninevites and how their piety outshines Jonah. This might strike us as a bit odd, particularly because of some of the sailors’ actions, like casting lots to determine who was responsible for the storm. In our culture, casting lots is a superstitious practice far from our own religious sensibilities. This would be an excellent concept to investigate.
There are two ways to access the cultural context of the passage, primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources are texts written around the same time as the text we are studying. For instance, deuterocanonical, apocryphal, and pseudepigraphal writings all grant insight into the cultural in which Old and New Testament text were written.
The best secondary sources on the background of the Bible are contemporary works that take everything we know today about the ancient world, with the help of primary sources and archeology, and describe the culture of the biblical world. Most commentaries describe the social context of the passages they cover, but I can’t recommend highly enough Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas’ IVP Background Commentary: Old Testament and Craig Keener’s IVP Background Commentary: New Testament. These commentaries specialize in alerting you to important cultural issues that demand further study in the passage. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary is also highly respected and reputable.
In the past, the primary sources were reserved almost exclusively for scholars. Non-scholars had to rely on secondary sources for background information. With advances in technology, primary sources are increasingly more accessible, but nowhere are they more accessible than in the Cultural Concepts section of the Factbook in Logos. When we use Logos, we can read about ancient cultures from the people who lived and wrote during biblical times.
Let’s look at how the Cultural Concepts section will help us understand the significance of why the sailors cast lots and how this concept in the ancient world may be different from our modern experience and understanding.
We’ll right-click on “cast” from the text. Locate the cultural concept option from the context menu and expand it. Then choose the cultural concept of Casting of Lots from the right and click on Factbook. The Factbook directs us to media, passages, dictionaries, and many other items related to casting lots. The Lexham Bible Dictionary explains that “Ancient peoples used lot-casting as a form of cleromancy—a type of divination in which the random outcome was believed to reflect divine will. Ancients commonly used small stones labeled to reflect the possible outcomes of the decision. The Bible contains no description of the specific procedure for casting lots, undoubtedly due to the commonplace nature of the practice.”
Cultural Concepts Section in the Passage Guide
You can find even more information from the Cultural Concepts section. You’ll see references from several different ancient works such as the Bible, the ancient Hellenistic Jewish historian Josephus, the New Testament Apocrypha, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Context of Scripture, a work that compiles ancient texts and inscriptions from the ancient world.
Context of Scripture
to the place where lot casting occurs. The text reads, “In his eponymy (assigned to him by) his die, may the harvest of Assyria prosper and thrive. Before Aššur (and) Adad, may he throw his die.” We can scroll up a bit to discover the origins of this inscription. The name of the inscription is The Die of Yaḫali and it originates from Assyria. Younger writes. “The use of lots for many legal and commercial purposes is well attested throughout ancient Mesopotamian history. Presumably the inscribed lots were thrown, either by their owners or an impartial third party, and priority was established by the location in which they fell.” Younger continues to explain the possible mechanics of this particular lot.
What’s also interesting here is Younger’s last statement about this text: “The term in this inscription translated “die” (i.e. pūru) provides the name for the festival of Purim in the book of Esther. Lots were used in a number of instances in the Hebrew Bible.” Here we have both an ancient Assyrian reference to lot casting and another statement about the prominence of this practice in the Hebrew Bible.
Apocrypha of the Old Testament
Now, let’s look at the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. Here’s an addition to Esther that includes a reference to the Lord metaphorically casting lots. “ ‘Therefore the Lord made two lots, one for the people of God and the other for all the other nations; and these two lots came at the hour and the moment and the day of judging before God 〈for His people〉and for all the nations.”
If you’re like me, you might be curious about how often lot casting really occurs within the Old Testament. The Cultural Concepts section lists 25 references. Let’s expand it to see some of these passages. Scrolling over Leviticus 16:7–9 reveals that the High Priest Aaron cast lots to determine which of the two goats would live and which would be sacrificed to God. And then in Numbers 33:50–56, God instructs the Israelites to drive out the inhabitants of the Promised Land and to cast lots to determine which clan would inherit each plot of land. I encourage you to continue researching this cultural concept as you are able, but for now I think that it’s safe to say that in the Old Testament—and even into the New—casting lots is an acceptable and even God-approved means of discerning his will.
The Sailors and Their Piety
Though it is premature to draw conclusions, we should ask ourselves the question, “How does the sailors’ act of casting lots influence our understanding of their piety?” In verse 5, the sailors “each cried out to his god,” the captain instructs Jonah to call out to his God” in verse 6, the sailors cast lots in 7, and in verses 14–15 the sailors cry out to Yahweh, fear greatly, offer him a sacrifice, and make vows. It would seem like the sailors are, with each step, moving closer to Jonah’s God.
Because I’m a little impatient, I want to check what one of my favorite Jonah commentaries says about this passage. In my library, I’ll type author:youngblood and open Kevin Youngblood’s commentary Jonah: God’s Scandalous Mercy. Now type Jonah 1:7 into the reference box and locate his discussion of the sailors’ faith in relation to lot-casting.
Youngblood agrees with the work of Brent Strawn, who argues that the lot-casting scene is intended to depict the sailors “as particularly pious, even from an Israelite point of view.” As evidence, both Youngblood and Strawn point out the fact that “lot-casting in the Hebrew Bible is a typically associated with Israelite practice.” They also note that “the overarching parallelism of the book aligns the mariners’ lot-casting with the people of Nineveh’s repentance.” Just as Nineveh repents in a manner acceptable to Israelites with “fasting, sackcloth, and behavioral change,” so also do the sailors’ seek God’s will in acceptable Israelite fashion. Let’s make a note in our file about the possible connections between lot-casting and the sailors’ piety.
The cultural concept of lot-casting clearly illustrates the need of being sensitive to the cultural context in which the biblical authors lived. Many of us likely approach the sailors’ casting of lots in a negative light, as just another pagan attempt to call upon an imaginary deity. But as we discovered through the Cultural Concepts dataset in Logos, sensitivity to the Jonah narrative, and a little bit of confirmation from Youngblood’s commentary, it is quite contrary to our initial expectations: the sailors’ lot-casting may very well be a decisive step towards Yahweh.
Here are your assignments:
• Continue to explore the Cultural Concepts section of the Factbook on Casting of Lots; find three more insights, and record them in your Note file
• Find another cultural concept within Jonah 1:1–16; explore its Factbook and record your insights in your Note file
This is the last video dealing with the context of Jonah 1:1–16. In the next video we’ll move on to a close observation of the actions and words of the main characters in our passage.
• IVP Background Commentary: Old Testament
• IVP Background Commentary: New Testament
• Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary
• The Context of Scripture
• Hearing the Message of Scripture Commentary
Bronze includes the Cultural Concepts feature.
Observe What Main Characters Say
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Most stories have characters, and dialogue among the characters. To understand the story, you have to slow down and parse out basic questions about the characters in that story and all the things they say and do. Logos can help you do this, because it labels speakers and addressees and makes it easy to search books inline.
Step 6: Pay Special Attention to the Words and Actions of the Characters
In literature, plays, and movies, authors often convey their own feelings, ideas, and the main themes of their work in the words and actions of the main characters in the story. The writers of the Bible are no exception. That’s why we must pay special attention to the words and actions of the characters in the passage of the Bible we are studying. This forms our sixth step in Bible study.
This step is particularly important when we’re studying a narrative. In other genres of the Bible, like the psalms or epistles, the purpose isn’t to tell a story. The writer directly tells us what he is feeling or thinking. In these cases we simply need to focus on the historical context of the passage: who wrote it and what their situation was like? But, since such a large portion of the Bible involves narrative, studying the actions and words of the main characters in the story is imperative.
Robert Chisholm mentions multiple ways of identifying how characters contribute to the overall understanding of the narrative we are studying. He says, the author communicates information about the characters “in a variety of ways, including the author’s direct description of a character, the response of other characters, as well as a character’s names and epithets, self-characterization, recorded thoughts, speech, and actions.” Chisholm’s From Exegesis to Exposition is a classic, especially for interpreting the Old Testament. Although a bit technical, this resource is tremendously helpful, especially when Chisholm uses as an example the passage you happen to be studying.
Emphasizing the importance of speech in a story, Steven Mathewson writes, “One of the functions of speech by the characters is to provide insight into their traits.… Even more significantly, conversation points to meaning. According to Alter, ‘Dialogue is made to carry a large part of the freight of meaning.’ … Thus, interpreters should look to speeches for clues to the author’s intent.” Mathewson’s work, like Chisholm’s work, is a great book to read if you are interested in understanding the narrative portions of Scripture to their fullest.
Observing Relationships Between Characters
Since we’re still in the observation stage, we’ll resist the temptation to interpret the actions and words of the main characters. We’ll simply look for what characters are involved and observe what they say and do.
The highlights we made previously help us in this task. When we read Jonah 1:1, we notice there are three main characters: the Lord, Jonah, and Nineveh. It’s helpful to see how these characters interact. Here we see an interaction between God and Nineveh: the city’s evil has drawn the Lord’s attention. Then, we see the interaction between the Lord and Jonah: the Lord commissions Jonah to speak against Nineveh. Is there anywhere else in the Bible where God speaks to Jonah?
During this video we’ll use Logos to find every time one character speaks to another character. If you aren’t using Logos, you could use a concordance to find every time a person’s name occurs in the Bible and then look at the entries for the other person and compare the references. This likely wouldn’t take more than an hour or so for our example here in Jonah, but imagine doing a physical concordance search for Moses or Isaiah.
A better solution to our question is to use Logos’ carefully curated referent data as well as the speaker and addressee data.
Person Inline Search
Let’s use Logos to find every place a Bible character appears, even when that person’s name isn’t specifically mentioned. We’ll begin by right-clicking on the word Yahweh in Jonah 1:1. Within the Context Menu, we have a number of options. For this video, we’re interested in the entry that says “God Person.” After we select this option, we can choose an option on the left-hand side of the Context Menu. Let’s choose Inline Search. An Inline Search lets us run our search without even leaving our Bible.
Notice that this search not only contains results in Jonah 1:1 where Yahweh is referred to as Yahweh, but also includes places such as Jonah 1:2 where he is referred to with only the pronoun “me.” That’s because scholars here at Faithlife have meticulously curated all the references to God and every other individual character in the Bible.
While this search is very helpful, our results are much too broad to quickly find the information we’re looking for. So let’s modify it a bit. Add AND in all caps after our initial search. Then, since we want to find everywhere God and Jonah appear together, let’s mimic the initial search but change “God” to “Jonah.” Now let’s run the search by hitting return.
Our search has been whittled down from several thousand results to only 141. In 2 Kings 14:25, there is a report that “He restored the boundary of Israel from Lebo-Hamath up to the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which he spoke by the hand of his servant Jonah the son of Amittai the prophet, who was from Gath-Hepher.” Logos scholars have labeled this mention of a “Jonah” in 2 Kings 14:25 in the same way as they have the Jonah our chosen book of study. Could this reference give us a better understanding of who Jonah was, where he was from, and when he lived? Let’s make a note on this verse reminding us to go back in our own studies to investigate the historical significance of this verse and how it might later affect our interpretation of our passage in Jonah.
I want to pause here to make an important comment about hermeneutics—that is, the methods we use to study the Bible. Although we may have moved on from step 5, exploring the historical and cultural context of the passage, that doesn’t mean we won’t find more information about the backdrop of the passage as we progress. We can’t just ignore these details simply because we have moved on from that step. As a matter of fact, sometimes it will form and reform the questions we have been asking of the text and perhaps eventually reshape our final conclusions we make about the text. It’s important that we keep our eyes and our minds open to new evidence and data, and consider how to integrate all of our information holistically.
Speaker and Addressee Data
Returning to our results, we may still be a bit nervous about digging through 141 results. I certainly am, especially since our initial question was “where else does God speak to Jonah.” Is there a way to get less static and tune in to just these results?
There certainly is. To find it, let’s click on the visual filters icon in our Bible. Under the heading “Resource” we see two options that look like what we need. Enable the Addressee visual filter and the Speaker visual filter and then click out of the menu. We now have two icons in Jonah 1:2: One is a megaphone, which represents the speaker, and the other is an icon of a person listening, which represents the addressee. We can hover over each of these icons to discover who the speaker is and who the addressee is. In this verse, God is the speaker. Hovering over the addressee icon reveals that the addressee is Jonah.
To find the rest of the occurrences of God speaking to Jonah, we could scan through our results looking for these icons, or we could construct a new search.
Right-Click on the first word within the quotation mark of Jonah 1:2. On the right-hand side of the Context Menu, we see the Speaker icon next to the person “God.” Select this option, and on the left-hand side again choose to run an Inline Search. Don’t be alarmed that we have over 9,000 search results. That’s because we haven’t completed our search. Since we’re looking for where God speaks to Jonah, we can copy the initial search and then paste it in the search bar. Now we need to change a few things. First, change “Speaker” to “Addressee” and then change “God” to “Jonah.”
Now that we have the two halves of our search, we should specify what the relationship is between them so Logos gives us the exact results we want. We want to find where these two pieces of data intersect; that is to say, we want to find where they overlap in any way. To specify this, add INTERSECTS in all caps between the two halves of the search and then hit return.
Now we’ve got exactly what we want. There are only 6 verses in the Bible where God speaks directly to Jonah. And if we read the content of those speeches, we might be surprised to see what’s here. In 1:2, God commissions Jonah. We know from the story that Jonah disobeys. In 3:2, God re-commissions Jonah with almost identical words, and this time, as we know, Jonah obeys. But in chapter 4 we find an interesting development. Most stories would end with Jonah’s obedience and the Ninevite repentance since the conflict between God and Nineveh and God and Jonah has been resolved. However, more conflict arises in Jonah 4. God asks if it’s right that Jonah is angry, then he asks if it’s right that he is angry about the plant. And finally in verses 10–11, God undercuts Jonah’s self-righteous attitude by explaining that he has no right to be angry for something he has no claim on. The book concludes with the rhetorical question asked by God, “And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right from left, plus many animals?”
Let’s make a note on Jonah 1:2 about how God speaks to Jonah within the book. We can even copy and paste our search query so we can go back and run this search in the future. Or we can edit the attachment points to add each of the references to this entry in our note file.
Now it’s your turn to observe the actions of the characters in the passage:
• Reverse the search in this video to find Jonah’s response to God. Hint: replace Jonah with God and God with Jonah in our search
• Investigate your search results and make a note about what you’ve found
This video focused on the interactions of the characters in the passage. In the next video, we’ll focus on the actions some of the characters within this narrative.
• From Exegesis to Exposition
• The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative
Starter includes these features:
• Biblical People Referent Data
• Speaker and Addressee Data
Observe What Main Characters Do
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Let’s pull out our magnifying glasses and take a narrow look at the text of Jonah 1:1–16. We’ll use the Concordance tool to analyze Jonah and the Bible Word Study tool to dig into particular terms. We’ll also uncover some figures of speech using a dataset within Logos.
Step 6 (cont.): Pay Special Attention to the Words and Actions of the Characters
As we learned in Lesson 14, dialogue is a particularly important means of assessing and interpreting narrative. But this isn’t the only way of determining the point the author seeks to make. The means by which an author characterizes individuals in his narrative function as interpretive clues.
In the previous lesson, we learned from Robert Chisholm some of the different ways the author gives us clues about the narrative. In this lesson we will focus on the actions of various characters. Chisholm writes, “Sometimes an author will reveal his evaluation of a character through contrasts with another character, by contrasting a character’s actions with his earlier deeds, or by contrasting the character’s actions with a cultural norm.”
We have already repeatedly observed several instances where the author seems to be drawing a comparison between characters. Specifically, we have seen that the sailors move closer and closer to Yahwistic religious expressions of faith and that Nineveh miraculously repents. The author contrasts both these groups with Jonah’s rebellion. In this lesson, we continue to explore such contrasts but will turn our attention to some of the narrative’s minor characters.
There are a number of ways we can look for minor characters within the book of Jonah. The most obvious route we could take is to read the book, taking notes about the various individuals and things that appear within the it. I encourage you to do just that. After all, interpreting any good story requires that we pay close attention to all its components.
While essential, we are likely to miss references by simply reading and taking notes. Another route we could take is to run searches for specific individuals or things. We’ve learned that the <Person Jonah> search will find all references to Jonah, even when his name is not specifically used in the text. We could run several of these searches and compile a complete list. But we won’t know what to search for unless we start by reading the text and taking notes. So what do we do if we have an idea of what we’re looking for but don’t have the specifics required for a search?
Logos has designed a tool specifically for this purpose called the Concordance tool. It’s built like an interactive with data that we can filter to get exactly what we’re looking for. While we can’t get to the Concordance tool from the context menu, it is not difficult to access. Let’s go to the Tools menu and choose the Concordance.
We’ll choose to create a concordance of our preferred version of the Bible. It may take some time for Logos to index it because it is combing through every word in the Bible and then organizing them by word frequency. Once it is done, we have a list of every word in the Bible. We can organize the results alphabetically or by frequency by using the “Heading” and “Count” options in the upper right. Now, we could keep our results in English, but we want to find the biblical entities like people and things within the text, so let’s choose “Biblical Entities” from the second drop down menu. Now we see all the biblical entities in the Bible and how often they occur. This is a bit overwhelming for our study, so let’s limit “All Passages” to just the book of Jonah in the third drop down menu. With 498 hits in only 56 verses, we have a much more reasonable place to start our investigation.
On the left-hand side of the Concordance tool is the filter option “Kind,” which specifies what kind of biblical entity a reference is. We see Thing, Person, Place, Artifact, and Measure. Under Kind, we get a preview of what these groupings contain with the filter Subkind. There are biblical entities such as “Man,” “Group of people,” and Supernatural being.”
Naturally, we might want to concentrate on people, since they are most likely to function as characters in the narrative. Let’s click on “Group of People” in the Subkind filter. To our surprise, we only find the characters we’ve already discussed: “A Group of Men,” which, when we expand it, we see refers to the sailors, or “Mariners,” and “Ninevites.” Let’s clear this filter to see if “Man” has any interesting results. Again, we find characters we’ve already looked at such as “Jonah,” “A King,” “King of Nineveh in Jonah,” “An Idolater” and a reference to “Amittai.”
There’s another place we should check that might not have occurred to us. Let’s clear the filter again and see what the filter “Thing” turns up. The first four results seem to occur quite frequently: “Castor oil plant,” “Animal,” “Boats,” “Jonah’s Ship of Escape,” and “Fish.”
Expanding the “Castor oil plant” reveals that “God appointed a plant and made it grow up over Jonah.” The plant does as God commanded. We also see a reference to God appointing a worm, so let’s scroll down to worm and expand that. Here, God appoints a worm to destroy the plant, and we see in the second result that the worm does exactly that.
Note, I realize that you may not be as familiar with the context of some of these verses, so at any point you aren’t sure about the surrounding context, click on the verse to open your Bible and read it in its broader context.
Now, let’s scroll back up to see some of the other things in the Jonah story. There are several references to animals, so let’s investigate this character. We find that most all these references appear in chapter 3 verses 7–8, so let’s click one in order to open our Bible together. In 3:6–10, the king and his nobles issue a decree that states, “ ‘No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything! They must not eat, and they must not drink water! And the human beings and the animals must be covered with sackcloth! And they must call forcefully to God, and each must turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind and turn from his blazing anger so that we will not perish.’”
To our surprise, God sees their deeds and relents of the judgment he had planned for Nineveh. Once again, we find animals following the commands they are given. What about inanimate objects like the boat? Jonah 1:4 states that there was a “storm on the sea, and the merchant ship was in danger of breaking.” Although it’s small, you might notice a funny bracket surrounding “was in danger of breaking.” Let’s open this verse to see it in full and discover what this bracket means.
The rest of the verse says, “the merchant ship was in danger of breaking up.” At the end of the verse is the closing bracket and there’s a superscripted “d” indicating a note is associated with the verse. Scrolling over the note, we find that the translators tell us this same phrase literally means “threatened to be broken up.”
Anywhere that translators leave notes like this is a perfect place to do a bit more digging. They had to make a conscious decision for one option over another and thought it best to inform you of that.
Bible Word Study Guide
Like most things in Logos, we can find out more about this word from the context menu. Let’s right-click on danger, and on the right-hand side of the context menu select the word “danger.” We are now given more options on this side of the menu. We want to do a bit of original language research, and we can do it without having a knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. We just need a bit of terminology.
There are three main options I want to briefly mention. The first is the manuscript form of the word, which is exactly how it appears in the text. That will search for an exact form of the word and no variation of that word. The second option is labelled “lemma.” This is the dictionary form of the word, and a search like this will find all the iterations of that word. The last main option is “root.” This option helps you find all the words with a common root form regardless of whether they are nouns, adjectives, or verbs.
We want the lexical form of the word, called the lemma. When we select this option, we see another option on the left called “Bible Word Study.” Let’s choose this to run a Bible Word Study report. After the report loads, Logos presents us with a substantial amount of information. For now, we want to focus on the information in the Lemma section of the report.
The first thing we see is the Hebrew lemma, and if we have the the Hebrew pronunciation audio in our library, there is an icon that we can press to learn how to pronounce the word. To the right is a list of possible translations for our word: “to weave; to respect, hold in high regard; to assume, impute, reckon, devise, invent.” These all seem to be words associated with human activity.
I want to investigate a bit further. The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament is the gold standard for theological word studies in the Old Testament. I can’t recommend this resource highly enough. As you can see, the article is rather large, so if you have it in your library, I would encourage you to read it or skim it to gain a broader understanding of how this invaluable resource gives us more information about the Hebrew word we’re investigating. For now, I want to teach you how you can quickly locate where this resource discusses Jonah 1:4.
Emphasize Active References
In the visual filters menu is the option to emphasize active references. The brilliant feature tells Logos to temporarily highlight everywhere this resource contains a reference to the text currently open in my Bible. Let’s enable this option and start scanning the resource.
Seybold writes, “The active verbal forms and the verbal noun occur only with personal subject. Apparent exceptions like Job 41:19, 24 (27, 32) (Leviathan); Ps. 52:4 (2) (tongue); Prov. 16:9 (heart) are easily explained as metaphors (possibly also Jon. 1:4, “the ship threatened to break up”). The activity designated is thus typically and exclusively human.”
Has the author of Jonah personified the ship as an ironic contrast to Jonah’s actions? Let’s return to the biblical text to see what Jonah is doing in the story. We read in verse 4 that Yahweh sends a storm and that the ship immediately reacts by thinking or threatening that it would break up. In verse 5, however, Jonah responds by sleeping.
Bullinger’s Figures of Speech
Before concluding this lesson, I want to show you another option within the context menu that might help support our observation. Right-click again on the word danger and select it in the context menu. Scroll down and locate the Bullinger’s Figures of Speech labelled data. The label provided for this verse is drawn from Henry Bullinger’s classic work on the figures of speech in the Bible. He classifies this reference as “personification.”
When we add this data to the responsiveness of other animate and inanimate things in the book of Jonah, it seems as if the author uses these minor characters to continue his ironic portrayal of Jonah. All the major and minor characters obey God, except for Jonah. Oddities like a thinking ship and cattle donning sackcloth continually reinforce the author’s ironic, and satirical, portrayal of God’s prophet, Jonah. Let’s make a note about this in our notes file.
Here are your assignments:
• Investigate other “supporting characters” such as fish and wind, and record your insights in your Notes file
• Search your Jonah commentaries for a discussion on animate and inanimate characters in Jonah
This video was the last day of the observation stage in our Bible study method. After watching this video, you are now halfway through the course. Great job! In the next video, we’ll move into interpretation.
• Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (also included in Collector’s)
Bronze includes these features:
• Hebrew Audio Pronunciation
• Concordance Tool
• Bible Word Study Guide
• Bullinger’s Figures of Speech Dataset
Part 2: Interpretation
Find the Most Frequently Used Words
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One of the great goals of all Bible interpretation is to slow yourself down enough to notice things. Computers have no creativity; all they can do is plod. So software tools like the Concordance tool and Interesting Words section in Logos may help you uncover things in the text you didn’t notice before.
Part 2 Overview
Congratulations! You’ve finished the first section of this course.
We now have a better understanding of how to accomplish the first step in Bible study, observation. We’ve taken the time to listen to the text by reading it multiple times, identifying important themes, comparing translations, exploring the literary, historical, and cultural contexts, and recognizing the setting and characters. While we can do all of these steps without Logos, I hope you see the value of this powerful software for the efficiency and the insight it provides.
Bible students are often tempted to jump from brief observation to application; from what the text says to what the text means to us. We need to fight this urge and think about what the text actually means. Why did God include the passage we are studying in Scripture? What did the human writers of Scripture intend to convey when they wrote it? What did the passage mean to the original audience? Interpretation seeks answers to these crucial questions.
In the next set of videos, we’ll delve further into Jonah 1 and the steps involved in interpretation. I’ll show you how to look up and study important words and phrases in the passage and then compare them to other passages in Scripture. We’ll also interpret the text by outlining it and then check our interpretation with respected voices in biblical scholarship. This last step is important. God has blessed us with fellow Christians, both ancient and modern, that can help us understand the text if we are struggling. These guides also let us know about different interpretive options and will caution us if our interpretation of the text isn’t what it should be. This is challenging yet exciting work!
Remember, if you need further help, additional training videos are located at Logos.com/pro and you can always contact the Pro team in the Faithlife group at faithlife.com/studyjonah.
Let’s get started!
Step 7: Look for and Study Important Words and Phrases and Connect Them to the Rest of Scripture
Interpretation, you’ll remember, answers the question, “What does this passage mean?” If we want to know what Jonah 1 means, we need to spend a good deal of time on the actual words used in the passage.
When we communicate, we make choices about the words we use to convey our message. Some of us, especially writers and public speakers, necessarily spend extra time choosing our words. We have many words to choose from and a number of ways to arrange those words.
The biblical writers were purposeful in the words they chose and how they arranged them. They often used words to indicate structure, to show emphasis, and to connect their writings to the other books of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.
So how do we find these important links? We’ve already seen the benefit of the theology sections of our commentaries and of books dedicated to biblical theology. Resources like these discuss the important themes and words of particular writers and books of the Bible. This is a great place to start.
But what if we want to find important themes on our own? Well, nothing is as effective as familiarity. If we want to discover the important themes of Jonah, we need to spend ample time with the book. That’s one of the reasons we built a reading plan for Jonah at the beginning of this course. When we read the book in one sitting on multiple occasions, important themes become evident. We see important words and themes begin to pop out at us.
At this point, I want to add a word of caution. While words convey meaning and studying them is essential, there is a danger here. We are always tempted to see in the text what we want to see there, not necessarily what is there. Many interpreters have used words to say things about passages that aren’t there. We must realize that words are part of a larger context. We can’t isolate them and impute them with whatever meaning we want. That’s why familiarity with the larger text can’t be replaced. I’ll recommend two works that will help you avoid common mistakes in biblical interpretation. Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson and Biblical Words and Their Meaning by Moisés Silva are essential reading for every serious student of the Bible. Put them on your “read next” list.
One shortcoming of reading for familiarity is that most of us can’t read the Bible in its original languages. Repeated words are easily lost in translation. Logos’ Interesting Words section and Concordance tool can help.
Interesting Words Section
The Interesting Words section in the Passage Guide is a graphical representation of the words in a section of Scripture arranged by frequency. The larger the word, the more times it is used in the passage. We can toggle between English, Hebrew—the original language of the book—or the Greek translation of the book.
This is helpful for the passage we are looking at, but let’s expand our results to the broader section of Jonah that the passage we’re studying falls into. Since Jonah is such a small book, we can expand our results to the context of the entire book by eliminating the reference and searching for just Jonah. Now, we can see those words repeated for emphasis in the book.
As we discovered in the previous lesson, the Concordance is a more efficient way of finding recurring biblical entities within a book of the Bible. It can do the same thing for repeated words, so let’s open it again. Notice that the tool opened immediately without delay. That’s because Logos saves the concordance indexes of the most recent ten books you’ve used in the tool.
Previously, we used the biblical entity data to find minor characters in the narrative. But for this lesson, we want to go broader than biblical entities to discover repeated words and how those might contribute to an overall theme of the book. To do this, we will have to change our selection in the second drop down menu. Let’s click on it to see what’s there.
It’s easy to jump straight to the “word” option because we’re looking for the most frequent words in Jonah. But because I’m in the Lexham English Bible, that will only tell me the most frequent English words in Jonah. This can give us an idea of the repeated words in the original text, but by no means is it accurate. The option we want is lemma. In the previous video, we learned that the lemma is the lexical form of the word in the original language. Finally, let’s limit the Concordance to the book of Jonah.
The Concordance tool now lists all the Hebrew words in Jonah according to frequency. But don’t fret yet. To the right of each word is a gloss, or a definition of that word. So even if we don’t know Hebrew, we can find our way around the results quite comfortably.
As we look through the highest frequency words, we might notice a number of results that seem insignificant such as the first result: waw, “then; and; or; together with; that is.” This is to be expected since the most commonly used words in a language are conjunctions, pronouns, articles, and other words of this kind.
Let’s eliminate some of this noise by selecting parts of speech like “Noun,” “Verb,” “Adjective,” and “Adverb,” which will be more likely to give us the results we are looking for.
The first four results are “Yahweh,” “to say,” “Jonah,” and “God.” Since three of these are the main characters of the story, and “to say” is a common way of reporting speech, again, we don’t have any surprises here. Let’s skip to the fifth word gadol, which means “great.”
Here’s what we see: Nineveh is a great city, a great wind, a “great storm on the sea,” a great fear, a great fish, people of great status, great people (or nobles), great displeasure, and great satisfaction. Everything in this story seems to be “great.”
As a matter of fact, Uriel Simon in his commentary on Jonah in the JPS Commentary Series writes about the use of this word and how it functions in the narrative,
Magonet (pp. 31–33) coined the term “the growing phrase” for the repetition of a phrase in expanded form. This pattern is used to describe the increasing severity of the squall: from “a great storm came upon the sea” (1:4) to “the sea was growing more and more stormy” (1:11) and finally to “the sea was growing more and more stormy about them” (1:13). At the same time, the sailors’ emotional response progresses from “The sailors were afraid” (1:5) to “The men feared greatly” (1:10) and finally to “The men feared the Lord greatly” (1:16). Such expansion is also found in the repeated characterization of static elements: “that great city” (1:2; 3:2), “a great city to God” (3:3), and finally, “that great city, in which there are more than twelve myriad persons” (4:11).
Let’s add this quote to our clippings file. After we’ve recorded it, we can return to the Concordance tool to investigate another repeated word. A few words down we find the word “to call,” which occurs 8 times in the narrative. Can you find a pattern in this word’s usage? In Jonah 1:2, God commands Jonah to “cry out against [Nineveh].” We know that he did not. Instead, in verse 6 the ship’s captain commands him to “Call on your god!” Then, in verse 14, the sailors cry out together to Yahweh. It’s not until the second chapter of the book that Jonah calls out to God in his distress. In chapter 3, we find a similar pattern with a different outcome. First God commands Jonah to call out, which he does: the Ninevites proclaim a fast and put on sackcloth, and finally a proclamation is issued instructing the people to call out to God in the hopes that he will be merciful.
The pattern in chapters 1 and 2 should be the same as in chapter 3. God should command, Jonah should obey, the people should respond. Instead, Jonah refuses his task in chapter one and the captain stands in his place, reminding Jonah of the initial divine command: to call out and proclaim the message of God. Let’s add this insight to our note file.
For our assignments, let’s focus on gaining more familiarity with the words and themes of Jonah:
• Explore what some of the commentaries say about the word “call out” in Jonah 1:14 to confirm or invalidate our conclusions
• Read Jonah through in one sitting, highlighting repeated words and themes, and recording any of your insights; repeat if possible
• Look for more repeated words in the Concordance tool to determine which are significant, and investigate how they contribute to the themes and message of the book
• Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd Ed.
• Biblical Words and Their Meaning, 2nd Ed.
• The JPS Bible Commentary: Jonah (also included in Portfolio)
Bronze includes these features:
• Interesting Words
• Concordance Tool
Research Words in the Original Languages: Root Searches
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Careful use of the original languages of the Bible—Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic—requires good tools, and the skill to use them. In today’s lesson we’ll start to train in those skills; Logos can supply the good tools through the Interlinear Ribbon, lemma searches, and the Bible Word Study.
Step 7 (cont.): Look for and Study Important Words and Phrases and Connect Them to the Rest of Scripture
As we’ve already seen, the book of Jonah contains some pretty fascinating words, concepts, and ideas. As we make our way deeper into the study of this text, we’re going to learn the importance of studying a passage, like Jonah 1 and its key concepts, in the original languages.
To grasp a biblical language like Hebrew, one must first grasp the language at its most basic level: the word level. Word studies play an essential part both in understanding specific biblical concepts and in better understanding the biblical message, through the languages the Bible was first written in.
In this lesson, we’ll learn how to use the tools in Logos to first expose key original language terms and then search for other occurrences of those same terms to gain a greater understanding of how the biblical author used them.
Let’s start by opening Jonah 1 in the command box. The Command box, by the way, is different than the Go box. When we type a passage or topic in the Go box, Logos opens a template layout of guides and resources. The Command box is more versatile; among other functions, you can enter commands to run searches, to change program settings, and as we want in this case, to open tools or resources. If you’ve not done so before, try entering a Bible reference as a command, and Logos will open it to your preferred Bible. You can also specify which Bible version you want; type the command “open ESV to Jonah 1” and Logos will do just that. If you prefer another translation, then simply substitute ESV with the abbreviation of your favorite version, such as the NIV or NRSV.
The Interlinear Ribbon
Starting in verse 5, we read that in response to the fierce storm, the sailors aboard the boat “were afraid.” As we’ll soon see, the theme of fear is prominent in this first chapter and by itself tells an interesting story about the sailors themselves.
Now we could start searching for all the times the term fear occurs in this chapter, but like we see here in chapter 1 verse 5, the editors on the ESV did not translate the term the Hebrew term as “fear” but rather as “afraid.” And that’s the main deficiency of performing word studies in English. Often times, the same Hebrew word can be translated with different English words; and the same English word may translate multiple Hebrew words! (The same is true of Greek words in the New Testament.)
So it’s important that we first identify the underlying Hebrew term and then run a search for all the times that term appears in Jonah chapter one. To begin, enable the ESV interlinear ribbon by selecting the icon from the top of the tool bar. The interlinear ribbon opens at the bottom of the resource panel and provides us with a host of original language data. Just like the inline interlinear, we can customize what’s displayed here by selecting or deselecting various options. Let’s also enable the root and root transliteration. Now let’s look at some of the information in the ribbon. Logos provides the manuscript form of the word (or how the word appears in the Hebrew text), the lemma form (or how the word appears in an original-language dictionary, called a lexicon), then the root form of the word (or the three main letters used to build the word and others like it), also the morphology of the word (or the details of the word, including parts of speech), and finally transliterations (or the Hebrew word transcribed using English letters so you can read it).
When you select the term “afraid” in verse 5, the interlinear ribbon highlights the corresponding word and information below and even gives us the order in which it appears. Beneath the surface text, you’ll find that the English term “afraid” is translated from the Hebrew “yir-ru”, which comes from the lemma form “yahrey.” That’s the form we’re looking for.
Searching for Hebrew Roots
Now, to find all other occurrences of this Hebrew lemma we can right-click the term and expose an array of word information in the right-hand portion of the context menu. Notice that we have some of the same information provided in the interlinear ribbon, like the surface form, mss form, and the Hebrew lemma. But in addition to this information, Logos lists the actions we can perform with this data to the left. Click the lemma form and notice that we can now create a Bible Word study report, hear the term pronounced, or run a variety of searches inline or in a separate resource.
For now, let’s choose the Hebrew root and run a search inline. This action combs through the ESV and finds every occurrence of both the noun and verb form of this Hebrew root, beginning with the passage we’re studying. This is great when you want to see when a term is mentioned multiple times in close proximity to one another. With this simple search, we discover that the same Hebrew root for fear occurs 3 times in the first chapter of Jonah: in verses 5, 9, 10, and 16. Also notice that we found these occurrences without even leaving the English text!
Let me point out two things here: First, the ESV translates this Hebrew root twice as “afraid” in verses 5 and 10, “fear” in verse 9, and then once as “feared” in verse 16. Now a simple search for “afraid” or even “fear” would have missed some of these occurrences. Second, I want to point out who it is that shows fear in Jonah chapter 1.
As we stated previously, in verse 5 the sailors exhibit fear because of the storm. But in verse 9, Jonah claims that he is a Hebrew and that he “fears the Lord, the God of the heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” This might strike us as odd. The sailors act in a way that clearly demonstrates their fear: they cry out to their gods and begin throwing cargo overboard. Yet Jonah sleeps. He claims to know that his God made the sea and the dry land and that his power extends to both areas of creation, yet his actions seem to betray his confession that he “fears Yahweh, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Jonah is no further away from the LORD on the sea than on dry land. Can we conclude that if Jonah truly revered the Lord, he wouldn’t treat the God-sent storm so casually that he literally falls into a deep sleep? Let’s hold that thought as we look at the other search results. In verse 10, it’s again the sailors who are afraid because of the storm. In verse 16, it’s again the sailors who are afraid—but this time the bible tells us that they no longer feared the storm but rather feared the LORD.
Bible Word Study Report
Fear of the LORD appears twice in these search results, which should give us a thought about this concept elsewhere in scripture. Fear of the LORD isn’t the same kind of fear that makes us jump at something unexpected or scary; the concept is more relational than that. In order to fully grasp what the “fear of the LORD” means, let’s right-click on one of our search results, then select the lemma and run a Bible Word Study report.
A number of lexicons appear, giving us the ability to easily explore the range of meanings for this word. We’ll open the well-known and trusted lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs. The entry initially appears a bit cluttered, but we can reformat it in Logos to look like a bulleted outline. Click on the visual filters icon and select “Outline formatting.” Now we can scroll through the entry and quickly locate the various definitions. The first main definition is, as we already know, “fear.” But the second entry is more robust: we read, “stand in awe of.” This is getting closer to how Jonah uses the word yahreh. There’s also a third definition that says, “fear, reverence, honour, e.g. parents” and “elsewhere of God.”
This definition is precisely the one we’re looking for, and here’s why. Given the context of Jonah’s speech, he is answering the sailors’ questions about who he is, about which God is responsible for the storm, and about his role in provoking that same God. His response is not to show the sailors that he fears for his life, at least not in the same manner that they do. Rather, Jonah expresses a “fear” that manifests itself in worship of the one true God, even though his actions to this point cannot be described as worship. Jonah claims to honor God, but his hypocrisy is evident even to the pagan sailors.
Fear of the Lord
Knowing that the Hebrew word yahreh can also mean “to worship” or “revere” gives us a better understanding of what’s going on in the first chapter of Jonah. The author is playing with the semantic range (or the range of meanings) this word has. He shows us the inconsistencies in Jonah’s statement while at the same time transforming the sailors’ fear for their lives into a fear of Yahweh. Now that’s powerful. Let’s make a note about our findings.
Here are your assignments:
• Find two more words in Jonah 1 that occur more than once using the inline search and add any insight you find to your Note file
Read about how the theme of fear plays into the literary structure of this passage on page 117 of T. Desmond Alexander’s commentary in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series
• Check two or three commentaries to see if they agree or disagree with your conclusions; add their insights to your Clippings file
• Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (also included in Silver)
• Or get the free Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs
• Tyndale Old Testament Commentary: Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (also included in Gold)
Starter includes these features:
• Interlinear Ribbon in multiple English Bible translations
• Hebrew Root Searching
• Bible Word Study Guide
Research Words in the Original Languages: Lemma Searches
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You find wisdom, the Bible says in Proverbs 2, when you search for it the way you would search if your pastor said, “There’s a $100 bill taped underneath one of the pews. Whoever finds it gets it. Go.” Hopefully it’s not the love of money that drives you to study Scripture; if it is you likely won’t get much out of God’s word. Today’s lesson shows you some of the simple discovery tools—like tooltips and inline searching—that will help you leave no stone (or pew) unturned in your study of the Bible.
Step 7 (cont.): Look for and Study Important Words and Phrases and Connect Them to the Rest of Scripture
There are two main approaches to interpretation. One gives priority to the intended meaning of the author, the other gives priority to the reader. Duvall and Hays summarize these approaches well: “This question has prompted a lively and sometimes heated debate, not only in secular literary circles, but also among students and scholars of the Bible. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the traditional approach to interpreting any literature, biblical or secular, was to assume that the author determines the meaning and the reader’s job is to find that meaning. Within the world of secular literary criticism, however, this approach came under attack throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, and many literary critics today argue that it is the reader, and not the author, who determines what a text means.”
Many Christians, whether they realize it or not, use the second of these approaches. When studying the Bible, the primary question they ask is, “What does this passage mean to me?” instead of “What did the author intend for this passage to mean?” This course is based on the assumption that the best way to understand the Bible is to first understand what the author meant the text to convey before asking questions about how the passage makes us feel or what the meaning is for contemporary life. That’s exactly why we are spending so much time trying to understand the words of the passage—we want to know what Jonah intended for us to understand from the text.
We aren’t advocating that we can find exactly what the author intended by following a simple series of steps. We come to the text with presuppositions and preconceived ideas about the text itself. As we study the text with our presuppositions and preconceived ideas, careful observation and interpretation help us correct the initial interpretation we had, allowing us to see the author’s intended meaning. One of the most helpful concepts in understanding how this works is from Grant Osborne’s Hermeneutical Spiral. He explains, “I am spiraling nearer and nearer to the text’s intended meaning as I refine my hypotheses and allow the text to continue to challenge and correct those alternative interpretations, then to guide my delineation of its significance for my situation today.” Osborne’s work, while a bit on the technical side, is one of the most helpful books on biblical interpretation you can read, and a resource you’ll consult frequently.
Identifying the Problem
Our careful observation of the text helped us notice a number of ironic twists and turns in Jonah 1—such as the author’s personification of the ship as well as the sailors’ attempt to do everything possible to appease whatever god was responsible for the storm, in contrast to Jonah’s defiant slumber below deck. In the previous video, we saw how the author used the various meanings of the Hebrew word yar’ to expose the shallowness of Jonah’s fear of YHWH in comparison with the sailors’ fear of YHWH. In this lesson, we’ll reinforce some of the same techniques we learned in the previous video to discover how characters address God within the narrative.
Since we are searching for a particular character in the narrative, our first inclination might be to run a person search, as we have done before. But as you know from your own daily reading of the book, this won’t give us all the results we’re looking for. The sailors, as we see in verse 5, call out to a different god. Because of this, we need to run a different type of search.
You might have also noticed in your reading that translators use two different words for God throughout the book. The word “God,” of course, and different translations will either use “LORD” in special capital letters like it is here in the ESV or they use “Yahweh” like we see here in the LEB. If you, like me, noticed this, then we can find the original language word beneath our translations and search for just those terms. But first, let’s do a bit of checking to make sure that these are the only two terms we need.
Previously, we’ve learned how to use both the inline interlinear and the interlinear ribbon, and we could certainly use either of those here. But there is a quicker way to find this information. Simply hover over any word you want more information about. A tooltip appears in the bottom left-hand side of the resource panel containing information about the word’s lemma, morphology, and Strong’s number.
Now, let’s test some of the occurrences of Yahweh and God in the LEB. Start by hovering over Yahweh in Jonah 1:1. The tooltip updates, revealing that the Hebrew word here is in fact Yahweh. Scrolling over the next instance in verse 3, we confirm that the Hebrew word is the same. We’ll do the same for god. The first instance of god in the LEB appears in verse 5, where the sailors cry out to their pagan gods. Hovering here reveals that the Hebrew word is elohim, the same word that is routinely used for Israel’s God within the Hebrew scriptures. This should give us some confidence that these are the only two words used for God in the book. You can investigate this claim by using a number of tools in Logos that we have already used such as the Concordance Tool.
Inline Morphological Search
But for now, we want to explore the functionality of the morphological search query. Right-click on Yahweh and select the lemma option. Then, on the left side of the context menu, choose to search this resource inline. Now we have the first part of our search. We want to also find where elohim appears within the book. Since we want both terms, the AND search won’t work. That will only find where both terms appear in a verse. Rather, we want the OR search.
You can find a list of the possible proximity search operators in what we like to call the search cookbook. Click on the search icon at the top of your program. Here we find a list of possible searches that have been pre-generated for you. This gives you an idea of everything that’s available. The OR search command, as we see here, is a logical operator. There are a number of other basic search commands such as proximity operators that let us look for words BEFORE, AFTER, NEAR, and more. I encourage you to look through this cookbook and run some of the pre-made searches so you gain a better understanding of the potential and power Logos has to offer.
Returning to our in-line search query, let’s add the second term we want to find. Mimicking the first part, type “lemma.” Since we already discovered that the word for God is elohim, we can start typing it after the colon. A drop-down menu appears with the symbol for lemma, followed by the Hebrew word, a transliteration, and an English definition. Selecting “elohim” from the menu converts our English characters into the appropriate Hebrew word. Now, we can hit return and explore the results.
Conversion to Yahweh?
Logos displays our results in a way that helps us distinguish the terms we’ve searched for. Notice how Logos highlights Yahweh with one color and God with a different color. While the LEB translation makes it easy to tell which result corresponds to which search term, that’s not always the case.
Notice that throughout Jonah 1:1–4, there is no reference to God, only Yahweh. When we come to verse 5, however, we find the first instance of “elohim.” The LEB has translated this word as “god” with a lowercase “g.” If we read the passage in the surrounding context or if we right-click on the word, we see why they have made this decision. The sailors aren’t addressing Israel’s God, they are addressing their own unnamed deities.
Verse 6 contains two uses of “elohim.” The captain of the ship wakes Jonah up and says, “ ‘Why are you⌊sound asleep? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps your god will take notice of us and we won’t perish!’ ” Again the translators use a lowercase “g” when translating “elohim.” That’s because the translators rightly understand that, from the sailors’ perspective, Jonah’s god is just one among a host of gods that have power over different areas of life. Out of curiosity, let’s right-click on this term as well. In the referent data, Logos scholars classify this same use of “elohim” as a reference to Israel’s God. That’s because, whether the sailors realize it yet or not, they have requested that Jonah call upon the power of the one true God.
Much like casting lots may have indicated a step towards Israel’s God, it isn’t quite there yet. But as we continue in the narrative, we find something remarkable. Jonah reveals that he is the cause of the storm, that his God is responsible for it, and that the name of his God is Yahweh. In the previous lesson, we learned that Jonah also confesses that he fears his God, a confession proven false by his actions. Meanwhile, the sailors, knowing that Jonah has disobeyed his God and that there will be consequences, fear greatly. Both the sailors’ fear and the use of the name Yahweh culminate in verses 14 and 16. In verse 14, “they cried out to Yahweh, and they said, “O Yahweh! Please do not let us perish because of this man’s life, and do not make us guilty of innocent blood, because you, O Yahweh, did what you wanted.” And, in verse 16, “the men feared Yahweh greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to Yahweh and made vows.“This is fascinating insight into the text, made possible through our use of these important tools. Let’s make a note about how the sailors use “elohim” and “Yahweh” within Jonah 1.
Here are your assignments:
• Look through the rest of the our search results and see if you notice any other significant uses of “Yahweh” and “elohim.” Hint: Are the Ninevites granted as much information about Jonah’s God as the sailors?
• Execute an inline search on a word or phrase that you believe is important in Jonah 1, study your results, and record your insights
You are making great progress. In the next video, we’ll expand your interpretation skills by spending some time with the original languages.
• Grasping God’s Word by Duvall and Hays
Starter includes the Morphological Search tools.
Research Words in the Original Languages: Word Studies
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The beauty of a Bible software program like Logos lies in its ability to bring into one place all of the information you need to answer a given question—and to do it beautifully. That’s what the Bible Word study does, gathering all the standard information needed for a responsible word study and presenting that data in an easily comprehensible, visual format.
Step 7 (cont.): Look for and Study Important Words and Phrases and Connect Them to the Rest of Scripture
Word studies are a treasure trove. And a mine field. Somehow we have to weave through the dangers to get the treasures. Think for a moment: if we were about to enter such a field, would we want to know first about the gold or the bombs?
I’d want to know about the treasures first: do they make it worthwhile for me to even bother learning about the dangers? And then I’d want a detailed accounting of the dangers—so I can live to enjoy the good stuff.
Let’s take account of the treasures in the word study field: you get to dig into rich and precious biblical concepts such as justification, repentance, reconciliation, redemption, salvation, and revelation. There’s no doubt that we can find immense treasures when doing word studies, and it’s our intention to do exactly that in this lesson.
Bible Word Study
In previous lessons, we discussed Jonah’s sleep aboard the ship in relation to the ship’s response to the storm, the sailors’ response to the storm, and the captain’s words to Jonah when he wakes him from his slumber. But we haven’t actually looked at the word or concept of sleep itself.
Let’s remedy that by right-clicking on “asleep” in the LEB. Once the context menu opens, click on the lemma radam and run a Bible Word Study report. In the past, we’ve just used the lemma section of the Bible Word Study report. In this lesson, however, I want to look at a number of other sections.
First, expand the translation section if it isn’t already. The translation section displays all the ways the LEB editors have translated the Hebrew word radam throughout the Old Testament. At the top right of the section there is an icon that shows where and how often these uses occur in the Bible. In this case, radam appears 7 times in the Old Testament. The icon at the center indicates that these seven instances of radam are translated seven different ways. We can click on any of these colored segments to see the reference associated with the translation and part of that verse. Clicking on the center, however, will organize all the references according to their respective headings for our analysis.
Since there are so few results, let’s take a moment to scan each one. Click to open Psalm 76:6 and scroll up for a bit of context. The Psalmist writes, “The stouthearted are plundered; they sleep their sleep; and all the able men cannot use their hands. At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse slumber.” Sleep here is being used as a metaphor to describe God’s power to completely incapacitate even the mightiest of warriors..
Proverbs 10:5 contains a contrast between the prudent and the lazy: “He who gathers in the summer is a child who is prudent; he who sleeps at the harvest is a child who brings shame.” Gathering and sleeping are activities that shouldn’t be done at the same time.
Daniel 8:18 and 10:9 contain two interesting uses of the word. God sends his prophet into a deep sleep, or trance, and reveals to him a prophetic word.
The next two instances appear in Jonah where the prophet falls into a deep sleep and the ship’s captain asks, “why are you sound asleep?”
Finally, Judges 4:21 records how Jael kills Sisera with a tent peg while “he was fast asleep since he was exhausted.”
I want you to hold on to three different uses of this word. The references from Psalms and Judges seems to indicate a deep sleep which has incapacitated one or more people. Second, Proverbs employs a metaphorical use to describe someone who willfully neglects an important and timely task at hand. Finally, Daniel uses to term “sleep” for the trance God brings upon his prophet in order to convey his word. Which of these three usages is in view here in Jonah? Before we make that decision, we need to do a bit more research.
Earlier, we learned about root words and the benefits of exploring other parts of speech associated with the word we’re studying. The Bible Word Study report has a section that lists all the lemmas connected to a specific root word. We find this section directly under the translation section. Let’s expand it and see what other words might aid our study of radam.
There are two lemmas listed in the section: radam, which we are currently studying, and tǎr·dē·mā(h) [pronounced tar-dey-mah], the nominal form of the word. We can run another Bible Word Study report on this word simply by clicking the link.
Once again, in the translation section there are 7 occurrences of the word in the Old Testament. As before, let’s expand the results by clicking on the center of the translation ring. The same three uses that we discovered for radam are present for tǎ r·dē·mā(h). Job 4:13 and 33:15 speak of people receiving visions at night when a deep sleep falls upon them. Proverbs 19:15, like Proverbs 10:5, uses the term figuratively to speak of laziness.
Isaiah 29:10 contains an interesting use where the Lord causes a deep sleep to come upon the prophets and seers. But instead of understanding what they see, the vision they are given is like words hidden within a sealed book.
Genesis 2:21 records when God causes a deep sleep to come over Adam before he removes a rib to create Eve. And then, in Genesis 15:12, the Lord causes a deep sleep to come over Abraham. In this deep sleep, the Lord makes a covenant between himself and Abraham, promising that although Abraham’s offspring will sojourn and be servants in a foreign land, they will eventually inherit great wealth.
Finally, 1 Samuel 26:12 narrates a conflict between David and Saul where God causes a deep sleep to come upon Saul so that David was able to approach him, take Saul’s spear and a jar of water from near his head, and escape without notice.
Synthesizing Our Findings
It seems evident that there are two predominant uses of radam and tǎr·dē·mā(h): either a trance inducing sleep or a deep slumber that approaches death in some manner. It is clear that one of these two definitions applies to our passages in Jonah.
We might be tempted to opt for the fanciful interpretation that Jonah falls into a trance-like sleep but receives no message from God because of his rebellion. But we can’t go with intuition when handling Scripture rightly. We need to consider the context to see if this interpretation fits the evidence.
It would be a particularly reasonable conclusion to make that after fleeing from God, Jonah was exhausted and simply fell into a deep slumber. There may even be some connection in the word “sleep” to Jonah’s repeated action of “going down” which culminates, as we saw earlier in Jonah 2:6, in going “down to the foundations of the mountains the Underworld.”
At the same time, we noted in Lesson 6 how the captain’s command to Jonah repeated a number of words God used when commissioning him to go to Nineveh. We can consult the note we took by hovering over the note icon in verse 6. When we consider this repetition in light of the fact that the author contrasts Jonah with the other characters within the narrative, we might reasonably stipulate that Jonah entered into a vision-inducing trance.
Lemma in Passage
Let’s consult some of our resources to gain clarity. An amazing feature in Logos Now is the Lemma in Passage section. We can access this section by scrolling to the bottom of the Bible Word Study report. This section combs through our commentaries for every time they mention a Greek or Hebrew word. Although it won’t find words that have been transliterated into English characters, it will find words in Greek or Hebrew scripts.
This section is arranged according to lemmas in various books of the Bible, and we can get to the results for Jonah by expanding that heading. The Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Text has an extended discussion in the second result. Open that discussion by clicking on the highlighted Hebrew word.
Dennis Tucker summarizes that there are “two distinct meanings: 1) a sleep associated with revelation; 2) a deep sleep associated with being close to death.” He concludes, “Since revelation does not seem within the purview of the narrative, Magonet suggests this is the first hint at Jonah’s “death wish” (68). Although there are other words to convey sleep in Hebrew, the choice of רדם [radam] appears intentional in suggesting the full extent of Jonah’s movement (or lack thereof)—“going down,” “lying down,” “sleeping”—in response to the storm.” Tucker offers a reasonable interpretation that’s in line with our own findings.
Consulting Other Resources
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be satisfied with just one scholar’s interpretation. And we should beware of the danger of thinking that the lemma in passage section contains everything our library has to say about this word. Remember, transliterated words won’t show up in the Lemma in Passage.
For instance, Youngblood’s commentary on Jonah has a thorough discussion on both interpretations. After outlining the two main definitions, Youngblood writes, “In Jonah’s case the verb “he fell fast asleep” may suggest both experiences, adding to the irony of the prophet’s situation.” He then offers the pros and cons for both interpretations while concluding that the word “sleep” may be used to foreshadow the fact that Jonah will receive a second divine commission since he hears God’s same words, originally spoken in the opening verses of the book, now repeated by the ship’s captain. Let’s add this whole section to our clippings document.
While I cannot make a decision for you as to which of these options is correct or if both are in view, our study has demonstrated the importance of word studies, showcased the variety of opinions, and stressed the importance of understanding context in order to responsibly interpret a passage of Scripture. The tools in our Logos program have helped us in this endeavor immeasurably.
Let’s return to the biblical text and add a note about the interpretative options to the word “sleep” in verse six.
Let’s dive further into word studies with your assignments:
• Check two or three commentaries to see if they agree with your conclusions and add what they say to your Clipping file
• Conduct both an English word study and a Hebrew word study on at least two significant words in Jonah, comparing the English and Hebrew word studies of each word, and adding any insights you find to your Note file
Keep going, you’re doing great. In the next lesson we start a series of videos that focuses on the grammar of the passage.
• Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible Series
• Hearing the Message of Scripture Commentary
Logos Now Membership includes access to the Lemma in Passage section of Bible Word Study.
Research Words in the Original Languages: Senses
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Most English speakers are aware that English words have different senses. A leaf on a tree and turning over a new leaf are different senses of the word “leaf.” Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon, and the Sense Section in the Bible Word Study guide can help you distinguish these senses. Find out how in today’s lesson.
We’ve spent a good amount of time on the words of Jonah 1 so far. Roy Zuck has a name for what we are doing: “grammatical interpretation.” He defines it as, “the process of seeking to determine [the] meaning [of a passage] by ascertaining four things: (a) the meaning of words (lexicology), (b) the form of words (morphology), (c) the function of words (parts of speech), and (d) the relationships of words (syntax).”
When he speaks about lexicology, or the study of the use and meaning of words, Zuck specifies four methods we can use to help clarify the meaning of a word, “(a) etymology—how words are derived and developed, (b) usage—how words are used by the same and other authors, (c) synonyms and antonyms—how similar and opposite words are used, and (d) context—how words are used in various contexts.”
A) Etymology can help us understand a word’s meaning, but it tends to be useful only if the other three methods aren’t available for some reason. Etymology, can often be more entertaining than helpful. Words don’t always mean what they meant previously. Placing too much emphasis on a word’s etymology has led many people to interpret passages incorrectly. To read more about issues we might encounter with etymology and other word and exegetical fallacies, thoroughly familiarize yourself with D.A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies.
B) Several of the videos in this course have focused on examining usage. We’ve researched how words, phrases, and concepts are used by an individual author and in the rest of Scripture. Again, we must use caution with deriving too much meaning from other occurrences of the word, phrase, or concept, as the immediate context of a word plays a far larger role in determining that word’s meaning in a particular passage.
Information Panel and Lexicons
C) Synonyms and antonyms are a third helpful means for discovering the meaning of words in their contexts. They remind us that lexicons are helpful places for researching the range definitions for a word. Most lexicons include synonyms and antonyms, but they can also—as we have discovered—include definitions, discussions on word usage in the Bible and other contemporary literature, and surveys of etymology.
The “industry standard” lexicons for biblical study are The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, often called HALOT, and A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, often called BDAG. If you are doing serious Bible study, you should absolutely consider owning both of these indispensable resources. But there are many other lexicons to be discovered in Logos. One excellent lexicon included in most every base package of Logos 7 is the Dictionary of Biblical Languages.
Bible Sense Lexicon
D) If the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location; the three most important words in biblical interpretation are context, context, context. Words have different meanings in different contexts. For example, the word “run” means different things when I say, “I am going to run to the store at the end of the street,” than when I say, “I run the store at the end of the street.” This example shows two senses for the word “run.” Context is needed to understand the sense of the word intended by the writer or speaker.
Logos has categorized words by their senses so we can search for specific senses and find other verses that are categorized with the same sense we are studying. In earlier an lesson, we discussed the different ways the Hebrew word for “fear” is used with different meanings or senses. Searching for senses instead of words reinforces two important truths: the same word can convey different concepts, and context determines meaning; both of these truths are non-negotiables in our goal of producing accurate and responsible interpretations.
Let’s return to the word “afraid” in verse 5 and right-click on it. We notice the sense information is included in our context menu. When we select it, we can run a search on just this sense of the word “to fear (dread)” or open the Bible Sense Lexicon. We’ll open the Bible Sense Lexicon. Here, we notice Logos categorizes this instance of “to fear (dread)” under the domain of “Relationships.” We also find a number of other Hebrew lemmas associated with this same sense. We can click on any one of these words to run a Bible Word Study Report or any of the references to examine them in greater detail.
We’ll return to the text and right-click on “afraid” again. This time, we’ll select lemma, and run a Bible Word Study.
The Bible Word Study includes a section on senses with a number of options. Some of them are “to fear (dread),” “to be feared (reverence),” “to respect (honor),” and “to fear (reverence).” We already know that the use of “afraid” in verse 5 refers to a sense “dread.” So let’s look at a different usage, such as “to fear (reverence).” Click on this segment to reveal the references.
There are 91 citations, so we will need to expand the “more” option a couple of times to find out if this sense is used at all in Jonah. Sure enough, Logos confirms our feeling that there was something different about the author’s usage of yara in verse 16. The sailors express reverence towards Yahweh. Let’s scroll back up to the top of this section and click on the link to the Bible Sense Lexicon.
The Lexicon also lists this as a type of relationship within the broader domain of considering or reckoning. As we move to the right of the semantic tree, we find more specific expressions of “considering.” In our case, it is an expression of respect that is not simply admiration but reverence. And, more specifically, it is a worshipful fear.
If we want to explore this specific sense further let’s close out of the Bible Sense Lexicon and right-click on “feared” in verse 16. In the context menu, select “Sense to fear (reverence)” and on the left-hand side of the context menu choose to search this resource. Logos returns over 140 results from various Hebrew lemmas that all have the sense of “to fear (reverence).” This is an excellent way to study concepts and not just isolated words, in order to assist our work of interpretation, but also, to expand our appreciation for the rich variety of meaning and expression present in Scripture.
It’s your turn:
• Look through the search results for the sense “fear (reverence)” add any insight you find to your Note file
• Research the meaning of two other words in Jonah 1 by looking into their etymology, usage, definition in a lexicon (including their synonyms and antonyms), and context
In the next lesson, we’ll look at three other important areas of study for words and their meaning. See you then.
• Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy B. Zuck (also included in Starter)
• Exegetical Fallacies, Second Edition
• Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament
• A Greek—English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (a.k.a, BDAG, also included in Platinum)
Bronze includes these features:
• Bible Sense Lexicon
• Sense Section in Bible Word Study Guide
Research Words in the Original Languages: Grammatical and Semantic Roles
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Any software Bible can find every instance of “Jonah,” but it takes real-live humans hand-tagging the text if you want to find every instance in which “Jonah” shows up as a subject, or as an object. We’ll explore Grammatical Roles and Semantic Roles today, using them to find insight into Jonah’s story.
In the previous lesson, we highlighted Roy Zuck’s itemization of grammatical interpretation. Remember, he defines grammatical interpretation as, “the process of seeking to determine [a word’s] meaning by ascertaining four things: (a) the meaning of words (lexicology), (b) the form of words (morphology), (c) the function of words (parts of speech), and (d) the relationships of words (syntax).”
We covered the meaning of the words, or lexicology, in the last lesson. Let’s spend some time clarifying the last three. The study of a word’s form is called “morphology.” The letters in a word often change based on how the word is used in a sentence. For example, in English, we often add an “s” at the end of a noun to make it plural. Other words change entirely when they are plural, like “mice.” In Lesson 18, we used the Morph search to find where one Hebrew word is used in proximity to another Hebrew word. The Morph search can do even more advanced searching on the morphology of words, but you’ll typically need a foundation in Greek or Hebrew to use it comfortably.
Word Info and Exegetical Guide
By the very nature of their job, translators of Scripture take into account the form and function of words when they translate the text. Most translations of the Bible are very reliable when it comes to the morphology of words. And we can often identify the part of speech of a word from the translation itself. But, there will be times when a word’s morphology doesn’t translate fully into the English version.
If the morphology of a word is significant to its interpretation, or if a word’s function is changed to smooth a translation, most commentaries will address the issue. So if you aren’t using Logos, then certain technical commentaries will make you aware of important morphological issues. Two excellent examples include the New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments and the Word Biblical Commentary series.
If you are using Logos, you have the tools necessary to identify the form and function of biblical words in their original languages: these tools include the Information panel and the Exegetical guide. When we type a reference into the Go box, both the Information panel and the Exegetical guide open. When we click on a word, the Information panel displays a section called “Word Info.”
For example, let’s click on the word “presence” in Jonah 1:3. From the Word Info section, we can launch a Bible Word Study, search for the root of the word in the Bible, and explore the morphology of the word among other things. Logos identifies the morphology of this word as “noun, common, masculine, plural, construct.” If we need a refresher on these basic English grammar terms, we can hover over each one for a quick definition, or for more information we can click on the term to open the Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. We find the same information for every word in our passage in the Word by Word section of the Exegetical guide.
Let’s go a step further by looking at the grammatical relationships of words, or the syntax. Let’s move into verse four of Jonah 1, where we are immediately confronted by the striking imagery of the Lord “hurling” a mighty wind on the ocean. The graphic nature of this picture is remarkable, because the narrator could just as easily have said that God “sent” a wind or “caused” a storm. Indeed, the mention of the Lord’s involvement could have been excluded entirely. The question that immediately comes to my mind is, “Where else in the Bible is God said to throw something, and if so, do those other passages involve a context of judgment, blessing, or something else?” In other words, I want to try to understand the Lord’s intent in causing a storm in Jonah chapter 1.
To answer this question, we can run a Bible Word Study on the word טול [pronounced tool]. Right-click the word “hurled” at the beginning of verse 4. Select the lemma, or the dictionary form of the word, and run a Bible Word Study on the term. When the Bible Study window opens, we can scroll down to the Clause Participants section and expand it if necessary. The Clause Participants section shows us how different biblical entities interact with the verb we are studying.
At the top right, we are given two options: Grammatical roles and Semantic roles. When Grammatical roles is selected, we see other subjects and objects used with the verb for “hurled.” Notice that under the category titled “With Subject,” the first entry is God, and after his name is the number 4. We can then click the small arrow to the left of “God” to expand that entry and see that there are three other relevant passages where God is the subject of the verb “to hurl.”
Two things stand out to me immediately, and I hope they do for you as well. First of all, the three other references are also from the prophets; two from Jeremiah and one from Ezekiel. We might add to our Notes file the observation that the verb “hurl” is used with the Lord only in the prophetic books, never in other parts of the Bible. This becomes even more significant with our second observation: in all three other passages, the Lord is warning his people that he will hurl them out of the Promised land and into foreign territory for their rebellion.
Now, as interpreters of God’s word, we need to be careful here. On the one hand, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the Lord is only said to “hurl” something in a context of divine wrath and judgment. Even if this statement is ultimately true, we must take note that in the case of Jonah, the Lord is not actually or metaphorically throwing people, but throwing a force of nature. So the correspondence isn’t exactly one-for-one. So let’s look at the other category within the Clause Participants tool in order to gain another perspective on God’s activity here to aid our interpretation.
A semantic role is the real-world relationship that nouns have with verbs. In language, verbs only have meaning for hearers and readers when accompanied by context. That context is provided by additional information, typically supplied by nouns, and which linguists refer to as “semantic roles.” Each noun in a clause that relates in some way to a verb has a “role” in that context of providing context for the verb, resulting in a meaning that a reader can understand.
When we click the Semantic Roles option, we see various subcategories including “Theme” and “Agent.” The word “theme” may bring to mind the main idea or underlying meaning of a piece of literature, but don’t be confused; “theme” has another definition, as it’s used here as a Semantic Role. If you click on the word “Theme” itself then another resource appears, which is the The Lexham Glossary of Semantic Roles. There, we find the following definition: A theme is “Something that is moved from one place to another or that is located in a place; for example, “David threw the spear (Theme).” Obviously, the Lord moved this wind from one place to another and in a way that caused the narrator to describe the wind as “great,” “high,” or “mighty.”
So, when we want to know what exactly is “hurled” or “cast” in the Bible, we can look under the category of “Theme,” while God, who does the hurling, is found under the category of “Agent.” When we click on the word “Agent,” we find the following definition: “The person or thing that instigates an action or causes change in another person or thing; for example, ‘David (Agent) struck Goliath’ or ‘David (Agent) killed Goliath.’”
In Jonah 1:4, God “hurls” the wind. Thus, wind is the theme, or the thing that is moved from one place to another, which is another way of saying that God caused a great storm to occur!
Where things get really interesting, however, is when we look at the other Agents listed in the Semantic Roles category. After the entry for God, the next two entries parallel each other; “A Group of Men” and the “Mariners” are the same thing and include the same references. What we find is that the same verb used to describe the Lord’s mighty activity in bringing a storm upon the sea is also used to describe the actions of the sailors, and the words of Jonah, as every attempt is made to save the ship.
Now why should this matter to us, and what has the Semantic Roles tool helped us learn about Jonah 1? Well for starters, we might notice the extreme contrast between the power of God’s action in bringing a terrible storm, and the ineffective re-actions of the sailors in response to God’s display of power. God’s hurling of the wind is through his own initiative; the sailors hurling of cargo is merely reactionary. Second, Jonah’s advice to the sailors is striking, because he essentially says to the sailors, “God threw a storm at us; now you guys throw me to the storm.” There is a sense in which the sailors are being told to replicate the activity of God in order to save themselves; they are now the agents whose theme is Jonah, which we can verify by finding his name under the Themes category.
Finally, we can tentatively conclude at this point that the Lord’s action of hurling a wind against the sea was motivated by an elevated sense of divine judgment. How do we know this? Well, we just saw that the verb to “hurl” is used with God as the subject only elsewhere in the prophets. But furthermore, we see under our Semantic Roles category that when an agent in the Bible hurls something the action is motivated by extreme emotions. Look again under the subcategory “Agents,” where we also find the sailors, and Saul. The sailors were compelled to hurl the cargo overboard, and then throw Jonah, by an intense fear caused by the storm sent by God. Saul’s action of hurling a spear, once at David and another time at his own son, was motivated by fierce rage at the man who would replace him as king. Thus the verb “hurl” tends to be reserved for instances in the Bible where the agent of the activity is motivated by heightened emotions brought about by external circumstances. Is God then experiencing emotions of anger and rage? The text doesn’t give us that kind of information, but from our study to this point we do know that the narrator is painting a striking image of God throughout the book of Jonah. When God is described as “throwing” gale-force winds against a small sailing vessel on the open ocean, we can appreciate that the author is using every resource of language at his disposal to get his readers’ attention and take this story seriously. I think he has succeeded, whatever conclusions we come to.
Given these observations, it is a good idea to write them down in our Notes file as a valuable contribution to our ongoing exegesis of Jonah 1.
Here are your assignments:
• Investigate the other references in the Bible where the verb “to hurl” is used, this time focusing on the objects and themes which receive the action
• Turn to your Logos commentaries on Jonah 1:4 in order to compare your conclusions on the verb “hurl” and add any insights you find to your clipping file
Our study in this lesson was a bit technical. If you need more information on these concepts, Zuck’s work is helpful, and it’s part of most Logos 7 base packages. You can also contact a Logos Pro or ask your fellow students for help in the Study Jonah Faithlife group at faithlife.com/studyjonah.
• New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
• Word Biblical Commentary
Bronze includes these features:
• Grammatical Roles
• Semantic Roles
Research Words in the Original Languages: Grammatical Constructions
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There are no native speakers of ancient biblical Hebrew and ancient Koine Greek. When precision in understanding is important, we turn to grammars. Logos makes it simple to look up grammatical constructions and find grammatical guidance.
What do you think makes different languages distinct? When we read them, we recognize that the words and often the letters themselves are different. When we hear them spoken, we notice the distinct sounds and tone. Grammar is another level of difference. This is just as true for biblical Hebrew and Greek as it is for modern languages. Translating from Hebrew to English isn’t as simple as looking up a Hebrew word in lexicon, finding an English equivalent, and plugging that word into a sentence. Such a practice doesn’t take into account the unique grammar of each language. That’s exactly why Google Translate, while a modern technological marvel, isn’t actually any more accurate than a first-year language student (though it’s quite a bit faster).
Learning the grammar of a language takes time and exposure—there aren’t really any shortcuts. In previous lessons, we’ve looked at commentaries to find where both the usage and the morphology of words in a passage stand out. The same practice is wise when we are looking for places where the grammar of a passage is important.
There’s another place to look. In my own practice of interpretation, I make it a habit to consult the indices of the Greek and Hebrew grammars I own. This gives me an idea of every grammatical discussion I can find on the passage I’m studying. If you have a grammar or two, I commend this practice to you, along with looking at how your commentaries talk about the grammar of the passage.
As you might expect, the process I just described is time consuming. I have to pull each grammar off the shelf, turn to the index of each one, and then systematically work my way down every reference, turning to the different sections of each grammar to see the discussion. Sometimes the results are rewarding, sometimes it’s not worth the time. Logos makes us masters of efficiency in this important task.
When we typed a reference in the Go Box, it opened several resources and guides, including the Exegetical Guide. If you, like me, closed it for any reason, you can access it from the Guides menu. After it opens, let’s expand the Grammars section. Logos not only gathers our grammars and all their references to our passage in one location, it also arranges our results by grammatical categories such as phonology, etymology, and morphology. We can sort our results by subject, which Logos does by default, or we can sort by resource. I like to scan my results by resource, so let’s select this option.
When we expand the results for A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, there’s a discussion of various Hebrew verb forms. The authors discussion how the jussive, imperative, and cohortative forms work within Hebrew. Here in Jonah 1:11, we have a cohortative verb within the context of a question. Instead of translating it as, “what shall we do to you, and the sea may quiet down?,” the grammar construction in the Hebrew indicates purpose. So we would translate it instead as, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down?”
In A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew: Revised English Edition, there’s a discussion of the Hebrew preposition ‘al. The authors provide a number of different uses for this preposition such as “cause, for the excess of one thing over another, the addition of one thing to another, for proximity (near [to]).” But at the bottom of this paragraph, there is an interesting explanation for the compound preposition me‘al: “The compound preposition me‘al is used to mark relief from a harassment … may the sea quiet down for us.” In Jonah, the sailors are beaten down and without relief. They have been harassed by the storm and have done everything possible to escape its power. As we saw in the previous grammar, they have now sought council to determine what they must do so that the sea may quiet down.
Let’s add these insights to our Note file.
Although both of these grammatical insights are evident in our English translations, responsible interpretation demands investigating why certain translational decisions were made and how they were justified. Additionally, if we’re serious about learning the biblical languages, finding explanations for odd grammatical features like these is essential to learning the language.
If you’ve found this process helpful and want to add close to a hundred resources related to the grammar of the Bible, check out the GrammarsCollection at Logos.com.
Hebrew Grammatical Constructions
The Exegetical guide also contains a section entitled “Grammatical Constructions.” For this feature, the scholars at Logos analyzed every passage in the Bible and noted where important grammatical constructions appear.
We can hover over each label to see a definition and example of the grammatical construction’s use—or click the label to read the article. As a student of biblical Hebrew and Greek, I love this section. Certain constructions within this section will immensely aid in our interpretation of the Bible. For others, however, they will simply aid in our understanding of how biblical Hebrew operates as a language.
The results we find here in Jonah 1:1–16 are of the later kind. Verbless clauses are a very common manner of constructing predicate clauses within Hebrew. You can read in depth about their significance by clicking on the heading and going to the More Information section of the glossary. Within this section, there is a link to Cynthia Miller’s extended work on The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew. If you don’t have this resource in your library and you’re a language nerd like me, I encourage you to pick it up and settle in for technical discussion that will expand your understanding of biblical Hebrew.
Your assignments focus on the grammar of the passage:
• Use the Grammars section of the Exegetical guide to find other grammatically significant constructions and add any insights you find to your Note file
You have probably heard about ancient biblical manuscripts and their significance for the interpretation of the biblical text. You may have also heard that, because they were hand-copied, they differ from each other in places. In the next lesson, we’ll look at the important work of textual criticism and how Logos gives us access to this scholarly discipline.
• A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (also included in some Denominational Base Packages)
• A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew: Revised English Edition (also included in some Denominational Base Packages)
• The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew
• Grammars Collection (94 vols.)
Research Words in the Original Languages: Textual Variants
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The first Hebrew Bible to be printed on a press came some 3000 years after the first words of that Bible were put to parchment (or papyrus, or whatever Moses used to write the Pentateuch). That means that scribes had to make copies and pass them down through the centuries. And that means minor scribal errors raise questions about the precise wording of certain biblical texts. Logos provides tools for beginners to learn about biblical manuscripts and experts to study them.
In the previous lessons, we’ve observed and interpreted the words in Jonah 1:1–16. But an important part of interpretation is ensuring that the words we’re observing and interpreting actually belong in the passage.
In our modern age, we take for granted the near-perfect presentation of data. Computers, storage devices, and printing ensure that a document can be accurately reproduced centuries after its creation. But this is not how the biblical texts were preserved.
Original manuscripts were written by hand and copied by scribes to be disbursed and preserved for years to come. Scribes could not possibly make perfectly identical copies of any lengthy book; mistakes due to human error, whether caused by fatigue, poor hearing or otherwise, were expected and normal. But the arrival of the Gutenberg Press and movable type in the West, made the goal of perfect textual accuracy possible, though it didn’t make it probable: the famous “Wicked Bible” of 1631 left out a key word in the seventh commandment, reading, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Minor errors creep into any work done by the human hand.
No one can deny that ancient manuscripts of the Bible differ. And all the “textual variants” between manuscripts (spelling changes, word order changes, missing or added words) can be traced to either finitude or fallenness: either people made mistakes or they made changes. Try copying a long document and see how you do.
For this reason, it’s important to engage in the science of establishing which variant is original. Determining the originality of textual variants is a field of study named “textual criticism,” and though this is something of an advanced topic, there are several tools in Logos that will orient us to the topic and get us on our way.
Exploring Biblical Manuscripts
If you’re completely new to Textual Criticism, Logos has devised an excellent interactive tool that introduces us to the basics of the field. The Exploring Biblical Manuscripts interactive can be opened from the tools menu. From the Tools menu, we’ll click the “all interactive resources” link. Within the list of interactives, we’ll find Exploring Biblical Manuscripts.
Once open, we can explore the interactive by walking through it step by step or by going to the menu and looking for a specific topic. The menu gives us a table of contents, allowing us to discover what’s contained within the interactive and let’s us jump to the subject we want to learn more about.
Let’s explore this interactive for a minute. The first slide we encounter contains a section of the Great Isaiah Scroll and a definition of “manuscript” and “autograph.” “A manuscript is a handwritten copy of an existing writing. The word manuscript comes from the Latin manu (hand) and scriptum (written). The original writing is called the autograph, from the Greek autos (self) and graphas (written).”
Let’s click to see the next slide. Here we’re presented with helpful information about surviving biblical manuscripts. The Hebrew Bible has 252 surviving manuscripts. This number is further broken down into portions of the Hebrew Bible that have been preserved and how many existing manuscripts represent each portion: there are 75 manuscripts containing the Law, 25 containing History, 100 containing Wisdom, 25 containing Prophets, and 15 containing the Minor Prophets. There are three other sections we can explore: the LXX, which contains Greek translations of the Old Testament, the Greek NT, and Ancient Manuscripts, such as the Iliad, Plato, and others.
I encourage you to walk through this tool on your own to learn more about “Writing in the Ancient World,” the preservation of “The Hebrew Bible,” including its composition and transmission, “The Greek Bible,” and “Other Versions.”
If the topic of Old Testament Textual Criticism interests you, I encourage you to get two different resources. The first is Ellis Brotzman’s Old Testament Textual Criticism. Brotzman’s work will give you an in-depth introduction to the field, the principles of textual criticism, and how to properly evaluate a textual variant.
Another helpful resource is Mike Heiser’s MobileEd course on How We Got the Old Testament. Let’s open this course in Logos’ new Courses Tool, available in Logos 7, by going to the Tools Menu and selecting Courses tool. On the left side, we can sort by Mike Heiser, and then choose How We Got the Old Testament.
The Courses tool guides you step-by-step through key resources, tools, and readings that center on a particular topic or area of study so that you know where to go next and can track your progress. Once we’ve chosen a course, the tool provides us with a description and the required resources for the readings within it. We also find the number of sessions in the course: How We Got the Old Testament has 106. Studying “at my own pace” won’t provide us with any reminders, but we can change this to every day, or specific days. Since I like to have a schedule for every weekday, I’ll enable the “each” option, select all the weekdays, and then click start.
Once the tool generates our new plan, we see that there’s a table of contents to the left with dates assigned. Here we can navigate ahead to certain topic, if we’re interested. For instance, I’m interested in hearing about the Septuagint, so let’s navigate to “A Period of Ancient Translations” and open this segment. An orange dot appears next to the session I’ve selected.
The beauty of the Courses tool is that the readings and videos for all the sessions are contained within the tool: We don’t have to leave this tool to open up other resources. For MobileEd courses, this means we can watch the video and follow along in the manuscript at the same time.
Once we’ve completed the session, clicking “continue” at the top right of the menu will save our progress. Once all the readings in this section have been completed, the tool shows us that this session is 100% completed and the entire plan is 1% completed.
Textual Variants in Jonah
How do we apply this new knowledge about textual criticism to Jonah? Douglas Stuart has an excellent commentary on Jonah in the Word Biblical Commentary series. In this commentary, he not only provides an excellent analysis of the text, but also includes extensive text critical notes.
For instance, here in Jonah 1:9 Stuart’s translation includes a note about the phrase, “I am a Hebrew.” We can click on the superscripted “a” to read about the textual differences here. Stuart writes that the Septuagint translates the Hebrew as doulos kuriou, or “servant of the Lord.” This translation “stems from a misreading of עברי as … עבדי and compensatory scribal insertion of the remainder of the divine name perhaps under the influence of 2 Kgs 14:25.”
Since the Hebrew letters dalet and resh look so similar and because ancient Hebrew manuscripts lacked vowel pointings, it would be very easy to confuse these two words. The translator, presuming that the identifying designation “of the Lord” had been dropped adds it back in his translation.
When we hover over 2 Kgs 14:25, we can see exactly what Douglas means when he says that the Septuagint translation might be influenced by 2 Kings: Jonah is identified as the Lord’s servant.
Textual Variants Section
If you’re wondering how to quickly find if a passage has a textual variant, Logos’ Exegetical Guide is an excellent tool. We should already have the guide open from the previous lesson. The first section of this guide is Textual Variants. Here, Logos lists all the textual commentaries, apparatuses, editions, transcriptions, and ancient versions within our library that discuss Jonah 1:9.
If you have the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Apparatus in your library, it might surprise you that it isn’t listed under apparatuses. That’s because the editors didn’t find the variant “I am a servant of the Lord” instead of “I am a Hebrew” to be of enough significance to list: it is clear how the change arose. Since we know of the existence of the variant in the Septuagint from Stuart’s commentary, we can still use the Apparatuses section: notice there are textual differences between the Septuagint texts. In the second apparatus of the Göttingen Septuagint, which represents later revisions of the Old Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible, that Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion all change “I am a servant of the Lord” back to “I am a Hebrew.”
Whether this variant was motivated by a desire to connect the Jonah of our book to 2 Kings or a simple error due to sight or poor legibility of the copied manuscript, “I am a Hebrew” is clearly regarded by scholars as the original reading.
Before wrapping up this lesson, I want to make you aware of two interactives in Logos that will help you as you continue to learn about textual criticism. In Logos 7, we released the Hebrew Bible Manuscript Explorer and the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer. For the New Testament, we have also released the New Testament Manuscript Explorer. These explorers catalog known existing manuscripts and give important details about each such as contents, date, language, and textual categories. Manuscript names in blue indicate that you have a transcribed copy of this manuscript in your library, which you can click to open. Expanding the drop-down of a manuscript provides more information at a glance, as well as a link to photos of that manuscript online when available.
I hope this fly-by introduction to the very important field of textual criticism has been both illuminating and of great help to your study of Jonah.
Here is your assignment:
• Use the Textual Variants section of the Exegetical guide to observe other textual variants that occur in Jonah 1:1–16
We are finally done with Step 7 in our Bible study method. In the next video, we move on to the second and last step in the Interpretation stage. See you then!
• Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 31: Hosea-Jonah
• Old Testament Textual Criticism
• Mobile Ed: OT281 How We Got the Old Testament
• Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: SESB with Apparatus
• Göttigen Septuagint
Bronze includes these features:
• Exploring Biblical Manuscripts Interactive
• Manuscript Explorer Interactives
• Courses Tool
• Textual Variants Section in the Exegetical Guide
Understand the Purpose through Structure
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One of the six steps of Benjamin Bloom’s famous Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain, used at all levels of education, is “Analyze.” This means to break something down into more manageable pieces. Logos provides means of doing this through Sentence Diagrams, propositional outlines, and the Hebrew Discourse Features visual filter. Make your own flow diagrams, or use tools ready made for you.
Step 8: Outline and Interpret the Passage and Check Your Interpretation with the Interpretation of Others
We spent the last several lessons in Jonah 1:1–16 looking at the word and phrase level in order to find the author’s intended meaning. Now, we will outline the passage to see how structure informs our understanding of the text.
This is part of the eighth step in our Bible study method: we will outline the passage and then come to a conclusion about its overall meaning. Then, we will check our interpretation with the interpretation of others. In this lesson, we’ll outline the passage and in the next lesson we’ll determine its overall meaning and check that against other interpreters.
The structure of a biblical passage communicates truth just as individual words and sentences do. The writers of Scripture, both the human and divine persons, arranged their material methodically into discernible literary structures. A good interpretative practice is to identify this structure and create an outline of the text based on that same structure.
To analyze the structure of a passage, all we really need are our notes from the observation and interpretation stages, a tool to write with, and the passage we are studying. So, if you aren’t using Logos, you could use a pencil and a pad of paper or a word processor. In this video, we’ll use Logos’ sentence diagramming tool.
From the Documents menu, let’s choose Sentence Diagram. We’ll use this tool to create a Sentence Flow diagram.
Sentence Flow diagrams break a passage up into smaller units and then arrange these units according to the relationships they have with one another.
Let’s give our document a name and add the passage we are studying by clicking on “Insert passage” and typing our reference. We’ll press enter, choose the version of the Bible we prefer, and select “Text flow diagram.”
When creating sentence flow outlines, I find it helpful to clearly delineate the content of a character’s speech, and when the narrative shifts from one character to another. So let’s begin.
We know from our study of this narrative that Jonah 1:1–2 includes God’s call for Jonah to go to Nineveh. Since we want to clearly indicate speech, let’s drag verse 2 under the main clause. Then we’ll break up the passage with each clause. If you want to be more specific in your text flow diagram, you can indent dependent clauses such as “because their evil has come up before me” underneath the clause they depend upon. When we come to verse 3, we see Jonah’s response to God’s command. Let’s bring this back to the main line and separate it by an extra space to indicate that a different character is acting. Within verse 3, there are five clauses we can break apart to see the flurry of action Jonah undertakes in order to get as far away from God as possible.
In verse four, we find that Yahweh is once again the subject of the action; he hurls a wind upon the sea. As before, let’s break this apart and create extra space since the story has once again shifted to a different character.
I encourage you to walk through each verse like this until you create your own sentence flow diagram. In order to save time in this video, here is my completed diagram.
Notice how much easier it is to track what happens in the story. In verses 1–2, Yahweh calls Jonah. Jonah flees in verse 3. God hurls a storm in the first part of verse 4, and in the second part of the verse the ship thinks about breaking up. The sailors react with fear and hurl the ship’s contents to the sea. Jonah’s actions are contrasted with the sailors’ in the second part of verse 5, when he goes to the inner parts of the ship to sleep. In verse 6, the captain wakes Jonah and tells him to call upon his god, and then in verses 7–8 the sailors cast lots, discover the responsible party, and question Jonah. Verse 9 identifies Jonah’s God and the cause of the storm. Once again the sailors react with fear because now they know that Jonah is fleeing from Yahweh’s presence. Here the author makes the implicit cause of the storm explicit: “because he was fleeing from the presence of Yahweh.” We might remember the phrase “from the presence of Yahweh” from verse 3.
The narrative continues with the sailors asking Jonah what this can do to avert the disaster he has brought upon them. Instead of casting him to the sea as Jonah instructs, they try to row with all their might to shore. Once again the sailors demonstrate piety: even though throwing Jonah to the storm may quell the storm, they are reluctant to lay hands on a prophet of Yahweh. Unable to return to shore, the sailors call out to Yahweh petitioning him for forgiveness for what they are about to do. Finally, the storm ceases and the sailors worship Yahweh.
When we see how the narrative unfolds and how the characters interact with one another, we obtain new and beneficial perspectives through which to analyze the narrative. One thing this outline has impressed upon me is how high the tensions are throughout the first chapter up until the end of verse 15. Conflict exists between all the characters: Yahweh, Jonah, the captain, and the sailors. This anxious tension isn’t lifted until God exposes Jonah’s guilt through the lot and the sailors comply with Jonah’s irreligious order to be cast into the sea.
While outlining the passage ourselves is most beneficial because it forces us to think deeply about underlying narrative structure, the propositional outlines visual filter is a helpful tool we can use to make sure we are understanding the structure of the text correctly. Whether used as a time saver or to check the work we’ve done on our own, this is a powerful tool we should employ in our exegesis of any text.
Let’s look at how to access this tool for our study of Jonah. We’ll click out of the sentence diagramming tool and return to the biblical text. From here, click on the Visual Filters icon and select “Propositional outlines.” The text of the Bible is now divided into clauses. The scholars at Faithlife have tagged each clause to identify how it relates to the clauses around it. Most of the label meanings are intuitive, but we can hover over any label to get additional information.
For instance, in verse 4 we find the heading “Topic.” Hovering over this label provides the definition, “The speaker is introducing participants or concepts, or drawing attention to participants or concepts (especially in comparisons and contrasts).” Notice where this label appears: 1:4a, 4d, and 5d. We noted earlier in our studies the quick shifts between characters in Jonah 1. The Propositional Outlines of the Old Testament draw our attention to the fact that the biblical author uses a specific grammatical or discourse feature in the Hebrew text to highlight these shifts.
Discourse Features Visual Filter (Hebrew)
Another excellent tool for understanding the flow and structure of a passage is the Discourse Features Visual Filter, which is available with a Logos Now membership. This Visual Filter uses the data from Steve Runge and Josh Westbury’s work on the discourse features of the Old and New Testaments. To access it, click on the Visual Filters icon again, deselect the Propositional Outlines Visual Filter, and then enable the Discourse Features (Hebrew) Visual Filter.
Like the Propositional Outlines, this visual filter structures our English text and provides us with more information through labels applied by trained biblical scholars. Again we find the label Topic in verses 4 and 5. We also find, as we scroll down a bit in the chapter, some bolded text. This tells us that the author chose to emphasize a particular part of a clause in the original language in order to make that element more prominent in the reader’s mind. “From the presence of Yahweh” is precisely the phrase we identified as repeated in verse 3.
As you can see, the tools Logos provides us with for outlining a passage enable us to go deeper in our study through analysis of structure.
Here are your assignments:
• Construct your own block diagram of Jonah 1:1–16 and think through additional implications the structure of this passage has on its meaning
• Explore the Old Testament Propositional Outlines labels and structure and see how that relates to your own work
• Explore the Discourse Features outline and the notations it provides looking for how it contributes to your understanding of the structure of Jonah 1:1–16
Today we outlined Jonah 1:1–16 to help us understand its meaning. It’s a practice I hope you will start using in your own Bible study. In one of the first videos of this course, we mentioned the benefit of slowing down our reading of Scripture. Outlining the structure of the passage does just that. See you in the next lesson.
Bronze includes these features:
• Sentence Diagramming documents
• Propositional Outlines
Logos Now Membership includes access to Greek and Hebrew Discourse Features.
Summarize the Big Idea of the Text
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The authors of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning stress over and over again that it is not mere repetition but spaced-out recall which most aids learning. It’s hard work, but forcing your brain to regurgitate what you’ve placed in it seems to cement what you’ve learned in your memory. Let’s look at how taking, tagging, and searching notes can you help you learn Jonah.
Step 8: Outline and Interpret the Passage and Check Your Interpretation with the Interpretation of Others
Why does the author of Jonah portray an actual prophet of God in such a bad light? If Jonah really is a messenger of the Lord, then shouldn’t he be presented as submissive to God’s will, eager to preach a message of salvation to people ignorant of God’s wrath? What is the purpose of having a story in the Bible where the main human character sets such a horrible example from the opening verses? Ultimately, what is the main idea that the author is trying to get his readers to grasp in Jonah 1:1–16 through the actions of Jonah and God?
In this video, we’ll try to answer that question by looking through the notes we’ve made throughout the course and by remembering what we learned from the structure of the passage. One of the most beneficial things we can do after we’ve done the work of observation and interpretation is to sum up the passage in one overarching statement. The statement should be general enough to encompass the themes of the passage, but specific enough for us to understand what the writer of the passage wanted to communicate.
Notes: Tagging and Searching
Over the last twenty-four lessons, we’ve investigated Jonah 1:1–16 closely and found significant insight into the passage. Our text is full of note icons just from the insights from the videos. If you’ve also been doing the homework, you have even more notes to benefit from. Your notes are organized by verse numbers, but it would help us understand the text better if we could organize our notes by major emphases. If you are using the pen and paper method, you can transfer your notes to note cards and begin organizing them. With Logos, we can use the tagging feature for our notes and clippings.
The first step we should take is to read through our notes and clippings. As we do so, we’ll look for central ideas. As I went through my notes and quotations, two main ideas were prominent. The first centered on the actions of Jonah. The second centered on what God was doing. I then tagged each of my notes and clippings with either “Jon1:Jonah” or “Jon1:God” by hovering over the note, clicking on the drop down menu, and selecting “Add a tag.” I found a small number of notes that did not fit either category and did not constitute a central theme, so I left them untagged.
When we press Control “F,” or Command “F” on a Mac, Logos brings up a find box in our notes file. We can use this to search for our tags so that we can read through the ones we categorized with each tag.
Let’s summarize our results. First, the title character of the book, Jonah, is probably the worst example of a prophet we could imagine. At the very least, he defies every expectation of what a prophet sent by God is supposed to do. Jonah is sent one direction, and goes the complete opposite. Jonah is an ironic character who stands in complete contrast to the rest of the minor characters in the book, including the pious sailors and wicked Ninevites. Rather than being an example to the readers of the book, by displaying humility, obedience, and compassion, Jonah’s actions and words in the first sixteen verses of the book reveal a man who is bitter, begrudging, lazy, and rebellious. He is disobedient, and he knows it and says as much to the sailors whose actions are the very opposite of his own; they fear Yahweh. Although he understands that he is running from God, he presumes upon the mercy of God by expressing gratitude for deliverance before such deliverance had occurred. And this is actually the point: Jonah stands as a microcosm of the disobedient people of Israel. Their mission to the nations was to be a light of the hope that is found in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but their sin instead brought upon them the wrath of God. This brings us to our other primary observation.
The second main point concerns the actions of God. The first chapter of Jonah is actually not so much about Jonah as it is about Jonah’s God. Yahweh stands as the central figure in a brief yet dynamic narrative which is driven at every point by his actions. The Lord calls his prophet Jonah; he throws a tempest in his prophet’s way; he determines the casting of the lots to fall on Jonah; he stirs up the sea to prevent the sailors from reaching land; he causes his prophet to be cast into the seething ocean; and not least of all, he elicits a response of sincere religious piety from pagan sailors. Indeed, from the very opening words of the book, the word of Yahweh is featured as the presiding agent which sets all the moving pieces into motion. When Jonah attempts drastic measures to evade God’s command, the command is subsequently repeated from the the mouth of a pagan ship captain. And even when the divinely-ordained prophet of the Lord reneges on his calling to preach against a city of wicked pagans, demonstrating a complete lack of biblical “fear,” the Lord ends up being worshipped by no-name sailors who actually “fear” his power displayed in a mighty tempest at sea.
Our passage is thus a combination of themes which are integral to each other. God does not function in a vacuum, but his word acts in the realm of human experience. Although his compassionate mission to save lost humanity might not be shared by the very people he has called to share his message of liberation and rescue, his purposes are untouchable by even the most resilient of detractors. Jonah’s counter-mission, to flee as far as possible away from Nineveh and thus deny that people God’s message of hope, was turned on its head when a group of pagan sailors responded with fear and worship of Jonah’s God. When we view Jonah 1 from this perspective, taking our primary focus off of Jonah and onto God, we are presented with a clear picture of God’s care both for large number of people, namely the Ninevites, but also his desire for individuals to call upon his name, as did the sailors. This was only possible because God was in control from the very start. Jonah’s actions were no surprise, but an occasion for deliverance.
This is the message of Jonah 1:1–16: God is absolutely sovereign over all of his creation, and his mission to save will not be thwarted by any attempts to the contrary, especially including the rank rebellion of one of his very own chosen instruments of deliverance, namely, defiant Jonah. In a word, God’s word sets into motion events which defy expectations in the unstoppable accomplishment of its purpose.
Your assignments mirror the steps we took in this video:
• Go through your own notes and clippings and identify central ideas
• Tag your notes and clippings according to these central ideas
• Write out a summary statement of the central meaning of Jonah 1:1–16
You’re doing great! Five more lessons and you’ll complete the course! In the next lesson, we’ll compare our interpretation with that of others to make sure we haven’t missed anything or come to any wrong conclusions.
• The Hermeneutical Spiral
• The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People
Check Commentaries for Interpretation
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You are not the first person to read Jonah. Or the thousandth. Other Christians have been reading it for centuries, and they have written down their insights in commentaries. At this stage in the Observe-Interpret-Apply process—now that you have already done your own hard work in the text—you are ready to take advantage of others’ work. You have raised questions they will answer, and you have stocked your mind with details they will rely on as they write. Turn to commentaries too early, however, and you won’t get the full benefit.
Step 8 (cont.): Outline and Interpret the Passage and Check Your Interpretation with the Interpretation of Others
We are nearing the end of the interpretive stage of our Bible study. We spent a lot of time observing and interpreting the text. We outlined the text and then did our best to encapsulate its meaning into one statement.
When we interpret the Bible, we have the potential of making mistakes, maybe because we missed something in the text or more often we have either a preconceived idea about what the text means or an interpretive axe to grind and ignore the intended meaning of the author. Many of us who communicate God’s Word to others can identify with this tendency because we feel we need to address the issues that we perceive are pertinent to our audience. It’s not a malicious mistake, but it’s still a mistake. The eighth step of our Bible study method includes a way to guard ourselves from making such mistakes: checking our conclusions against those of others.
There’s a healthy balance involved. We will benefit much more from Bible study if we do the work ourselves. Our understanding of God’s Word will only stand to gain when we invest the time to slowly read the text and make observations, to carefully research the context of the passage, and to identify important words and research them. That’s exactly why we’ve reserved this specific step of looking at commentaries for the end. Though we have used commentaries throughout this study for information about context, to confirm our observations, and to even offer interpretive aid, they haven’t been the main focus of our study. The biblical text has. Commentaries are an immense help and a true grace from God, but we should not allow them to hijack our Bible study. They should not be the first place we look, but they definitely should be a place we look—especially when we’ve developed our own conclusions about the passage.
The quality and purpose of commentaries varies. We’ve linked to some of the best commentaries on Jonah throughout this course, but the best person to provide commentary recommendations is someone you respect and who has taken the time to shepherd and teach you personally. If you have questions about a particular resource, you can also contact the Logos Pro team or ask the community in the Study Jonah Faithlife group.
The commentaries section of the Passage guide is our “goto” for the commentaries in our library. We can always use paper commentaries, but flipping to the relevant parts of the commentary can be tedious and, if we have more than three or four, they will soon take up all of the space on our desk. If you use commentaries in Logos, the relevant information is one click away. Citing them is as easy as a simple copy and paste. And even better still, you can take all of your commentaries with you wherever you go. The order of the commentaries that shows up in the Passage guide depends on how you’ve prioritized your commentaries. To prioritize commentaries, we open our library, click prioritize, and drag the commentaries in the order we want. When we drag an individual commentary that is part of a larger series, Logos automatically prioritizes that whole commentary set. Let’s look at one main result.
Here’s a trick to locate all of the commentaries on Jonah. Using the search bar, input the search command “subject:jonah” and Logos will populate the library window with the commentaries that touch on this book of the Bible.
If you were to scan all of these commentaries, especially those of a more critical nature, you’d find that often times commentators disagree as to what the purpose of Jonah is. Some argue that the story is satirical allegory while others interpret it as history, satire though it maybe. However, the Tyndale OT commentary series on Jonah puts it best when it states on page 88, “Jonah is first and foremost a didactic work.” In other words, rather than just being a colorful and entertaining story, the book of Jonah exists to teach its readers a lesson—or a number of lessons for that matter. Then drawing from the insights of other scholars throughout the years, gives us a list of key lessons emphasized throughout this unforgettable narrative: like the lesson of repentance. And in an ensuing paragraph our author notes that an ancient interpreter named Jerome believed that Jonah was composed to encourage Jews to repent. If pagan sailors and wicked Ninevites could respond with repentance to prophetic preaching, Jewish hearers ought to do likewise. The great intent of the book and its author is to teach a universal truth about a just and merciful God, namely that his condemnation may be altered when mankind turns to him in genuine repentance.
We shouldn’t just rely on one commentary if we don’t have to, so our assignments will involve reading other commentaries.
Citations and Bibliographies
But before we get there, let’s quickly look at some of the most helpful features for transferring our study from Logos to a word processor. At any point during our research, we can transfer quotations from Logos to a different program. When we copy the text from the quotation we mentioned earlier and paste it into a Word document, Logos automatically includes a footnote with the bibliographical details. If we’re working on a research paper, this will save us a ton of time. We can choose the citation style by choosing “Program Settings” from the Tools menu and selecting our desired citation style.
Once we’ve finished our research, we can build a bibliography quickly from our Clippings document. As long as we’ve added a clipping from each of the resources we want to cite, we can save it as a bibliography by opening our Clippings file from the Documents menu, clicking on the panel menu, and selecting “Save as Bibliography.” After we’ve chosen the citation style, we can export it to our word processor.
Here are your assignments:
• Read the sections on Jonah 1:1–16 in at least three of your commentaries and add any insight you find to your Clipping document
• Create a bibliography with the resources from your Clipping document on Jonah 1 and export it to a word processor
Great work! See you next lesson when we finalize the interpretation stage by looking at the doctrinal implications of our passage.
• Tyndale Old Testament Commentary: Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (also included in Gold)
Explore the Doctrinal Implications of the Passage
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Our last interpretation step is to turn to systematic and biblical theologies to see what they say about Jonah 1:1–16.
Step 8 (cont.): Outline and Interpret the Passage and Check Your Interpretation with the Interpretation of Others
A final step in the interpretation stage, though, by no means a less essential one, is to check for doctrinal implications in our passage. Ideally, Christian doctrine should develop from what we read in biblical texts. We should allow an unbiased interpretation of the biblical text to dictate what we believe. The problem we have, though, is that we all have biases to one degree or another. This shouldn’t discourage us from interpreting the Bible; rather, it should encourage us to recognize our biases and do our best to counteract them with devotion to sound interpretation—allowing the text to continually correct our biases as we study the Bible more.
That’s why it’s helpful to incorporate the findings of different theological fields into our own understanding of the text. This gives us a broader perspective of the interpretation of the passage and how it is used among the various strands of Christianity.
Two fields of theological investigation are particularly important: systematic theology and biblical theology.
Systematic theologies organize the Bible and other sources of revelation into logical categories, weighing how all revelation fits into a coherent understanding of God and his expectations for creation. Biblical theologies seek to understand doctrine through the historical progression of divine revelation. Both disciplines adamantly seek to know God and his words. Likewise, both disciplines are crucial for grasping the theological implications of a text.
Let’s look at a couple ways to use Logos to identify the doctrinal implications of Jonah 1.
The easiest way to comb through your theological resources for references to a passage is to use the Passage Guide. As we looked at in previous lessons, the Passage Guide is extremely robust and fit for a number of different tasks. But for this lesson, we’re going to use it to unearth theological implications. To begin, highlight Jonah 1:1–6 and right-click in the highlighted portion. Make sure the passage we’ve selected is highlighted in the right-hand column of the context menu, and then choose to run a new Passage Guide from the left. For this lesson, I want us to focus our attention on the theological sections of the report. Together, the three sections highlighted provide nearly two thousand years of theological insight for any passage in the Bible.
Let’s begin by expanding the Systematic Theologies section and learn what implications Jonah 1:1–6 has on Christian doctrine. While this passage is referenced in a number of theological resources, the hits are easy to navigate because Logos organizes them into sub-categories like Theology Proper, which is the study of God; Bibliology, which is the study of the Bible; Christology and so forth. To discover theological implications that relate to the study of God, expand the Theology Proper section. Notice how Logos lists every place where this passage is referenced in this sub-discipline within our theological library and how it organizes them further by denominational affiliation.
Under the Reformed section, notice what Calvin has to say about Jonah 1:4. He professes with great conviction that God uses natural occurrences, like the whirlwind in Jonah, to bring about his plan. He even goes so far as to say that, ” no wind ever arises or increases except by God’s express command,” a point attested to throughout the OT. Elsewhere, as in Psalms 103 and 104, as well as in 106 and 107, the Bible speaks about God using the wind and sea for his divine purpose, controlling the seemingly uncontrollable to bring about his established will. To jump to any of these texts, simply click the link and Logos will open your preferred bible to that passage. And this is what systematic theologies uniquely provide; a way to look at a doctrine from multiple passages. If you want to quickly catalog the references noted by Calvin, or any other theologian for that matter, simply highlight the section, right-click and choose Save as Passage List. This action will automatically save the verses and passages in a document that you can name and store for further review.
The Biblical Theologies section works the same way. Simply open the section to find references from your biblical theological resources and once again expand the sub-disciple section Theology Proper. Notice here that we have an abundance of hits from a particular reference work called the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, a resource that I highly recommend. What I love about this resource is that it offers a biblical theology on each book of the Bible. So if you want to understand how the book of Jonah and it’s theology fit with the progress of divine revelation, simply click the link for the section title to jump to this informative entry by Paul Ferguson. Here he touches on the implications of Jonah for the study of God, humankind, ethics, and salvation.
In this latter section we learn more about God and his salvation, namely that he owns salvation and will graciously provide life to any nation willing to repent and follow him. Ferguson notes that there is heavy emphasis on the works or actions associated with the salvation of the Ninevites, namely those performed by their leader. “In 3:10, God sees that the deeds of the Ninevites are an outgrowth of their belief in God (3:5).” This in no way contradicts the teaching that salvation is by faith but rather highlights the appropriate actions associated with such an awesome, gracious salvation.
So even in one of the smallest books of the Bible, we learn a great deal about God. First, that his power and providence extend to the natural elements of the world he created. Second, that his judgment does not overshadow his willingness to save all those who repent. Feel free to continue scanning results from these sections of the passage guide to discover more about the theological significance of this opening passage in Jonah, like what does Jonah teach us about the Holy Spirit or the Word of God? You can discover these insights by simply expanding the subsections and jumping to the search result in your theological resources.
Here are your assignments:
• Continue to survey your results from the Systematic and Biblical theologies section.
• Add at least three significant theological insights that pertain to Jonah 1 to your Clippings file.
We are done with the interpretation stage. Tomorrow we jump into application. We’ll begin to answer the question, “What does this passage mean to me?”
• Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (also included in Starter)
• John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (also included in Bronze)
• Systematic Theologies Collection (183 vols.)
• Biblical Theology Collection (21 vols.)
• Confessional Documents Collection (95 vols.)
Bronze includes these sections in the Passage Guide:
• Systematic Theologies
• Biblical Theologies
• Confessional Documents
Part 3: Application
Apply the Passage
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If you don’t apply the text of Scripture to your personal life, it is a “dead letter” to you. Much more importantly, you are somehow evading the authority of your Creator. But if you’re a child of God, a citizen in his kingdom, you will delight to discover and obey his will for you in the book of Jonah. Today we’ll set Bible software aside and think through what it means to apply the Bible.
Part 3 Overview
Congratulations! You’ve reached another milestone! You have completed most of the course!
We now understand the first two major steps of Bible study, observation and interpretation. We are not only able to observe what the text says, but we’re also better equipped to answer the question, “What does the text mean?” We searched for and found important words in our passage that have helped us understand the meaning of the text. We traced some of these words through Scripture and looked at the structure of Jonah for clues about what the author was communicating in this narrative. We also mined the writings of scholars throughout history and checked our interpretations with theirs.
In the final three lessons of this course, we’ll spend some time on application. We are answering the question, “How can I use this text to love and obey God?”—or, as numerous theologians and homileticians have put it, “So what?”
And that is going to make this one video a little odd compared to all the others in this series. We won’t look at Logos Bible Software at all. Although you can get the NIV Application Commentary, or Dan Doriani’s Mobile Ed course on application—and although in the next video we’ll look at some ways Logos can help you do application responsibly—there is no “application” tool in Logos. You learn to apply the Bible by example and by doing. It’s that kind of example that this video will seek to provide, pulling together threads from previous lessons.
When we apply the text of Scripture we should maintain all appropriate distinctions between the original audience’s context and ours. While the meaning of the passage doesn’t change over time, the application of that meaning often does—because our God-given circumstances change. This is not a clever way Christians can evade the teaching of the Old Testament; it’s something the Bible itself teaches us to do. Paul tells us in Romans 6 that New Testament Christians are “not under law, but under grace.” Jesus “declared all foods clean” in Mark 7. We want to take what we learned when we interpreted the text and legitimately apply that meaning to the modern context we live in.
In particular, we are looking for principles—universal truths about God and his creation, the effects of the fall, and the progress of redemption. God revealed his eternal truths through historical and cultural particularities; it is an art and a science to discover those truths through those particularities. Every Christian, therefore, must be something of an artist and a scientist when he or she opens a Bible.
For the final three videos in this course, we will be focusing on not Observation, nor Interpretation, but Application.
Step 9: Apply the Passage
To interpret is to discover what the author intended you to understand, but to apply is to discover what the author intended you to do. But the line between interpretation and application is not a bright and solid one. Application brings complexities, because what the author of Jonah intended you to do is general, having to do with repentance and love for neighbor, especially Gentile neighbors. But what the divine author intends for you to do is repent from specific sins you committed yesterday and to love specific, real-live neighbors whose names you may know and who may be within 100 yards of you at this moment. God, in other words, intended all the faithful applications or “uses” of Jonah when he inspired the text. Application means discovering what behaviors and actions God intended to occur in your own life through the reading of the biblical text. Application is one person—you—learning what another Person—God, your Lord and master—wants you to do.
It’s not as if he’s left you are alone in this work, like a politician who’s enacted a series of laws, headed back to the capital, and now won’t return phone calls for clarification. In other words, application demands prayer. We ask God directly for help. Praying over and through a biblical passage is an essential task of application. (You also have shepherds and fellow church members and other resources with which to wrestle over biblical application.)
Application is demanded by the entire Bible, but one easy place to see it is in the general commands of the New Testament. Paul tells the Ephesians, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:11). A few such unfruitful works are listed in the context: sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, filthiness. But even these are somewhat general categories covering a lot of specific sins. In order to apply such a passage, we have to look hard at our Bibles, at ourselves, and at our situations in order to discover, avoid, and even expose the “unfruitful works of darkness.”
God through his word calls on us not only to obey specific commands and prohibitions, but to wisely apply general commands and prohibitions, from “Walk in love” to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit.”
Let’s begin the work of application for Jonah 1:1–16. We observed previously that Jonah is “an ironic character who stands in complete contrast to the rest of the minor characters in the book, including the pious sailors and wicked Ninevites. Rather than being an example to the readers of the book, by displaying humility, obedience, and compassion, Jonah’s actions and words in the first sixteen verses of the book reveal a man who is bitter, begrudging, lazy, and rebellious.”
One of the ways God reveals truth is through persons, through their real-life examples. Those examples can be morally positive or negative—frequently they are both, as in Abraham the believer and liar, Jacob the blessing-wrestler and deceitful schemer, and Samson the Philistine-scourge and frequenter of prostitutes. The only perfect example, of course, is Jesus. Jonah, in this portion of the book, is a wholly negative example. And the application, on a general and an individual level, is simple: don’t be like Jonah. Don’t be bitter, begrudging, lazy, and rebellious. Don’t presume on the mercy of God by running from his known commands.
And if we were right to discern that the overall point of Jonah’s story is that he “stands as a microcosm of the disobedient people of Israel” by refusing, as they did, his mission to be a light to the nations, then there’s another obvious application: don’t be a microcosm of a disobedient people! Don’t fail to live out the equivalent New Testament command, the Great Commission, for any of the bitter, begrudging, lazy, and rebellious reasons Jonah had.
“Don’t be like such-and-such Bible character” is never the sole application of a biblical story, and it’s often not the primary application. The Bible’s main character is not any man or woman but God, and it is he who generally serves up the primary lessons—because it is he who, as in the story of Jonah, directs the characters and events toward his predetermined goals.
We concluded earlier that “the first chapter of Jonah is actually not so much about Jonah as it is about Jonah’s God.” It is his actions which drive the narrative at each point. He calls Jonah; he throws a tempest at him; he “elicits a response of sincere religious piety from pagan sailors.”
This is the same God we serve. The God who promised to bless “all the families of the earth” through Abraham, who told Israel to be “a light to the nations,” can still elicit responses of sincere piety from pagans. And he still uses human instruments, like Jonah, to do so—whether those human means participate willingly or not.
We concluded earlier that the message of Jonah 1:1–16 is that “God is absolutely sovereign over all of his creation, and his mission to save will not be thwarted by any attempts to the contrary, especially including the rank rebellion of one of his very own chosen instruments of deliverance.”
It would be vain at this point to say that the intent of Jonah 1 is to tell us to “be like God.” We can’t elicit responses of piety from others or hurl storms. But we can be shaped by the Bible’s picture of God as the one who meticulously controls and guides and plans events for his glory and others’ good. The primary application of this element of Jonah 1 may be: marinate. Soak in these truths until they shape you. Meditate. Pray.
But there are character traits of God which we can and should emulate in this story: namely his compassion for all peoples, his refusal to let one of his chosen people (Jonah, in this case) be smug about the fate of his natural enemies, the Ninevites. These are traits we can emulate. And we must, if we are to complete the Bible reading process.
Your assignment is simple but not easy:
• Write down three possible ways to apply Jonah 1:16 to your situation and record your thoughts in your Note file
In the next video, we’ll find resources that will help us with applying the text. See you then.
• NIV Application Commentary (42 vols.)
• Mobile Ed: PC151 Theology of Everyday Life
Find Personal Application
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Applying the Bible is a skill that pastors, especially, must cultivate. If you are looking for help in application, searching written sermons and other works from preachers, past and present, is a wise step to take. Find out how to do this in Logos.
Step 9 (cont.): Apply the Passage
You buy Logos for two things: tools and resources. The line between them—like the line between interpretation and application—is blurry. But, basically, resources have content whereas tools are the means by which you analyze, search, and study those resources. It’s actually easier to teach the use of tools than the use of resources, because with the latter there isn’t much to teach: you just read and read. And it’s out of that reading and reading that your skill in application will grow.
But something in general can be said about how resources can help you do Bible application now: look at sermons. Most commentaries and journal articles don’t include personal application of the biblical text. They’re focused on observation and interpretation. But preachers of sermons aim their observations and interpretations toward providing applications. Some of the most skilfull preachers have had their sermons collected into resources in Logos—because they are adept at all three stages of the OIA process. So if you’re stumped on application, or concerned that an application you wish to make may not be warranted, look at some sermons.
The Sermon section in the Sermon Starter Guide is perfect for this task. Right-click any word in Jonah 1:1, choose reference, and select “Sermon Starter Guide.” We’ll expand the Sermons section to see if our library includes any sermons on this passage.
If you have, for example, the Timothy Keller Sermon Archive, you’ll get results. One is a sermon Keller preached on this very passage, and in a classic Tim Keller way, the sermon begins with searching application of the text of Jonah to New York urbanites:
You see, the words sin and grace almost everybody is familiar with, but what they actually mean is another thing, and here it is: Essentially (as concretely as you can put it), sin is running away from God and grace is God’s effort to pursue and to intercept self-destructive behavior. That’s it … running and chasing. Sin and grace.…
Now what we’re going to have to see as we look at this is that in a place like New York City almost everybody can relate to Jonah. I would say you look around our congregation on any given Sunday and everybody looks relatively like New York. Everybody looks different. We all look very different from each other, and yet I say there are two fundamental kinds of divisions.
Some of you have a religious background. Some of you don’t. Some of you have been far away, running away as much as you can possibly can from religion. You may have come to New York and you may have said, “I’m trying to get away from my family’s constraints. I’m trying to get away from my culture’s constraints. I want to come to a city with fewer taboos, with more freedom, more toleration.”
But I’ve talked to a lot of people who now realize that to a great degree they came not to get away from their family but to run from God, even if they weren’t sure who he was. So a lot of us can relate to Jonah. We don’t really know if there’s even a God there, but we’re running as far away from where he ought to be if he exists. So we move. (URL)
That’s application. It’s specific. It’s directed at one group of people—New Yorkers, a group Keller then splits into those who have a religious background and those who don’t. He applies Jonah to their lives by comparing their flight from God to Jonah’s.
This is what you’re looking for—a gifted teacher showing specific people how to use the passage you’re studying.
(If you find the Sermons section valuable, consider adding 17,000 sermons to your library with the Sermon Finder Collection.)
Another way to check for help with application is to search a hand-curated collection of books—say, Christian living books, devotional books, C.S. Lewis’ books, or even just a set of your favorites that you build up over time.
It’s simple to make and search a collection of books in Logos using the “Collections” feature. Here’s how to use it:
We’ll go to the Tools menu, select “Collections,” and give our collection a name. I’ll make this one “John Piper Books,” because that’s what I’m going to include. But you can pick whatever author or topic you like. Maybe you’ll want to build a “Christian Living” collection if you don’t have any of Piper’s works.
Next we will fill in the rule box, the one saying, “Start with resources matching …” Collection rules tell Logos what books to include in the collection. (You can see the categories we can use to build collections by looking at the header row in the details view in the library. We can add further columns to the library window by right-clicking on the header row and selecting them.) Type in this box whatever it is you want to find in your library, in this case, “John Piper.” We can add books that Logos didn’t find with that search term by dragging them from the library to the box in the collection panel that says “Plus these resources.” We can exclude books that our search term found (such as an issue of a magazine profiling John Piper) by dragging them out of the “Resulting Collection” list into the box that says “Minus these resources.”
Now we can search just the resources in this “John Piper Books” collection.
In fact, Piper mentions Jonah 1:4 in his foundational book, The Pleasures of God. He first explains that
the Bible does not teach that Satan has the highest control in the world. God is shown to be the controller of the wind. (68–69)
He cites Jonah 1:4 as one scriptural statement proving that point. In the paragraph above, he applies this truth by showing how people ought to use it:
I believe with all my heart that the biblical teaching of God’s sovereignty over Satan is the greatest answer in the world when the very meaning of life is threatened by the horrors and tragedies of death and disease. It is the answer of Scripture and it is true and full of hope. (68)
If you have an author whose insight you treasure, and you have a number of that author’s books, making a collection can help you find insight you may have read before but have since forgotten.
Let’s look at another place we can find commentary on both the interpretation and application of passages we study. In the Passage Guide there is a section called, “Ancient Literature.” This section links us directly to the works of the Apostolic Fathers, the Church Fathers, and many other works of literature from the ancient world. For the works that are part of our library, we can hover over the title and read a section of the text to see if it adds to our understanding of the passage.
My library yields some results from the church fathers, including Gregory Nazianzen. And his application of this text is both powerful and beautiful:
Jonah knew better than any one the purpose of his message to the Ninevites, and that, in planning his flight, although he changed his place, he did not escape from God. Nor is this possible for any one else, either by concealing himself in the bosom of the earth, or in the depths of the sea, or by soaring on wings, if there be any means of doing so, and rising into the air, or by abiding in the lowest depths of hell, or by enveloping himself in a thick cloud, or by any other of the many devices for ensuring escape. For God alone of all things cannot be escaped from or contended with; if He wills to seize and bring them under His hand, He outstrips the swift, He outwits the wise, He overthrows the strong, He abases the lofty, He subdues rashness, He represses power. (226)
If one of your purposes for applying Jonah is to teach others, then this is worth holding on to. It piles up with powerfully descriptive phrases a view of God, the very view of God Jonah builds up with its narrative. It applies the text by saying, “Don’t think you can outrun God.”
It is possible with a paper version of the church fathers to check an index or two (or ten) and come up with references to Jonah. But reality is that most people outside patristics studies won’t do it. It’s all too obscure. But computers love obscure. They find references to Jonah that you just wouldn’t come across otherwise. And with those references come insights. As C.S. Lewis said, we must “keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books” (220).
Here are your assignments:
• Use the commentaries collection to check the applications you made as part of yesterday’s assignment to see if you can find at least one other person who agrees with how you’ve applied the text
• Explore the ancient literature section for insight into the interpretation and application of Jonah 1 and record your insights
Tomorrow is the last day in the challenge! We’ll think through how to apply the text to the lives of others and use one of Logos’ most exciting features to share the insights we’ve found with others.
• Tim Keller Sermon Archive (1989–2013)
• The John Piper Sermon Archive (1980–2014)
• John Piper Christian Life and Ministry Collection (10 vols., including The Pleasures of God)
• Sermon Finder Collection
• Post-Nicene Fathers: S. Gregory Nazianzen (also included in Silver)
• Ancient Literature Collection (25 Vols.)
Bronze includes these features:
• Sermon Starter Guide
• Ancient Literature section of the Passage Guide
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Diligent students of the Bible who love the Lord and love the church will generally be asked to share their insights with others. Logos Bible Software provides several tools—especially the Sermon Editor—to help you do this in a beautiful, effective, and timely way.
Step 10: Share Insight
We’ll conclude this course with a related challenge: share your insights. If the words of Jonah 1:1–16 are God’s words, and if there is a message in them not merely for ancient Israelites but for modern Bible readers, then that message must be shared.
Teaching others is one form of application, one proper use of the biblical text, a use God intended all along for his written word. And this forms the tenth and final step in our Bible study method.
You don’t have to “preach the word,” however, to make it to this final step. Telling your kids about it counts. So does writing a social media post. So does leading a small group Bible study, or just sharing insights with a group you’re not even leading.
But not every group with whom you share God’s words will need to hear the same applications. Kids, non-Christian friends online, seniors in assisted living, college students from abroad, and young moms have different needs and will therefore sometimes require different applications of the same message. If you speak to a large enough group, you may need to apply the text to multiple different categories of people.
9Marks Application Grid
One tool that can help you in this task is the “Sermon Application Grid” that Mark Dever and 9Marks has popularized. Michael Lawrence’s excellent Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church includes a quick summary of the application grid. The grid forces us to ask the following six questions about the passage:
• Where is this passage located in redemptive history and how does it relate to us?
• What does this point mean for the non-Christian?
• What does it mean for us as citizens, as employees, and so forth?
• What does it teach us about Christ?
• What does it mean for us as individual Christians?
• What does it mean for our church as a whole?”
We can take the answers we come up with for these questions and communicate them to others.
The non-Christian, for example, needs to hear that we should not pit the God of the Old Testament against the God of the New: the one true God of both testaments is and has always been committed to upholding his holiness by demanding repentance; but he has also been committed to blessing all the families of the earth and giving them a chance to repent.
And when it comes time to share your insights with others, you’ll want to turn to Sermon Editor. Sermon Editor is a word processor designed for those who teach the Bible.
Start a new sermon by clicking Documents, then Sermons in the left-hand panel. Then—and this is very important—fill in the metadata boxes at the top. Using at least a title, topics, and a little note about when and where you delivered your content will help you find this material later. It may even help others find it.
And that’s because Sermon Editor is designed to be the base from which you share your content, and in multiple formats. From Sermon Editor, you can share your text directly to your church’s SoundFaith page. Any little prompts you write to yourself (like “HAVE CONGREGATION TURN TO JONAH 1:1”) will be automatically stripped out.
And, even more importantly, Sermon Editor automatically produces slide visuals from your sermon text. Make a heading, and Sermon Editor turns it into a slide. Insert a blockquote from a commentary or another sermon, click a button, and that quote will show up on a slide. When you’re done with your message, you can export the visuals to PowerPoint or Faithlife’s own Proclaim church presentation software, where it will be available in the cloud to anyone else you choose in your church.
And if you have a small group that would like a handout, Sermon Editor can automatically produce handouts from your text. Just select some text and click the “Fill-in” style button that pops up. Once you’ve made all your fill-in-the-blank items, you can switch to Handout view to see them and print them out.
The Media Tool is another tool in Logos to help you share your insights with others. The conclusion of the passage we’ve been studying in Jonah contains some bracing but encouraging words that you might want to share with, for example, your church’s Faithlife group.
Open your Bible text in Logos, Select Jonah 1:15–16, choose “Reference” on the righthand side of the menu and “Visual Copy” on the left. The verse is placed for you on a background image. If you’d like a different background, click “Find Media” and choose one.
You can share the resulting slide on Faithlife, Facebook, Twitter, or email. If you want to share it with your church’s Faithlife group, click the Faithlife icon, choose the audience for your post from the dropdown menu, and write a little note to go with it. Then post it.
After finishing the 30-Day Bible Study Challenge, you may be wondering what the next step is. It’s simple. Choose another passage of Scripture and follow the ten Bible study steps we’ve relied on in this course. You can reference the videos and transcripts in this course at any time through the process. Let me remind you of the steps.
The first stage was observation and it included six steps:
• Step 1: Read the passage in its context several times
• Step 2: Identify important themes in the passage and connect them to the broad themes of the Bible
• Step 3: Compare English translations
• Step 4: Explore the passage’s literary and intertextual context
• Step 5: Explore the passage’s historical and cultural context
• Step 6: Pay special attention to the words and actions of the characters
The second stage was interpretation and it included two steps:
• Step 7: Look for and study important words and phrases and connect them to the rest of Scripture
• Step 8: Outline and interpret the passage and check your interpretation with the interpretation of others
The third stage was application and it included two steps:
• Step 9: Apply the passage
• Step 10: Share insight
Here are your final assignments:
• Apply the main point of Jonah 1:1–16 to at least three different groups of people: your family, your church, and those who do not believe in Jesus
• Use visual copy to share either a quote you have found during this course or Logos verse art via email or social media
• Choose the passage you’ll study next, perhaps continuing on into Jonah chapter 2
We are so glad that you’ve stuck with us all the way through this Bible Study challenge. Even as you move on to the next challenge, we would love to hear your questions and stories; you can connect with us at LogosPro@Faithlife.com, or through the Faithlife group. It is our sincere hope that this method, and the tools in Logos Bible Software, will inspire and assist you in your continuing pursuit to grow—and see others grow—in the light of the Bible.
• Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
Bronze includes these features:
• Sermon Editor
• Media Tool with Visual Copy
Logos Pro Team. (2016). LT271 Study the Bible with Logos: Jonah 1. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- The Character of God from the Book of Romans(traviskolder.com)
- John Calvin – On the Golden Rule(theoldguys.org)
- Life-size replica of Tabernacle of Moses on display in Saline(mlive.com)
- 5 Powerful Logos Capabilities You May Have Missed- via Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz(revrosenkranz.com)
- WHO IS JESUS? – Evaluating C.S. Lewis’ “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” Trilemma- by Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE. Rosenkranz, MA,DD.(revrosenkranz.com)
- Live that LIFE!- let URself be empowered by homebusiness- from Uwe Rosenkranz(revrosenkranz.com)
- 27 Christian Quotes about Happiness- by Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz via faithlive(revrosenkranz.com)
- Facebook has changed, so beware of old teaching- by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz(revrosenkranz.com)
- MESSIANIC BIBLE TEACHING ON ISRAEL- via Uwe Rosenkranz(revrosenkranz.com)