Logos Bible Software Sermon Prep Part Three: Concordance Tool
We’ve already looked twice at the topic of choosing a text, but let me take a third swing at a tool that you should consider using for Logos Bible Software Sermon Prep. We’ll take a look at the Concordance Tool in this third part of the series. I began looking at picking topics and picking passages in parts one and two. Now, how can the Concordance Tool help us in choosing passages to preach or teach.
Here’s the secret of this powerful tool…
The Concordance Tool Video
My video below shows the basics of the Concordance Tool in Logos 7.
Benefits of the Concordance Tool in Logos
You may need to put away the old idea of a concordance while still using the principles to figure out what it does. The Concordance Tool, like a traditional Concordance, lists every word in a Bible translation, but here’s the cool part of the Logos 7 Concordance Tool. You can change the list based on your own limitations and even use it to create a “concordance” for books other than Bibles.
I used to own a hefty NASB Exhaustive Concordance (see above), since that was my favorite translation when I began preaching. I stopped using the huge physical book because Bible software is an exhaustive concordance by itself and its far more convenient than a 5 pound book. So why do we need a tool in Logos or any other program that calls itself a “concordance tool”?
First, the Concordance Tool is customizable. I’ll show you how to do that below or watch my video demo above.
Second, users can create lists of Greek or Hebrew words even in an English Bible if. The tool uses the Strong’s tags to do this.
Third, you can also index more than just the English words of a Bible translation. It creates lists of other things like lemmas, roots of words, and Biblical entities like people, places and Biblical things. You can even search for references which are tags that link to other books, like a Bible reference in a footnote or in a Concordance or maybe even in a Christian Living book, like something by a popular author.
The benefits listed here means the Concordance Tool helps us with picking a passage to preach because we can choose to teach or preach on a particular topic by opening the tool and searching for the most often used words in a book of the Bible. Let’s say I want to focus on the idea of redemption, but I don’t want to do a topical study of redemption. I want to select a series of passages that focus on the idea or subject of redemption. I could just search for redemption in the Logos search tool. But if I open the Concordance Tool, I can learn one particular author repeatedly discusses redemption.
How to Use the Concordance Tool in Logos
To get started open the Concordance Tool in Logos from the Tools menu. You’ll find it in the second column under Reference. Click it to open it.
The tool shows the last report generated or runs one if you haven’t already used it.
At the top of the window you’ll see the book control drop down that usually shows the cover of the book with a small down arrow to the lower right corner. Click it and you’ll see controls like the text size slider, the Find command, print, and the Close command among others.
Next to the book control menu you’ll see a link that shows the present book or Bible translation (see below). Click that Resource Reference link to change it. The Resource Reference search box shows up with a list of all library resources that you can use to run a Concordance Tool report. You can use a Bible in English or Greek/Hebrew. You can also run a Concordance Tool report on other books like commentaries or books by a single author. This results in an index of all the words in that book, if you do a Word report. More eon that below.
Let’s say you want to work in the NASB 1995 Update. Then, either find the book in the list or type in NASB in the search box and it will show all books with your search string in the title. Click to open the Concordance Tool using the book.
Next you’ll see what to index with the Concordance Tool. Click on the second link over (see above) to create an index. You can create one using one of the following:
Word – the basic tool that works like a traditional concordance.
Lemma – finds lemmas instead of words
Root – finds roots instead of words or lemmas
Sense – finds senses instead of the above
Biblical Entity – finds persons, places, things, artifacts or measurements
Reference – finds reference links
The last link lets the user narrow the search range. For example, in the screen shots here I’ve run the tool on the NASB 95 Update translation. So, when I click the last link it offers to let me narrow the range from All Passages to just ports of the Bible.
You can pick your most recent passage selections or the common ones found in Logos. You can also create a new one by typing in the range at the box below the list labelled New reference range. If you plan to use that range again, give it a name in the Title box below the range box and then click the Save button. It will now show up in the list above the boxes.
Along the left there’s box that lets the user limit their Concordance Tool index. It’s called the REFINE box or section. This changes dynamically based on what you’ve selected in the three drop down boxes at the top. For example, the index below shows the NASB95 Update with a Word index of All Passages.
Along the left you can refine the search by omitting things, choosing certain languages only and searching in only parts of the text. So let’s do an index of only English by clicking on English. Then only index the Words of Christ and only the Gospels (from the top).
Using Concordance Tool on Commentaries
You can use the Concordance Tool in a commentary on a book to find out what the commentary author seems to think is the most discussed topic. Run an index on a commentary on a particular book of the Bible. Then refine the search using the Refine box on the left.
The index Logos creates will show what words the commentary uses most. Look for key theological terms to help you see what that commentary author focused on in that book. This can help you find passage in that book that cover that topic.
The index above shows that I ran the tool on a commentary on Matthew. I refined the search to show English only and then limited it also to Heading Text. This shows that there are 6 headings in this commentary that talk about healing. A good sermon or Bible study series might be the healing stories in Matthew. We also see 4 headings with the word Blind in it. Could you do a topical study on Jesus giving sight to the Blind? Those are a couple of ideas.
Use this same technique with any book in your library. This will help you find illustrations too. We’ll cover that more when we get to the topic of adding illustrations to our sermons and Bible studies.
How This Helps Find Texts to Preach
So why would I use the Concordance Tool for helping find passages to teach or preach?
The resulting index (see screen show above) shows the words or word groups (take a look at the second hit, a word group) that show up most in our refined search. If you click on the arrow next to a word, then you’ll see a list of the passages that include that word or word group. The image above shows the list under “come comes; coming” which is the fourth most used word/word group in this refined index. So maybe, you’d want to do a sermon series on Jesus is Coming and select passage about why he came, when he might be coming back or what he said about his second coming.
Drop down a few and you’ll see the word group “go going” which you can also do a similar series but on why we should go or how Jesus wants disciples to go on his behalf.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.