Ellipsis in the Reverse Interlinear

A friend and fellow Logos user recently emailed me the following scenario in which he basically said:

I came to John 1:34 in my study of the subject of election. As I looked at the verse in the NASB reverse interlinear, I noticed a dot (bullet) between the words “the” and “son”. What does that mean?

This is an excellent observation and question. First, I’ll set up what he was viewing.

  • Open the NASB to John 1:34 (A)
  • Notice the verse says …this is the Son of God (B)

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  • Click the Display link on the Bible’s toolbar (C)
  • Select Inline, Surface, and Lemma (dictionary form of a word) (D)

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  • Notice the verse now reads… this is the • Son of God (E)
  • Look underneath the bullet and you’ll see a Greek lemma (F)

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In the reverse interlinear this bullet represents an ellipsis. The bullet may appear on the English line of text meaning an original Hebrew or Greek word wasn’t translated in the English Bible or the bullet may be on the lemma line indicating an English word was inserted for clarification or smooth reading.

Even though the specific lemma wasn’t translated in John 1:34 in the NASB, with the interlinear information displayed, the lemma line is an active line of text.

  • Right click on the bullet (G)
  • Select Lemma “the Greek word”  (H)
  • Select Search this resource (I)

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  • Look carefully at the search results which display every occurrence of this word in the Greek text on which the English Bible is based, whether it’s translated in English of not (J)

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A situation like this may raise more questions than it answers, but Logos Guides and resources can help:

  • Generate an Exegetical Guide (Guides | Exegetical Guide) for John 1:34 and pay close attention to the Apparatuses section containing resources pointing out differences in the original language texts (K)
  • Generate a Passage Guide (Guides | Passage Guide)  for John 1:34 and in the Commentaries section locate critical or textual commentaries you may own which normally explain the variances in the original language texts (L)

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While this scenario certainly isn’t an everyday occurrence in your Bible study, when you do come across an ellipsis, you know there’s some assistance for you in Logos.

If you are looking for more assistance in navigating Reverse Interlinears check out our The Camp 1 and 2 DVDs.

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