Quickly “Diagram” a Biblical Passage

In an ideal world you and I would fluently read Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of Scripture. If so, we’d be able to quickly see original language details found in words and grammar. If, however, we primarily rely just on our English Bibles, we may miss some details which are lost in translation.

Numerous features in Logos Bible Software are designed to help English students discover some of those details without being language scholars.

One such tool is called Propositional Outlines which “diagrams” a passage based on Hebrew or Greek.

Let’s take a look at a practical example to see how it works:

  • Open an English Bible containing the interlinear option such as the ESV, NASB, NKJV, or LEB (A)
  • Navigate to Philippians 1:27-28 (B)

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  • Carefully read these two verses paying close attention to verbs such as:
    • let your manner of life be
    • standing firm
    • striving side by side
    • not frightened

If you’re like I am you’re asking questions like:

  • How many commands are in this passage?
  • How do these verbs relate to one another?

Answering such questions will be tough if we just rely on the English text. Fortunately we can see a lay of the land with Propositional Outlines.

  • Click the Visual Filters icon on the Bible’s toolbar (C)
  • Expand the Resource section (D)
  • Select the Resource box (E)
  • Select the Propositional outlines box (F)
  • Click outside the menu to close it (G)
  • Enlarge the Bible’s panel so you can see the passage clearly

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You’ll see that Logos has now diagrammed the passage based on the Greek text, not the English! Two features are at work here helping us to understand the relationships between the clauses:

  • Labels, when the cursor rests on them, in the left hand column explain syntactical functions
  • Indentations point out subordinate relationships between clauses

Here are a few observations about these two verses:

  • Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ is indented to the far left (H) and is labeled a Command. (I) Rest your cursor on the word manner (J) and you’ll see in the morph popup at the bottom this is an imperative verb. (K) This statement is the primary clause in the passage and Paul’s main point.

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  • Notice intended to the right is the phrase standing firm in one spirit (L) and is labeled Restatement. (M) This phrase is subordinate to the verb letter your manner of life be and it basically answers the question, How do we live in a manner worthy of the gospel?

 

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  • Underneath this phrase you’ll see two additional phrases both indented further to the right and both labeled Expansion: (N) striving side by side (O) and not frightened.(P) These two participles expand or amplify what it means to stand firm.

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The syntactical summary of the passage is: we as Christians are to live our lives worthy of the gospel by standing firm in one spirit as we strive side by side and refrain from being frightened by our opponents.

This one sentence summary gleaned from Propositional Outlines will be invaluable as we seek to apply the text or build sermons and Bible lessons.

Of course we need to dig deeper discovering what all of these Greek verbs mean. I encourage you, though, to use this feature as you read the text during the observation phase of Bible study which will propel you into the interpretation phase of your study.

Please note, Propositional Outlines for the Old Testament is available in a Logos Now subscription.

For additional Logos training consider attending a Camp Logos in 2016.

2 thoughts on “Quickly “Diagram” a Biblical Passage

  1. Thank you for this tool – it is a very helpful one!
    I have noticed on my logos that when I click on the “propositional outlines” that it makes all of my opened ESV bible tabs go to that format – is there a way to only have it show that filter in one ESV bible and not the others?
    Thank you again.

    1. Unfortunately, Propositional Outlines is resource specific, not panel specific. So if you have multiple panels open with the ESV in all of them, they will all change. If one of those panels was the NIV, for example, then that would not change.

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