SUGGESTION: Formatting Issues in The Biblical Illustrator

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Richard Villanueva | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Nov 28 2018 3:19 PM

Hello All.

I received The Biblical Illustrator in my L8 base package purchase. Trying to read through it I found that the text feels really condensed and the formatting makes for difficult reading.  Particularly with Exell's use of bullet points and numbered lists meant to create outlines of his points.

I'm not sure how the original text was formatted but it seems like the best format would be to have line breaks when the many lists and bullet points occur in the text. Without the breaks, it is a solid, continuous block of text which makes this is an unwieldy resource. There were options to do this to the text format in Lexicons.

I'm not sure how reasonable this is, considering it is a Public Domain item, but I figured it would be worth bringing up. Especially since, sold apart from a BP, it runs for $300 a set (I would assume the same for the OT Set that is waiting to be funded in CP.) A proper formatting would most definitely be "value added" to me. 😉  Without a proper formatting, I may just set this resource to the back of the line in my studies. 

Here is a sample from Luke 18:


Vers. 1–8. Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.The strange weapon-All-prayer:—While Christian was in the Palace Beautiful, they showed him all the remarkable objects in the armory, from the ox-goad of Shamgar to the sword of the Spirit. And amongst the arms he saw, and with some of which he was arrayed as he left the place, was a single weapon with a strange, new name—“All-prayer.” When I was a child, I used to wonder much what this could have been—its shape, its use. I imagine I know something more about it in these later years. At any rate, I think Bunyan found his name for it in one of the New Testament Epistles: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). It so happens, also, that we have two parables of our Lord given us in the eighteenth chapter of Luke to one end, “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” One of these parables teaches the lesson of importunity, the other teaches the lesson of sincerity. And it does not need that we draw from this collocation the subtle suggestion that want of importunity and want of sincerity are what weaken the weapon of all-prayer, and render faint the heart of the Christian who wields it. We know that we do not pray always, and that we do not always pray. I. Let us take up this matter of importunity in the outset. At first sight it gives perplexity to some students of the Bible. We must notice that Christ does not identify His Father, the “Hearer of Prayer,” with this judge in the parable in any sense whatsoever. The very point of the illustration turns upon his superiority. God is just, and this man was unjust. This petitioner was a lonely widow and a stranger; God was dealing with His own elect. The woman came uninvited; Christians are pressed with invitations to ask, and knock, and seek. The unjust judge never agreed to listen to the widow; God has promised, over and over again, that it shall be granted to those that ask. The judge may have had relations with this woman’s adversary which would complicate, and, in some way, commit him to an unnecessary quarrel in her behalf, if his office should be exercised in defence; God is in open and declared conflict, on His own account, with our adversary, and rejoices to defeat his machinations, and avenge His own chosen speedily. Hence, the whole teaching of the story is directed towards our encouragement thus: If we would persist with a wicked judge that regarded nobody, God nor man, then surely we would press our prayers with God. What is the duty then? Simply, go on praying. II. Let us move on to consider, in the second place, this matter of sincerity in prayer, suggested by the other parable. To men of the world it must be a subject of real wonder and surprise, to use no more disrespectful terms, why so many petitions offered by the people of God prove fruitless. To all this, Christians ought to be able to reply that prayer follows laws and respects intelligent conditions, just as every other part of God’s plan of redemption does. We are accustomed to say to each other that God always hears prayer. No, He does not. The wisest man that was ever inspired says distinctly, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” And in the New Testament the apostle explains the whole anomaly of failure thus: “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” For one thing, self-conceit destroys all sincerity in prayer. For another thing, spits against others destroys all sincerity in prayer. Listen to the Pharisee’s preposterous comparison of himself in the matter of money and merit with the publican almost out of sight there in the corner. Inconsistencies in life also destroy sincerity in prayer. Purity from evil is a prime condition of success. (C. S. Robinson, D.D.) The duty of persevering in prayer:—I. Our duty. That which is here inculcated implies that we pray—1. Statedly. 2. Occasionally. There are many particular occasions which require us to pray. (1) Prosperity, that God may counteract its evil tendency (Prov. 30:9). (2) Adversity, that we may be supported under it (James 5:13). (3) Times of public distress or danger, to avert the calamity (2 Chron. 7:14). 3. Habitually. We should maintain a spiritual frame of mind. To pray thus is our duty; “We ought,” &c. (1) It is a duty we owe to God. He, our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, has commanded it. (2) We owe it also to our neighbour. The edification of Christ’s mystical body depends, not only on the union of every part with the head, but on the whole being fitly framed together, and on every joint supplying its proper nourishment (Eph. 4:16; Col. 2:19). But if we be remiss in prayer, we shall be incapable of administering that benefit, which other members have a right to expect from us. (3) We owe it to ourselves. A “spirit of supplication” is as necessary to the soul, as food to the body. Nor can we feel any regard for our souls, if we do not cultivate it. II. The difficulties that attend it. When we set ourselves to the performance of it, we shall find difficulties—1. Before we begin to pray. Worldly business may indispose our minds for this employment. Family cares may distract and dissipate our thoughts. Lassitude of body may unfit us for the necessary exertions. We may be disabled by an invincible hardness of heart. A want of utterance may also operate as a heavy discouragement. 2. While we are engaged in prayer. The world is never more troublesome than at such seasons. The flesh also, with its vilest imaginations will solicit our attention. Nor will Satan be backward to interrupt our devotions. 3. After we have concluded prayer. When we have prayed, we should expect an answer. But worldliness may again induce a forgetfulness of God. Impatience to receive the desired blessings may deject us. Ignorance of the method in which God answers prayer may cause us to disquiet ourselves with many ungrounded apprehensions. Unbelief may rob us of the benefits we might have received (James 1:6, 7). Whatever obstructs God’s answers to prayer, disqualifies us for the future discharge of that duty. (Theological Sketch-book.) The nature and duty of prayer:—I. The nature of prayer. 1. An expression of our sense of God’s infinite superiority. 2. An expression of our dependence upon God. 3. A declaration of our obligation to God. 4. A declaration of our faith in God’s ability to grant us anything our circumstances may require. There are several things necessary to constitute true prayer, and which form its constituent parts. (1) Faith is one essential. (2) Sincerity is another ingredient in true prayer. (3) Humility. II. We notice the duty of prayer. Prayer is a duty, if we consider it—1. As a Divine injunction. 2. It appears a duty, if we consider God as a prayer-hearing God. 3. It is a duty, if we consider the beneficial effects of prayer. (1) Prayer brings great benefits to ourselves. It brings us into closer communion with Christ. (2) Prayer is a powerful antidote to, and one of the most effectual safeguards against, worldly-mindedness. (3) By prayer we get divinely enlightened. (4) Prayer brings with it advancement in personal holiness. (5) Prayer is a powerful stimulant to every Christian grace. He who lives in the habitual exercise of sincere and earnest prayer cannot remain in a lukewarm, inactive, lethargic state. (Essex Remembrancer.) Men ought always to pray:—Why? 1. Because the King wills it. Because it is an edict of eternal wisdom and truth, the command of absolute righteousness and justice, the direction of infinite goodness and love. 2. Because it is an instinct and faculty of our nature, part and parcel of our mental manhood; and as the all-wise Creator has endowed us with the power, and not only the power, but the tendency to pray, we cannot and do not fulfil His will, or rightly use our capabilities, unless we pray. 3. Because it is a privilege, a precious privilege conferred. The maker of the machine can mend and manage it; and He who created us—body, mind, and spirit—invites us to bring our bodily needs, hunger, thirst, aches, pains, and infirmities; our mental cares, griefs, doubts, perplexities, and depressions; our spiritual wants, fears, forebodings, sins, and weakness—to Him in prayer. 4. Because our state and condition is one of perpetual peril, and weakness, and need. The sin on our conscience condemns us, and we cannot undo it. We all get the heartache, and we cannot cure it. We can neither condone our offences, nor lighten our conscience, nor carry our sorrows, nor hush our complainings, nor dry our tears! 

 Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical Illustrator: St. Luke, vol. III (London: Francis Griffiths, 1904), 336–338.

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 28 2018 3:51 PM

Hi Richard,

I brought this to FL attention and I believe they are working of fixing it.

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Richard Villanueva | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 28 2018 4:02 PM

John Fidel:
I believe they are working of fixing it.

Awesome! That would be a tremendous help. I have a couple friends that have this resource in print and they have enjoyed reading them, so I was excited to see them in Logos and wanted to give the set a run. 

Thank you for the response, maybe I missed it in another forum, either way, looking forward to the possibility of an update.

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Richard Villanueva | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 28 2018 4:16 PM

You are so right! Missed it by two weeks. Maybe a good search will help before I post next time. 😳 

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 28 2018 4:34 PM

Not a problem. Glad to have the issue addressed.

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Zeke Flores | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 3 2019 12:06 PM

Has there been any indication when the formatting issues in Biblical Illustrator might be addressed?

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