TIP of the day: Using Logos to check facts

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jan 10 2016 8:10 PM

1. Often in reading theological disputes you will run into statements such as this, which I suspect is accurate: "When "the saints" are mentioned in the New testament, it usually refers only to the living." This raises two questions:

  • is the statement true?
  • is the statement meaningful?

The first question can be answered but examining each case - only living, living and non-living, only non-living or uncertain. Care needs to be taken that your list includes all possibilities and that there is a possibility of leaving something unclassified because it needs further study.

We'll consider the 2nd question in a later step.

Run a Search on the New Testament on the word saint. Note: I tried the option <Person saint ...> briefly to verify that a simple Bible search on the plain text saint with "Match all forms" was sufficient for my purposes.

2. To be able to work with the list, we need to convert it to a Passage List by selecting the option from the resource panel menu

3. Which gives me the following Passage List:

4. I read the Passage LIst with the two questions in mind and, being lazy, hoping to minimize work by leveraging the sorting into categories for the 1st question from the work for the second question

The second question is more difficult, looking at the context of the cases. In this case, as I read down the search results I saw some clusters:

  • "saints" being used in the context of a greeting - giving or receiving the greeting
  • "saints" being used in the sense of ministry to the saints

In these cases, the context implies that the saints will be living. So I want to sort these groups out as having relevance only to the question "is the statement true" but not to the question "is the statement meaningful". Because the context of the original statement was in response to the use of the term to refer both to the living and the dead.

So I want to add headings to the passage list for the two groups I've currently identified and a heading for what I haven't classified.

5. Then I start sorting my passages by dragging them under the appropriate heading. Note everything starts out under "unclassified"

6. When I have classified everything that I think falls into the "living by context requirements", I sort the remainder ("unclassified saints") into the categories identified initially - only living, living and non-living, only non-living or uncertain.

  • If the count of "Saints of a particular location or group of people" + "Ministry to saints" + "Unclassified saints (living only) is greater than half of the total 63 entries, then question 1 can be answered as "true".
  • If the count of "Unclassified saints (non-living only) + Unclassified saints (living and non-living) is sufficient to imply common usage then the answer to the 2nd question is that it is not meaningful. Otherwise by default it is meaningful.

Notice that the final step is not mechanical - it requires judgment and thought, especially if there are many ambiguous cases. But getting the data - the verses you need to consider - is a matter of apply solid reasoning and a fixed pattern of assistance from Logos.

Note: I have carefully left the sorting incomplete and the screen shots incomplete to avoid promoting any particular answers to the questions.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Brad | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2016 9:59 PM

Nicely done, MJ.  Thanks!

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