I have a complicated history with commentaries. It is somewhat reactionary at times. As an example, there was a time in seminary that I was almost militantly against using them. My thesis adviser wasn’t a big fan of them, especially in their modern iteration. I felt that if you knew the original languages well, commentaries were a kind of after thought. Later, I would go too far in the other direction, and am now trying to strike a healthy balance between these extremes.
At the moment, I primarily interact with commentaries through Logos. My usual workflow could be explained in more detail in a different post. Here, I’ll at least give you an overview and use Galatians and Ephesians from the ZECNT series to illustrate. Logos graciously unlocked these resources for me to give a review. If you follow the previous links it will take you to my review of the commentaries themselves. Below I’ll show you what it looks like to use these resources in Logos.
I usually read commentaries and make my highlights on my iPad, and then do more detailed cross-referencing and studying on my desktop. Because of the visual layout that comes with the ZECNT, I was curious how it would carry over into the iPad screen. For the most part it works fairly well as you can see below for the overview of Ephesians 4:1-6:
On most passages, this works just as well, but it is kind of glitchy if the chart extends to the right beyond the iPad screen. As for the rest of the reading experience, I prefer a single column and the ZECNT are setup in the print edition to be two columns per page. Logos allows me to set it to single column and infinite scroll which is my preferred visual layout.
Once I’ve down some reading and may want to do some cross referencing, here’s what my layout looks like for NT study in Logos:
(see full size)
On the right you see my preferred Bible, and you’ll notice the small “A” next to the cover. You’ll also notice on the left the same small “A” on the cover of the ZECNT commentary. That means I’ve linked these panels so that whenever I navigate to a reference on one side, the other changes accordingly. You’ll also notice that when the Bible is set to Ephesians 4, the commentary panel starts right at the exposition proper, not at the beginning of the chapter devoted to the first few verses of chapter 4. So, for example, if I wanted to see what’s in the iPad screenshot from where I’m at in the desktop screenshot, I would need to scroll up to get there.
You’ll also notice several other small book covers on the same side as the ZECNT. These are all my other commentary series, so while I’m working through Ephesians 4, I can see what Clinton Arnold says in the ZECNT, but as I’m doing that, I can toggle over and see what Frank Thielman says in the BECNT volume, or what F. F. Bruce says in the NICNT volume. On the right side, I have other Bible translations, the NA27, and my IVP dictionaries ready to resource as well.
All of this works well for me, and I was pleased with how the ZECNT transferred over to being used in Logos. So far I’ve enjoyed all of the commentaries series I’ve brought into Logos, but I was curious how the ZECNT would transfer because of the visual layout. Because of the flexibility of the panel size in the desktop version, there isn’t an issue with charts being cut-off. An added benefit is that when I’m teaching, I can display the layout visually to students and then explain it.
Even though I have the entire series in print, I’m planning to convert them to Logos titles. That means if you’re interested in one of the ZECNT volumes, let me know, they’ll show up on Amazon soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue to utilize these resources in Logos for both personal study and my teaching opportunities. However, like me, you might rather have these volumes in your Logos library.
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Thanks to Logos for the review copy!