Bible Windows

Table of Contents:

  1. How can I view the Biblical text?
  2. How do I search for something in an English translation?
  3. How can I do a search in the original Greek or Hebrew without knowing either?

How can I view the Biblical text?

Let us begin with a passage from Matthew. From the File menu at the top of the screen, Open the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version). Easier still, simply select the NRSV icon from the "open text" toolbar--the row of buttons in grey along the top. Scroll through the list until you come to Matthew, choose "OK" to begin reading at the start of the book, or "Open at" to go directly to a particular reference. In this case, type 4, use Tab to move to the next field, type 16, and hit "OK".

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How do I search for something in an English translation?

Here, however, we find Matthew quoting from another passage. Where does this come from? If we have not read the previous verses, which give a pretty good clue, we may choose "Search" from the menu bar at the top of the page, then Word Search, then NRSV Bible, and finally, "Search All". At this point, enter "darkness great light". Change the "Interval between Words" box to 5 to allows a maximum of 5 intervening words in the search. Hit OK.
[Note: Bible Windows assumes an "and" between the words being searched, unless you specifically use the boolean "|" [OR] or "!" [NOT]. Arrow keys may also be used to limit a word, as in >lock<, which would bring up "lock" while excluding "flocks". Such a search may be conducted in the English translations, the Vulgate (latin), the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament), the Masoretic (Hebrew), and the Greek New Testament.]
[Another note: one may move the results of the search into a word processor by (a) pressing the right mouse button and (b) choosing "Extended Copy". After choosing how many verses you wish to copy, this will slip your search list into the clipboard, which may then be pasted into a document. One may also highlight text with the left cursor and choose the clipboard icon on the toolbar to move only selected material.]
And . . . Two verses have come up, and these will be the subjects of our consideration. (Granted, things do not always follow so smoothly: try, for example, searching simply for "great light". Isaiah 9:2 still stands out clearly next to Matthew 4:16, but the list has gotten longer. As with any search, the key is patience and a wise choice of search parameters.)

Double click on the first reference, and the section of scripture, starting with your chosen verse appears. (If you maximize the window, at the bottom you might notice a verse beginning "For a child has been born for us." Scrolling down, we find that the immediate context for our passage (9:2) does indeed include this famous description of the Messiah, which Handel wove into his masterpiece. [Are you taking notes? Is this not important stuff!?]) At this point, you may want to compare the two texts simultaneously. Get rid of any superfluous windows (either by minimizing them or double-clicking on the windows' upper left), and under Windows in the "Bible Windows" window, choose "Horizontal Tile" so that the passages will appear side by side.

By the comparison, some questions might well be raised. Why has Matthew portrayed these people "sitting" as opposed to "walking" or "living" as in Isaiah? Why does he refer to a "region and shadow of death" instead of "the land of deep darkness"? On the one hand, one might simply say that Matthew was quoting from memory, didn't get it exactly right, and go on from there. However, to be sure, you might decide to go back to the original.

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How can I do a search in the original Greek or Hebrew without knowing either?

"But I don't know any Greek or Hebrew!"

Ixnay on the hyperventilating. Bible Windows provides all the dictionaries and translations you need, and they can be accessed quickly and painlessly. First, pull up Matthew 4:16 in the Greek New Testament: click on the AGNT (Analytical Greek New Testament) button in the "open text" toolbar, and follow the same steps you used to select a passage in the NRSV. (You might want to minimize the Isaiah window and use "Horizontal Tile" to place it next to the English translation.)
[Note: In addition to viewing two texts (or more) simultaneously, you can have them scroll simultaneously as well. Simply click on thepadlocks in left corner of the toolbars of the texts you wish to scroll together. When you move around in one, the other will follow suit. (To remove a text from those which are linked together, click on the "locked" padlock button while working with that text.) However, this process will only enable you to compare different editions of the same set of verses--e.g., Matthew 4:16-17 in the NRSV and Matthew 4:16-17 in Greek. If, on the other hand, Matthew 4:16 and Isaiah 9:2 are compared, instead of scrolling from those points, one will jump to the chapter and verse of the other.]
Click on the "Show Interlinear" button in the toolbar above the text to bring up grammatical information and a basic word-for-word translation of the text. Next, using the BHS button on the "Open Text" toolbar, bring up Isaiah 9:1 in the Hebrew. (Note that the references are one verse off, having been marked differently in the respective translations; this is, however, something you could have quickly figured out through the following steps.) Do the "Interlinear" thing again. This time, however, we discover the distressing fact that instead of a translation, there remains only obscure grammatical "gook". Not to fear. Assuming that the Hebrew word order is roughly equivalent to the English (the people sat), select the second word (remember, Hebrew reads from right to left) of the verse by highlighting it with the left mouse button. (The words are nicely divided for you in the third row of each "line".) Hit the right mouse button, and select "Show Dictionary". Two options are given: h-, a prefix (ignore it), and halach, which is what you're interested in. Click on it, hit "Ok," and we see that this is indeed a verb which means "go" or "walk." Our translation of Isaiah reflects this; the passage in Matthew does not. On the other hand, repeating this process with y'shov (again, guestimating its position by word order), we find that the word can mean either "sit" or "dwell, live." Were Matthew translating straight from the Hebrew, then, this ambiguity might have had explained his choice of words: "those who sat" as opposed to "those who lived."

But here's another thing. While the NRSV renders this word in Matthew as "sit," could not the original language have been closer to that of Isaiah? Minimize the Hebrew window to get it out of the way, and click on the Greek text of Matthew to bring it to the fore. Highlight "be sitting" (kathemai) with the left mouse button, and choose "Show Dictionary" with the right. We find that in Greek the word does have the force of "live" or "stay" as well as "sit." To be even more thorough, close this window and choose "Dictionary" from the top of the screen. Choose "Louw-Nida Lexicon", and the cursor will jump to this word in the dictionary. Double-click on the green reference beside the second definition, "reside" [85.63], and a full entry will appear. In each case, Matthew's language seems to correspond much more carefully to his source than our translation would suggest.

Close this screen, and we're off to our last question: how does Matthew's "region and shadow of death" come from "land of deep darkness?" We could go through the lexical process again to analyze the various meanings of these words, but there may be an easier option. Since the third-century Greek translation of the Scriptures--the Septuagint--had come to be the Bible of Jesus' day, it seems reasonable to look here for a clue to Matthew's quotation. Using the LXX button on the "Search Text" toolbar, bring up Isaiah 9:1 (you'll need to scroll down a bit to find it--the book order here differs from the others). Minimize the NRSV window, use "Horizontal Tile" so that both can be seen, and choose "Show Interlinear". In both we find "en hora kai skia thanatas"--the region and shadow of death. Thus it seems clear that Matthew's quotation draws specifically from this text.

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Last Updated: 30 March 2001
Comments: Library Electronic Text Resource Service /
Indiana University