Lexham Bible Dictionary (LBD) was crafted for a broad audience: the pastor, the scholar, and the curious explorer. LBD is an academic-level resource, but entries always start by laying the foundation for understanding. A curious explorer might need only the initial definition of an article, while a pastor might read half the entry and an academic might mull over the entire article. LBD is designed to help you interact with the biblical text no matter what level of knowledge you have when you start. And as you grow in your study of Scripture, there will always be something new to discover.
Lexham Bible Dictionary is engaged with the best and most recent scholarship and committed to the authority of the Bible. This is a key tenet of the project: to learn from and wrestle with the full breadth of biblical scholarship, while standing in the rich tradition of the faith summarized by the ancient Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary includes:
- exhaustive coverage of biblical people, places, and events in their cultural contexts;
- detailed coverage of ancient texts and documents that influenced the Bible’s context;
- clear identification of every person, place, and ancient document related to the Bible—resulting in one article per person, for example, rather than one article on multiple people who share the same name;
- deep exploration of the Bible’s context, textual development, and the process of canonization;
- academic-level content that is written to be accessible for anyone;
- a critical, unbiased approach to every entry, so that readers can consider the interpretive options and make up their own minds.
Lexham Bible Dictionary is your starting point for biblical studies, from roughly 3,000 BC to AD 200. It also selectively covers topics from after AD 200 when these documents, people, or events relate to research on the biblical text. This includes a body of articles that address ancient texts themselves—not only those that were deemed authoritative for the Church through the process of canonization, but also many nonbiblical texts (up to the fourth century AD). These documents, such as the writings known as the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament Apocrypha, often surface in discussions about biblical figures and ancient teachings. LBD also includes selected coverage of the church fathers insofar as they relate to pioneering biblical interpretation or the shape of the canon.
Creating Lexham Bible Dictionary
LBD is the product of collaboration with scholars from around the world. The dictionary comprises over 4.5 million words in more than 7,000 articles by over 700 contributors from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds—the equivalent of six encyclopedia-sized volumes in print.
LBD was built using the technology and databases that power Logos Bible Software. By having a comprehensive database of every person and place in the Bible at our fingertips and the library and research power of Logos Bible Software, we were able to create a truly unique and thoroughly reviewed project. What used to take weeks, we could now do in minutes. This, combined with innovative project management and a very large number of contributors, accelerated the standard 10- to 15-year timeframe for a project like this to 5 years.
Our editorial team sorted the entries into individual people, places, documents, events, and types of literature. In the process, we generated over 4,000 short articles. For these entries our major contributors and editors gathered common knowledge into a concise reference format, often reworking data either from the Bible Knowledge Database that drives features of Logos Bible Software and/or from the public domain. For the approximately 3,000 longer-form articles, individual contributors retained a certain amount of flexibility in matters like an article’s overall focus, areas of emphasis, and style of citing extrabiblical resources.
Lexham Press is committed to continually improving Lexham Bible Dictionary. The digital edition will stay up-to-date as scholarship moves forward and new discoveries are made.
Using Lexham Bible Dictionary
Designed as a digital resource, LBD seamlessly integrates with Logos Bible Software. Each article contains links to all Scripture references, additional links to resources in the Logos Bible Software ecosystem, and even more links that are hand-curated to help connect you with related topics and background material. Some of these links occur directly in the body text, while others are included in a Related Articles section at the end of the entry.
Lexham Bible Dictionary is easy to navigate: The digital data built into each article results in a dictionary that can automatically suggest multiple equivalent terms/titles for any topic you’re searching for—and some data works behind the scenes to take you straight from the Bible text to the exact person or place you’re looking up. Although other books in the Logos Bible Software platform have similar functionality, LBD is the first resource built from scratch with this technology in mind—making it more useful than any other dictionary in your library.
Lexham Bible Dictionary clearly identifies and labels ancient documents related to the Bible, along with ancient literature written contemporaneously or in the earliest years of the canon’s reception. When applicable, entries explain how an ancient document was received throughout history and often suggest how to apply the particular writing to study of the Bible’s context. In articles overviewing specific types of literature and historical and scholarly concepts, LBD defines the relevant terminology, editorial approach, and categorization methods used throughout the resource. These articles also cross-reference related articles, either within the article itself or in a separate section at the end. These entries are great places to get started, especially if you are new to the academic field of biblical studies.
Our Hope for You
When we set out to create the Lexham Bible Dictionary in 2010, our primary goal was to develop the Bible dictionary we always wanted. We believed that a resource uniting scholarship and faith would make God’s Word more approachable and more understandable—all for the sake of Christ’s gospel reaching more people. Without a doubt, we have seen God act on our behalf multiple times to bring this project to fruition. He has shown His faithfulness time and again. We are grateful for the opportunity to present LBD to the Church, and we hope that our efforts will lead you deeper into the Bible and into friendship with its Author.
With much love for Christ and His work in all of us,
John D. Barry, Editor
On behalf of the Lexham Bible Dictionary team
Summer 2015, Bellingham, WA
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