More on Clause Searches: Referent Data and Reported Speech

Today’s guest post is by Isaiah Hoogendyk, language editor for the content innovation department.

Previously I wrote about a feature that is brand-new to Logos 5: the Clause Search tool. What’s the secret? Referent data, which we’ve spent years carefully tagging throughout the Old and New Testaments. And closely related to Referent Data is reported speech.

If you’ve upgraded to the Scripture Study library or above, you’ve probably noticed little megaphones scattered throughout your preferred Bible. These simply indicate who is speaking in the quote that follows.


From the Gospel reading for the second Sunday in Advent, we hear a prophecy about St. John the Baptist and the coming of the Messiah:

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

Prepare the way of the Lord,

make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled,

and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,

and the crooked shall be made straight,

and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

It is clear that the prophet Isaiah spoke these words, as quoted by St. Luke in reference to John the Baptist. What else does Isaiah say in the New Testament? By running a clause search for subject:Isaiah verb:say, Logos finds eight passages using that clausal construction. If we click on the Acts 8:34 passage, we see that two verses earlier, the Ethiopian eunuch was reading a passage from Isaiah, as indicated by the speaker icon.

Before we get too distracted by word studies (on something like “sheep” or “slaughter”), or cross-references (Which passage in the Old Testament is this from again? Hint: open up the Bible Explorer), click the megaphone by “As a sheep led to the slaughter.” The sidebar in the Bible Facts window gives lots of useful information. Right now you should scroll down to the “Referred to as” section. You’ll see the referent data in all its glory: of the top four referents, only one is the prophet’s actual name.

Before I send you on your merry way to spend the rest of your day playing with Clause Search (or to first upgrade to the Scripture Study library), here are two other clause searches that are interesting to try in relation to reported speech. First, instead of using verb:say, type verb-lemma:eipon. This will change to, and search for, the Greek word εἶπον. You can search for any Greek or Hebrew verb this way, in case you want to be specific to the original language.

Also, what if you want to specify the person being spoken to? In this case, you would need to use the indirect-object label. While a search for subject:Peter verb:say produces 48 results, by adding indirect-object:Jesus to this same search we find that 17 of Peter’s sayings in the New Testament were spoken to Jesus.

Have fun, but don’t forget to eat and sleep.

Written by
Alex Renn
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Written by Alex Renn