Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

For this final post on the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary in Logos, let’s take a look at how you can use the series on a mobile device. You can find two other recent posts on AYB here.


Perhaps at church, or in conversation with a friend or at work, the topic of “the mark of the beast” comes up. You were able to offer your opinion that the number of the beast (666) is a symbol of evil referring to a person or thing that would be meaningful to those who first read Revelation.

Later, you go to lunch and think back on that conversation, wondering about the details of what John might have been getting at. What would it look like in this moment to pull out your phone and use AYB in Logos to explore this topic?

Let’s open the Logos mobile app and start with Factbook.


You might remember that “mark of the beast” is mentioned somewhere around the middle of the Revelation but not remember exactly where. Factbook is a great place to start because it will list the key passages related to the topic. Just start typing “mark of the beast” and select the concept from the dropdown menu.

The first thing you see is the Lexham Bible Dictionary entry. If you read just the portion of the entry visible in this screenshot, you could get your answer as to which verse mentions the number of the beast.

Scrolling down just a bit, however, lists the key passages for you.

Reading the passage in context

Now, you can see that the passage you are looking for is the second one listed, the one at the very end of Revelation 13. Clicking on that passage opens your Bible to the verse.

We can now (1) read the verse in context and (2) know exactly where to go in the AYB Revelation volume.

Navigating to AYB

In order to pull up Craig Koester’s AYB Revelation commentary, you could simply open the library, type in ayb rev, and click on the top search result.

You might, however, be better served by opening the passage guide and typing in Rev 13:18.

This will allow you to jump straight to the entry for Revelation 13:18 in Koester’s AYB and any of your other commentaries. On the desktop app, I prioritized the AYB series and placed it at the top of the commentaries list, so clicking the first link takes me to where I need to be in Koester’s work.

Reading AYB

In the first paragraph, you can see that the number of the beast, according to Koester, should be understood as gematria, a practice where numbers correspond to letters of the alphabet.

Reading further, you see that Koester understands ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ as “the number of a person,” rather than “the number of humanity.”

As you scroll, he links to a portion of the commentary that discusses the history of interpretation, but he also begins to walk through the options he sees as most plausible. Koester says the number functions in several ways. “First, it represents a specific name.”

“Second, gematria could invite the readers to connect names and traits.”

“Third, a number can suggest certain characteristics that can be linked through gematria.”

Koester walks readers through the rhetorical benefit of posing a riddle like “the number of the beast,” and finally he walks through the process of “calculating the number.” What sort of mental hoops would one have to jump through to do this?

In the end, he concludes as follows:

Readers must then look for a name whose letters add up to the correct total, and the name Nero Caesar does add up to 666 when written in Hebrew letters (Note on 13:18). Those who succeed in doing the calculation join the community of those who have wisdom (13:18), which in this context means discerning the Nero-like qualities of the ruling power.


Having AYB in Logos allows you to pursue answers to the questions that might arise throughout the day, even if you only have your phone with you at lunch. You don’t have to wait until you are in the ideal study location with thousands of print resources. You can pull out your phone and have easy access to in-depth, first-rate scholarship. It is a worthwhile investment.

This post wraps up my three part Anchor Yale Bible Commentary series. You can find the other posts here.

If you are interested in checking out Logos 9, you can do so for free with their Logos 9 Basic package. Even the basic package comes with a tagged, searchable copy of the SBL Greek New Testament.