Throughout its history the church has often utilised new technologies to help spread the good news of the gospel. Now in an age of ebooks outselling print books it makes sense for digital tools for Bible study to come into their own.
The very kind folks at Logos have given me a free upgrade to Logos 5 and I have been getting used to it for the last 5 weeks or so.
First let me encourage you why to buy this product if you don’t have a digital Bible and theological library system:
1. Excellent range and value resources
If you want to teach the Bible well, you need to study the Bible well. Making use of the fantastic gifts and skills that God has given scholars around the world. As you prepare a sermon or a Bible study you have the opportunity to learn alongside the best scholars on the planet all at the touch of a button.
2. Outstanding Search
Logos has an excellent search system, and results are really nicely delivered to you. Ofcourse you could use Bible Gateway to search scriptures but Logos allows you a degree of sophistication not possible on Bible Gateway and in a more helpful format.
But when you factor in that you can instantly search your entire library too it makes preparation so much more efficient.
Logos has a fantastic range of resources available including:
IVP’s Tyndale Commentary Set
Word Biblical Commentary Series
Expositors Bible Commentary Series
New International Commentary Series
There are regularly good deals available to buy these in their entirety saving a lot of money in the process.
One of the best collections is IVP’s Reference suite.
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Dictionary of Paul and His Letters
Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments
Dictionary of New Testament Background
IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
New Bible Dictionary
New Bible Commentary
The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
New Bible Atlas
New Dictionary of Biblical Theology
New Dictionary of Theology
3. Save Shelf Space
This may seem silly to some, but shelf space for books is a big deal in my house. If you have to move home you will be so grateful that your books are digital. Also if you lose your computer – thanks to the wonders of the cloud your books are safely stored for you.
4. Great IOS and Android Integration
I am constantly having to prepare on the move so being able to access all of the great resources from my phone or tablet is a wonderful thing.
5. Nice clean interface
I have dablled a bit with Accordance which is the biggest competitor to Logos. There is a lot to love about Accordance and perhaps it has the edge if you are able to do your preparation in the original languages. But for the average user Logos is a lot more user friendly and has a cleaner interface.
One reason to hesitate
If you already have Logos 4 is it worth paying for upgrade? This is a big question. As with many pieces of software there are regular updates, tweaks and bug fixes that are all available for free – but does this new version really warrant the expense of paying for the upgrade?
Here’s the Logos video to help convince you:
The Key new features:
1. Topic Guide
Personally, I think i would be more likely to trust the scholarly articles in New Bible Dictionary than the agregation performed by the Logos staff. So not a game changer for me.
2. Bible facts
The team have gone through and categorised key facts in scripture and how they link together. The example given is Barnabus where you can search for him and you get references that don’t mention him by name. Again I think I am more likely to trust a Bible dictionary article – but the fact that this is all hypertexted up and linked up may make it easier to navigate on Logos 5. Still not a game changer for me.
3. Time line
This information has been available to some degree in resources like the New Bible Atlas – but now there is a fully searchable and customisable timeline tool built into Logos. The tool is pretty but not that intuitive to use. For me not a game changer.
4. Bible Memorisation
– this would be a lot more useful on a handheld device – as it would be great to have flash card that you could test yourself with in the queue at the supermarket. So although I am a big fan of bible memorisation I can’t see myself using this very much. Getting my kids to use this is unlikely as they have their own laptops and don’t have a license for Logos.
5. Ease of use
What I find myself doing most often in Logos. Searching an article or a commentary and wanting cut and paste it into a word document, seems to have become more complicated. It is not as easy to do this and for the bibliographical material to travel with it. Which is frustrating. Perhaps I need a little bit more time get used to the new interfaces. But here comes my main concern – in seeking to add more facilities which will probably not be used a great deal by many of its users – has logos made their product worse? As the design gurus often tell us “less is more.” I would suggest that in future iterations – this principle of simplicity should trump diversity of functionality. By adding more bangs and whistles to the tool the programme seems to be bigger and bulkier. I can hear my Macbook Air’s processor working overtime to keep the software running. For someone who needs their resources on the move this is a bit of a problem as I have a thin and light laptop to keep things nice and portable. But Logos does not seem as easy to run on it as it used to be.
If you don’t currently own a Bible software programme / library system logos is definitely worth the investment. If you own Logos 4 I don’t think the upgrade is worth it… yet.