If I have seemed partly distracted for the last week, I blame it mostly on a new program on my laptop computer, the Logos Bible Software Scholar’s Library. Last fall a friend urged me to get this program because, he said, it would save time in Bible study and sermon preparation. After working with Logos for a week, I can see what he means. The program brings together a vast array of commentaries, Hebrew and Greek resources, Bible histories, maps, charts, concordances, and a long list of Bible translations, all joined in one interlocking system.
I imagine that there are, roughly speaking, two different ways to approach something like Logos Bible Software. The first way is to take your time, read the documentation carefully, watch the videos (there are 70 available), and figure out all the bells and whistle. The other way—the only way I know—is to skip the documentation, fire up the software, and see what happens. I am happy to report that Logos is amazingly easy to use. I am thinking right now of another piece of Bible software I own—of a very technical nature—that I find maddeningly difficult to use. I even forced myself to watch the videos that came with it, and I still can’t figure it out. The folks at Logos avoid that problem by linking everything together in a very user-friendly system. The home screen offers you three basic choices:
You type in whatever you’re looking for and the program does the rest. There are abundant drop-down menus for those looking for things like “Greek Morophological Bible Search,” “Compare Pericopes,” “Timelines,” “Weights and Measures,” and a section I have not yet checked out called “Bible Puzzles.”
It would do no good to have hundreds of books in the database if you had to look up each one separately. Here is where you discover the real genius behind the Logos system. Everything in the database is electronically linked so one search yields an immense store of useful information. Let me illustrate. I just typed in Hebrews 11. Immediately the text pops up in my chosen version on the right side of the screen. Beneath the search window all sorts of amazing things start to happen. First there is a section showing 16 different commentaries on Hebrews 11—everything from Matthew Henry to Warren Wiersbe to Wuest’s Word Studies to the Bible Knowledge Commentary to something called the Lexham Syntactic New Testament that takes every word of the Greek text and defines it, declines it, and explains how it fits in the text. Below the commentary section there is the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, an elaborate cross-reference system. Then there is a section called “Biblical People” that creates a diagram showing the relationships between the various names mentioned in Hebrews 11 along with a ton of scripture references. Following that a section on literary typing, then a section on Old Testament quotes and allusions in Hebrews 11. I didn’t count but it looks like they cite over 100 passages. Then a section on Important Words arranged alphabetically. When you click on “faith” or “Noah” or “Moses” or “reputation,” another screen opens up with further links. Then a fascinating section that allows you to compare word usage among various English translations of Hebrews 11. Then a section that takes you to the Internet to find sermons on Hebrews 11. Then Power Point presentations related to Hebrews 11. Finally a list of maps, music, key words and illustrations relevant to Hebrews 11.
Later I typed in “Nazirite” on the Bible Word Study search line. Because that is a specialized topic, the list was much shorter. First there was a definition, links to five sources within the Logos library, and links to every Bible passage where the Nazirite vow is mentioned. The underlying Hebrew word is displayed with clickthrough capability for further research. The final section is the ESV Hebrew-English Reverse Interlinear Old Testament, which gives you the Hebrew word along with the complete text of the 13 places where the word appears in the Old Testament. If you type in “Nazirite” on the Study Topic line, you get eight further links.
You can do the same thing with any verse in Bible, any person or place mentioned in the Bible, and any topic related to the Bible.
We do live in amazing times. Such a piece of software did not exist when I went to seminary 30 years ago. It’s as if someone packed up a seminary, put it on a DVD, and said, “Put this on your computer.”
The final thing I should mention is that Logos offers a vast array of additional electronic books, both contemporary volumes and out-of-print classics, that you can add to your program by downloading them for a fee. And they are adding more all the time.
The folks at Logos have created a program that benefits pastors, professors, Bible teachers and Bible students everywhere. Pastors especially will find it indispensable in preparing their weekly messages. For ease of use and depth and breadth of content, Logos stands alone as the preeminent Bible software program.
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