Logos 6: A Review
Bible software programs have not been part of my life as a pastor. When preparing a lesson or sermon, my desk is littered with books and papers. It looks like chaos, but I assure you that it is organized chaos (most of the time!). In truth, Bible software hasn't piqued my interest very much at all through the years. I like the feel of books and I like to be surrounded by them. Yet, I confess when Logos 6 came out a few months ago, I wanted to see what everyone was raving about.
Logos graciously provided me a review copy which I have been using the past few weeks. My initial thought was that I would use it for a day or two and then write a review, but I quickly discovered that this an inadequate plan. There is too much to digest in the program for a few days of exploring and then to try and turn around to write a review. In fact, the depth of Logos 6 can feel quite overwhelming to begin with. There are so many tools and resources available that I felt like I needed to take some extended time with the program.
Hard work has paid off as I have been rewarded with a better knowledge of the program, yet I still feel like I am only scratching the surface. What I've learned and been able to access through Logos has convinced me that I need to invest the time to learn the program even better. Like most people, I don't have a great deal of free time, but I truly believe that the time invested in learning the ins and outs of Logos will save me valuable minutes and even hours in the future. It is an exceedingly helpful tool for the pastorate.
All Bible software programs can be used to analyze the Greek or Hebrew text. They all do simple searches for English, Greek, or Hebrew words. What has surprised me about Logos 6 is its ability to do an "Everything search." As a user, I can put in any word and it will search for that word or concept not only in the Scriptures but across the entire platform. Every resource I have in this digital library --maps, commentaries, lexicons, dictionaries, systematic theologies, confessions--are all searched. This alone has encouraged me to regularly use Logos. The search only takes a few seconds and at my fingertips is a wealth of information helpfully categorized. In addition, I was pleased to find that when I copy a quote or text from Logos and paste that same quote in Microsoft Word, the citation is automatically formatted and a footnote is added. This is an incredible time and frustration saver.
Another feature which has been exciting to use is what Logos calls its "Factbook." A user can enter a subject, name, place, idea, or event and Logos will pull up all the information on the subject in an organized way. For example, I chose to search for "John, the son of Zebedee." The Factbook produced all the media related to John. This search resulted in paintings picturing the Apostle John throughout the history of the church. It then showed all the events in the Bible that John was involved in. Logos is programed so well that it not only picks up "John" when he is mentioned, but anytime the text says the disciples were present. The next section has a list of dictionaries and their entries for the Apostle John. I have six to choose from. The following section has proven to be my favorite. Logos calls it the "Lemmas." It provides a listing of words used to refer to John in the New Testament by frequency. Of course, we would expect John's name to appear in this list. We would also expect "disciple" to appear. Yet, Logos is so intelligent it picks up the fact that John is called the "one," five times, "son" three times, "elder" twice, "apostle" once, and a handful of other names. I can then click on these Greek words and see a word study of how this word is used throughout the New Testament. I also have the option to click and hear its pronunciation.
The Reformed bronze package I have been using comes with the a few different English translations, Greek and Hebrew Bibles, Calvin's commentaries, a host of Bible dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Greek and Hebrew grammatical tools, maps, Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bannerman's The Church of Christ, the Westminster Standards, and many other resources. Truthfully, there are a host of resources that I will have very little use for. Yet, there are others I would like to add and Logos has a full store of books to buy. I have always been hesitant to buy digital books, but Logos may change that for me. To be able to add these books to a searchable database to aid in sermon and lesson preparation is a "game-changer." I for one, have been converted. My books will still occupy my desk (I still like to be surrounded by my "friends") but Logos is a tool worth having and using.