By Steven Bancarz| I have been using Logos for several years now. I love it, to say the least. I treated myself to this Bible study software after I came out of the New Age movement with some of the funds I had left over from my career as a blogger, as I knew it would be a long-term investment into ministry. Little did I know how much I would end up using it.
I have used it for every YouTube video or article I have produced since then, as well as for personal study and my own edification, as well as for research and sourcing for my new book https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/creation?lang=eng (the foreword written by Logos’ Scholar-In-Residence Dr. Michael Heiser). I cannot speak highly enough about.
I will most likely do a proper review of it sometime in the future for a YouTube video with a walk-through and basic tutorial of how I use Logos for exegesis, word studies, topic studies, and more. Rather than doing a review of the entire software, we are going to look at some new upgrades that are specific to Logos 8.
I was approached recently by their Digital Marketing Manager, Derek (who has been a tremendous blessing), and was asked to do a review of Logos 8 in exchange to being gifted a free upgrade from 7 to 8. So while this is technically a sponsored article, this is a company that I take pride in being able partner with, that I firmly believe in, that I would encourage any Christian who is serious about Bible study to explore, and is one I prayed and hoped to God that I would be connected to before I even was reached out to by the company.
In this article we are going to review some new features in the newly released Logos 8. It will not be exhaustive, but will be a couple of the things that have caught my eye thus far.
1) New Interface
What you are looking at is my the layout I have saved that I used for every purpose, from personal devotions to exegetical study. I have my ESV translation paired with an extra-Biblical cross-reference resource to the right of it, with some Bible study tools and dictionaries open at the top toolbar for easy access. My Word Study tool is tucked away on the left, ready to be expanded when I double-click a word to see where it comes up in my lexicons, what senses the word is used in, what other Greek/Hebrew words are also translated to that word, etc.
At the bottom are study Bible notes from the ESV, Reformation, and Faithlife Study Bibles, as well as about 20 commentaries that are all synced with the ESV Bible I have open (such as the Word Bible Commentary or MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary), meaning that they remain open and scroll in sequence when I scroll in the Bible window. If I am reading Romans 6 in my ESV translations, all my commentaries will automatically follow along with me as I read.
If I search a new chapter in the Bible, all the commentaries automatically flip to where I searched. This saves countless hours of time having to flip through commentaries.
The way the tabs look has been updated and refreshed. The search button, the layout button, even the logos for their Bible study tools when you click on “tools” or “guides” have been refreshed. Everything seems like it is finally modernized to the point where it fits in well aesthetically with the admittedly-privileged preferences of the Bible-thumping millennial that is me.
I believe Logos recognizes a major possible market for the software are those who are in Bible college/seminary looking to vamp up their studies. After all, this is the generation that is more tech-savvy to begin with. These adjustments to the aesthetics make the software feel more modern and youthful which simply makes it more of an enjoyable experience for the user.
2) New Library Search Filter
For the first time, when you search your library in Logos 8, you can filter your search through a wide variety of categories. For example, if I search my library for resources that have the word “Romans” in them, or “New Testament” in them, I can narrow down these sources by their “type”, or “publisher”, or even “subject”. When you click “type” for example, your library shows what the different types of resources you own that have that word or phrase in their title so you can be more specific in your search.
Monograph, Commentary, Journal, Lexicon, and Grammar are some of filters that you can pick from. Meaning you can easily locate all commentaries specifically that have the word “Romans” in them, rather than searching “Romans” in your library at large and having to sift through monographs and journals and Bibles to get at the kind of resource you are looking at.
This to me is simply my favorite new feature as of right now because of how practical it is for the kind of ministry I do. Simply put, my digital library is now organized and easily accessible.
3) Theological guide
The theological guide is a new study tool that I am excited to utilize more in my studies, in particular a study I am doing for a collaboration with some fellow YouTuber’s on what Scripture says about a Christian’s relationship to the Torah. Let’s use the example of the example Three Uses of “Law” in Scripture.
When I search this topic in the theological study guide, Logos provides me with a few other suggested/related searches that are similar (Theological law, natural law, moral law, etc). Once I click on the one that best suites my study, some really cool things show up. First, I get a chart that shows me where this theological idea fits into how the theology guide has categorized this topic, so that I can trace back broader parent topics in my studies:
Next, I am given a list of relevant passages that have to do with “the three uses of law” topic, which is a time-saver and saves me having to dig through cross references (if cross references would even be specific enough to direct me to high theological ideas like this). Additionally, I am recommended works that relate to this topic, but most importantly (in my opinion) I am given a list or articles in all the systematic theologies in my library that talk specifically about this topic:
This may be a little hard to see in the article, but this is a very useful new tool for someone who is studying systematic theology, especially given that in the “topic” section you can study slightly broader parent topics that will help give context to the one that was searched. This will be useful to me immediately in my next video project. This is just a new study feature among a host of others. As you can imagine, it is easy to get pleasantly lost just exploring the different tools and functions of the software.
Something I want to be using more in articles and YouTube videos is their new canvas tool, where you can essentially add Bible verses to blank canvas, highlight some portions, draw line from a word in one verse to a word in the next, insert the Bible study tool for a given word, and you can essentially have an aesthetic collage for a PowerPoint slide in a sermon or presentation, YouTube video, etc. Here is one I briefly made on a few passages that have to do with homosexuality:
On the menu on the left side of the side of the canvas, Logos 8 makes “info cards” available, which are cards from their Bible Study Tool that you can drag and drop where you want, drawing arrows to relevant passages. You can highlight, add borders, titles, colors, shapes, etc. It’s really an amazing tool that I have just began to explore and am interesting in getting better at for the purpose of organizing teaching points in video content.
Another thing that has caught my eye is the enhanced speed of the program, which can now apparently search things in your library 10 times as fast. It does seem to operate more smoothly and cleanly as a result of all the updates.
Other new features include a customization dashboard/home page, custom search guides which enable you to create a type of guide with the categories you want to search Bible passages within, and improved organization and customization within the notes you take. For a list of all the new features in Logos 8, you can click here.
If Logos 8 is something you feel you want to invest in for your own personal studies, or something you feel may benefit you as a study, teacher, pastor, or content creator, you can click the following link and use the code RFJ8 at checkout to save 10% on your base packaged with 5 free books to choose from. It is something I personally recommend looking into and getting skilled at, especially for serious students of the Word, as the amount of time it saves you in study is well worth it.