By Steven Bancarz| Logos Bible Software has been a tremendous blessing to me over the years. I have been using it since the spring of 2017, and it has become foundational to my personal study, content creation, and schooling. It’s been a game-changer with the amount of time I save, and I would have a hard time imagining going without it. Within seconds, I can search through thousands of resources for words, sets of words, Bible verses, etc., and instantly a catalogue will come up with all the resources that contain that particular word/verse. I can then click a drop-down arrow to see the context in which each resources used it in preview mode, and if I want to see more of the context, I click and draw the reference to another window where that reference will open up to that spot.
I can also search particular books for any words, sets of words, verses, etc. I don’t have to locate a bunch of books in my library to find information on “New Age spirituality” or “astrology” if I am doing a topical study to get Biblical clarity on a certain issue. I can simply use the “search” tool, and it will show me every resource it’s used alphabetically organized, and the context in which it’s used. It takes on a few seconds what it would take hours to do flipping through pages and indexes in hard-copy library to find helpful commentary on a focus topic.
And by having commentaries all open at the same time in independent windows linked with my digital ESV Bible, I can scroll through as many commentaries as I own simultaneously with the scrolling of my Bible. They flip automatically as I scroll or search in my Bible. This allows me to quickly reference what my available commentaries have to say about a verse in the time it takes to click the mouse.
What’s helpful is that when you buy resources in bundles on Logos.com, you save hundreds to thousands of dollars that you would have spent retail to have all of these resources. It allows me to have a much larger are more accessible library for a fraction of the price. It’s more economical in the long and short run.
In light of using Logos, I struggle to justify buying books hard-copy unless they’re unavailable on Logos, and only if I know they are more of the kind of read I would personally enjoy to have hard-copy as a personal experience reading it. I will sometimes buy on Logos books I have bought in the past hard copy knowing I will prefer to have them in that system for research. An example would be Wayne Grudem’s book “The Gift of Prophecy In The New Testament”.
This is something I bought hard copy but later found was available on Logos. It helps to have it on Logos as well if this is a topic of interest for study. The point is, with how economical and efficient the Logos tools and guides are, it’s changed the way I think about buying books personally. It has so much to offer.
Logos reached out to me to do a review Logos 9, giving me the upgraded version from Logos 8 in exchange for a review. Some of the new updates for Logos 9 have to do with pastoral ministry (Preaching Mode, Sermon Builder improvements, Sermon Manager). I won’t be commenting on these additions, since I am not a pastor, nor am I studying to be one, and so I simply won’t be using these new feature upgrades though they would be useful for that line of ministry. There are lots that I will be using that anyone will benefit from regardless of vocation, and I would like to cover some of these to share what is new with Logos 9 and how it may add additional value to your Bible study, and why it may be worth the upgrade for you.
1) Dark Mode
While more of an aesthetic feature, the new “dark mode” seems to be easier on the eyes than looking at a light screen. It’s less intense and less straining. It gives a softer feel and makes it more pleasurable to use. It’s a little bit of an adjustment to get used to and can be switched back to light-mode at any time, but I believe long-term it will make for more enjoyable usage and a little less strain on the eyes.
Above is my default layout which is what I look at when I open Logos up. I have a row of commentaries on the bottom panel that are linked to my ESV Bible in the middle panel that scroll together in unison. The Bible panel is shared with the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge commentary which scrolls with the entire set of commentaries as well (since they are all linked to ‘Set A’). Across the top panels are some systematic theologies and dictionaries for quick reference. It seems to enhance overall user experience.
It will also help save energy for those using laptop or Ipad devices.
2) Counselling Guide
This is a cool new feature for Logos 9 that I look forward to seeing additions made to in future releases. With the counselling guide, you can search any topic relating to emotional and mental hardship/suffering, and you get some information from your library on that topic. Some bullet-points will emerge for that particular topic, along with a list of verses that pertain to it to give you a good place to start rooting your study in the word of God. This will be a good study tool for people who have a counselling slant in their ministry or interest of study. God has me moving a little more in this direction as of late, and I look forward to taking advantage of this study tool.
The Bible has a lot to say about emotional and mental grief, and not everyone experiences the kind of suffering that is necessary to relate to another person experientially. It’s important to learn about the kind of suffering they are in to know how to meet them where they are at effectively. To have Scripture, bullet points, and resources all come up through a simple search will prove itself to be a great place to start study.
Having had some considerable experience on the receiving end of Christian counselling and Christian psycho-therapy, I can testify to the reality that not only is this kind of ministry advantageous, I would argue that it’s essential. We need people with mercy gifts and counselling gifts exercising their God-given passions in the body of Christ, and I’m glad to see Logos 9 so willingly embrace this important aspect of ministry.
3) Beefed Up Factbook
In Logos 9, there is an expansion of the Factbook tool where it now has about 10 times the amount of pages that it had in Logos 8. There are roughly 15 new kinds of subjects that are now included in Factbook that aren’t there in Logos 8. Data that used to be in isolated places has now culminated in Factbook in a more comprehensive way that allows Factbook to act more as the beginning point of study. They have added a bunch of Greek words to Factbook too, whereby searching a word in factbook will pull up its meaning, it’s usages in the Septuagint and the early church fathers, commentary articles, journal articles, and so forth.
While I haven’t used Factbook in the past (preferring other guides and tools instead), I could see myself using Factbook in the New Logos because of the new additions they’ve made to their database. It almost serves as a quick replacement for Wikipedia in some instances, but contains your personal library in the information that comes up, allowing you to access more of the information in your library from Factbook. Where I could see this being useful for me in particular is doing a topical study on a particular Bible character, church father, or reformer, where I will get an overview and a wealth of information and resources emerge from my library (and the Logos store) on this person.
Above is a tutorial from Logos 9 on how to navigate Factbook. Beefing it up with new pages and new content gives us more value out of the library we already own, which is good news to those who already use this tool.
4) Commentaries In Passage Guide
The Commentaries Guide has been refreshed in Logos 9, which though not a new feature, enables you to refine searches through your commentaries in ways that couldn’t been done before. Now, we can pull up the Commentary Guide (or Passage Guide or wherever else the Commentary Guide may be added by us), and we can sort through our commentaries via the following categories:
- Priority organizes your results by the order you’ve set in your prioritized resources.
- Series organizes your results alphabetically by series title.
- Author displays the authors of your commentaries alphabetically, grouping all titles by an author together.
- Denomination groups commentaries by the denominational affiliation of their author (if known).
- Type gathers your commentaries into groups based on their purpose (such as application or exegesis).
- Era uses each commentary’s original publication date to group them by era (contemporary, modern, etc.).
“Era” is the most useful here for me. It breaks our commentaries down into “Contemporary” (1960 – present) “Modern” (1700 – 1959) “Reformation” (1517 – 1699) and Nicene (326 – 451). I am guessing that if I had commentaries from other timeslots they would come up in a separate category. I appreciate being able to see what commentaries in my library are saying in different periods of history. Of course, we can do a passage guide through our entire library and see how verses are used in monographs, theologies, and essays through different eras in our entire library instead of just through commentaries, but it won’t be organized like this or give us the richness that commentaries will.
Commentaries are an essential part of study. To be able to search our commentaries according to our particular denomination, era, or author will prove valuable to many who use the Commentaries search guide.
This tool is pretty amazing. This is the new “Charts” tool. What I did was open up this tool and search the word “sanctified” in Charts (which simultaneously will open a Bible and search through it there as well). A chart will come up showing showing me how many times this word is used in each book of the Bible, and whatever percentage of those usages each chapter contains. This would be helpful in want to see (or teach) on how often a certain Biblical author uses a word or phrase compared to others. Or to show how an author omits a word that others include. Or how often a word is used in the Old Testament verses the New Testament. Regardless of what we are looking for, we will be delivered with a beautiful presentation.
There are 20 different styles of graphs that can be chosen from that organize the same content with different presentation styles. Line, bar, donut, column, and pie graphs are some of the options to choose from. There are 10 different color themes to choose from as well. I chose vibrant for the example of the donut graph in the above image. I could see a big use for this in any kind of presentation whether for a class, to a class or congregation, or for a video project of some kind.
It works for personal study too of course as a way to enhance our own familiarity with the text, or to present the data in terms of the percentages without the images, but there is something so effective about using visuals in presentations that seems to add a unique weight to what is being said. As Logos describes this new feature on their site:
“Charts tell stories, attract attention, and add impact to your study and presentations. With the Charts Tool, Logos does the creative work for you, instantly transforming a search into an eye-catching visual.” It certainly does this, and I look forward to using this at a future opportunity that fits the occasion.
Logos 9 is a wise investment for any seminary student, pastor, professor, teacher, content creator, or anyone who wants to take their studies up to another level on a personal level for their own edification sake or to be more effective in the sphere of influence the Lord has called them to. The amount of time and money you end up saving makes it work it in the long-run, and sometimes immediately in the short run.
Having Logos research your entire library for you through dozens of different study guides and tools will help you find exactly what you are looking for in seconds instead of hours, and the new additions to Logos 9 (5 of 16 of which we covered) will further serve advance our studies.
If you believe this study software might be right for you, you can click here to save 10% on all Logos 9 Base Packages and pick out 5 free additional books. For those of you who wish to check this out, I pray it will bless you as it has blessed me.