Greetings Christian Bloggers,
Logos Bible Software is an indispensable tool for a lot of clergy and those who really enjoy doing in-depth Bible studies - it also has a place on the computers of Christian bloggers and Christian writers.
Version 6 of Logos was recently released and I have had a chance to give it a go for a few months.
There are a number of really neat, and useful, new features that I wanted to highlight, that might be of benefit for those who are Christian bloggers and Christian writers.
Before we begin, I do want to disclose that I was given an upgrade from Version 5 to Version 6, with the expectations to use it and write a review. I am by no means a Logos power-user, and probably understand how to harness only about 20% of everything that the Logos Bible software offers. I have used Logos Bible software for a few years and is my go-to software when it comes time to do research on Biblical, and even exo-biblical, content for articles I write, for sermons, and for when I am just wondering about something.
My Approach To This Review:
I think what I will do in writing this review is walk through how I would use Logos 6 as a means of writing an article/blog for publishing on the internet.
The topic of my would-be-article will be "John the Baptist"
So now let us start and begin to look at some of the new features of Logos 6!
The first new feature I want to take a look at, because it will be the basis for how I will approach writing my would-be article, is called "Timeline".
Timeline, as one would expect, gives you a crazy helpful insight into the timeline of a person, an event, and just about anything else you can think of.
In this instance I typed in "john the Baptist" in the search field (top right) and adjusted the dates (top left)from 9 BC to AD 52, giving a narrowed in look at the history of John the Baptist as recorded in the Holy Text.
I could have expanded the dates to earlier dates to include Old Testament mentions of John the Baptist being cited (Isaiah 40:3, Mal 3:1) but I wanted to focus only on the New Testament for this study.
As one would expect with Logos, when you mouse-over something you get a detailed insight into the specific event, as shown in higher detail here:
The blue links allow you to view further information within different resources of your Logos library. The little lock icon next to the bottom resource indicates I do not own that resources and therefor cannot open/read it, and it will take you to the Logos online store where you can purchase the resource if you want too. By clicking on any of the blue researches that you do own, it will open up the resource for you to do further study and investigation on the given issue.
So as we can see from the Timeline John the Baptist was born in BC 6 and he began his ministry in AD 26, making him the traditional 30-32 years of age when men became members of the clergy.
The Timeline shows two different dates for the baptism of Jesus, this is because it is unknown exactly when this rather important event took place.
You can reference the 'Chronology of the Baptism of Jesus' on Wikipedia for more clarification this topic.
The Biblical Event Navigator feature of Logos gives us a bit further insight into this matter:
As we can see, there is a reference in John 1:29-34 that indicates a different timeline, but again as learned from Wikipedia, it all goes back to the Tiberius Caesar issue.
As there is greater support for the baptism taking place in AD 26 we will take that stance for the sake of our would-be-article.
In Matthew 17 we are presented with a powerful insight into the power of John the Baptist in the scope of Biblical history. We see that he was compared to Elijah.
If we reference John 3:30 we have the powerful statement, "He must increase, but I must decrease".
When we use the Text Comparison feature of Logos we can see that this is one of those rare verses when all of the major translation have an exact translation!
Why is this important for our study? Because we are making a case of just how important John the Baptist was - that he was a man that many people saw as the messiah.
Using the new "Inline Search" (watch video) feature of Logos 6 I can very quickly looking up all of the times when this same word "increase" (from John 3:30) is used;and we can see that there are 86 times this specific word is used.
Another great new feature of Logos 6 is called "Factbook" and I like using it as a starting place for whatever it is I am wanting to research.
As we are already looking at John the Baptist, let us see what the Factbook shows when we enter that:
This new Factbook feature is a really great jumping point to do quick searches on - even if you are following a rabbit trail while searching something else, just call up the Factbook, type in your rabbit hole, and see where it leads!
English Audio Pronunciations Dictionary:
This is one of my really favorite new features,and I wish I would have had this while preaching four days a week in the walls of a church, because lets just be honest, sometimes there are words in the Holy Text that just make you scratch your head on how to pronounce it! But with this new feature, you can sit there and listen to it a whole bunch of times to learn how it is pronounced! By just clicking on any of the words in my search of "nites" I can hear exactly how the word is pronounced in English!
What is any good Bible software without a family tree feature? Logos 6 has a truly amazing family tree feature, and it even lets you change the icons from rather fun and cute icons to the more profession and strict icons. Here is how the Family Tree looks, using some nice cute icons, for "John the Baptist".
Logos also makes a mobile app called "Logos Bible" that is worth checking out.
Here is an identical search, as above, for "John the baptist", it did a search through my entire library.
Probably the only disappointment with the Logos Bible app is that the "Home" should be the Bible, and not just a bunch of advertisement links to other Logos social media. Having the Bible under the "Read" is just counter-intuitive.
As a Bible reading app, Logos Bible is one of the better ones out there, at least in the Apple/iOS world that I live in. For those translations that include audio you can both read and listen to the Bible and it follows along the text so you don't have to constantly tap on your screen.
Logos 6 Downsides:
Cost. There is no denying that Logos Bible Software is the BEST on the market. It comes with a price-tag though. Typically those who are clergy can get their church or ministry to pay for the software. For those who do not have that luxury, such as bloggers, the price tag can be on the "ouch" side of things. To help with this, I am able to offer a discount, via ChristianBlog.Com, by going to http://logos.com" class="blueLink" target="_blank">http://logos.com/christianblog" target="_blank">http://logos.com" class="blueLink" target="_blank">http://logos.com/christianblog to make your purchase -- use the coupon code "CHRISTIANBLOG6" (christianblog with a 6 after it, as in, Logos, version 6). Huge thanks to Logos for being willing to offer this discount!
Downloading. Even if you have the Logos Bible software on a CD, you are still going to have to do software upgrades. These can be rather large at times, especially your first time after installing it. For me it was over 9 GIGS of data - insane! I have a data cap of 350 gigs per month, I know a lot of folks that have 100 gigs per month with the more traditional at-home internet connections. To have almost 10% of their data cap taken up by a single software update is kinda harsh. Furthermore, when Logos pushes out new software updates, and they are rather often when compared to other software,the updates are often times over 200megs - just something else to be aware of.
RAM usage. I use Logos Bible Software on an extremely fast Windows computer! It is an i7-4790K proc (overclocked to 4.4 GHz) on an ASUS Sabertooth Z97 MARK2 Motherboard and 32 GB of Kingston HyperX FURY 1866MHz DDR3 RAM. This is all crazy fast hardware and about the best that money can buy, short of spending over $10,000 on a PC and going truly insane. When Logos Bible Software does an "indexing" it can take HOURS - and on a machine of this level, that is just unacceptable. Furthermore it consumed, at maximum, only 29% of my available CPU usage, and this too is just unacceptable. Its lack of multi-core threading at high levels leaves a lot to be desired. Some of us spend a lot of money to make things go fast - and spend HUGE amounts of money for lots of RAM to make these type of tasks go really fast- but Logos seems to be taking the approach of "less intensive and slower"... soooo wrong! Oh, I am also running Logos on the second fastest SSD drive on the market, capable of over 50,000 IOPS so its not a HD issue... Logos really needs to invest more time into making their software perform faster on top end PC machines. I realize they are mostly Apple/Mac people, but this neglect of high end PC's is just, well, unfortunately sad.
"Send To Kindle" is a new feature in Logos 6 but it seems to hidden beyond anywhere I can find it -and this is a HUGE disappointment. I LOVE my Kindle and the ability to just click a button and have whatever I am researching on my PC sent to my Kindle for reading later in the day, or over the weekend, would be really nice to have. If you use the Logos 6 "help" and search for "Send to Kindle" you get these results: (yeah, none). At the time of publishing this, the "Manage Mobile Devices" page over at Logos also has no way to add the ability to link my Kindle... so further frustration and thus worth documenting under the "Negatives".
There are other annoyances that get under my skin... such as the "Text Comparison" feature and the way it makes it sooo frustrating to add new translations (i.e.: if you don't use a space AND press Enter, it just won't work... and even than, sometimes it doesn't)... and other UI issues that a refined piece of software should have solved.
Logos 6 Positives:
Great New Features! Some great new features over version 5 of the software that make Logos 6 much easier and nicer for the non-clergy. One of the greatest downsides I hear people say about Logos is just how hard it can be to really understand how it works -- they do, after all, have to put on teaching conventions to help train people to become power users -- but with Logos 6, there are more features now available for us 'non power users' and easier than ever to get to them!
Integration with FaithLife.Com - which is an online resources that Logos Corp (which has now been rebranded as "FaithLife Corp") has put together that is somewhat like facebook, but, I doubt they would want to market it as a "Christian facebook" - and I am not either, just saying, its kinda like a Christian facebook. Not sure how big of a community it has. I am a member but have not committed to using it, as the user base seems built around Logos users. But, anyway, this tie-in with the Logos Bible Software and the online services that they offer is a very good direction, I feel. At the same time, being bounced to faithlife.com when inside of the Logos software, does get annoying. That said, there are some great additional resources that can be found at their website. My favorites are the wallpapers.
A lot of small UI changes that probably only the most experienced Logos user will use. I stumbled upon a few of them and went "Oh, that's nice!".
And, of course, all of the really cool features I mentioned above in the main review. Some of these new features are crazy helpful as somebody who does a lot of writing.
First, let me say that I am not a fan of installed software in this day and age. I have exactly five pieces of software installed on my (crazy fast) computer. A web browser, a programming editor, an image editor, a ftp client, video software, and logos bible software. We are in 2015 and it is time for software to go online. It is time for Logos to go online. I would pay for a monthly/yearly subscription to have an online Logos. I have to be honest and say that I would not have bought Logos 6, yet I am grateful for Logos giving me an upgrade to version 6, and the reason I would not is because I want online software. I want the ability to grab any laptop in my office, or even a buddies laptop, and pick up right where I left off on any other laptop or desktop computer - and I shouldn't have to use remote desktop software to do this. I gladly pay for dozens of online services/software and I look forward to the day when I can do the same with Logos.
I do want to repeat what I said above about Logos 6 being the best version yet for non-clergy - it is worthy of repeating. Logos 6 is the first version, since probably version 2, that makes it "easy enough" for the average person to use. It is no longer (mostly) a "power users" piece of software. I remember years ago when myself and a lot of others in the church I was ministering within stopped using Logos because it just got too complicated. We switched over to another Bible program that had almost no resources, but it was super simple to use as a day to day Bible program -- especially for those of us who were already experienced at sermon preparation. Logos 6 has introduced a bunch of new features that once again make it easy for the average person to, with a few hours of investing time into learning it, do all of the basic type of research that the average person would be using it for. And, obviously, if you are going to be paying $10,000+ dollars for a top-tier version of Logos, what is a few thousand more to go attend one of their training camps to really become a Logos power-user and be able to harness all of the truly amazing stuff that Logos must be able to do that I don't have the slightest clue it does. If you can, and if you are the type of person that really wants to do crazy detailed studies... well, everything I have seen so far in the hours I have used Logos 6, seems to indicate that the money would be well spent - so go for it! Just remember to get your discount by going to http://logos.com" class="blueLink" target="_blank">http://logos.com/christianblog" target="_blank">http://logos.com" class="blueLink" target="_blank">http://logos.com/christianblog AND use the coupon code "CHRISTIANBLOG6" to save yourself some money!
Logos 6 is the best version that I have ever used - both as a minister and as a writer. It has the simpleness and features for the average person, yet the awesome resources for those who are into hardcore Biblical and exo-biblical research. It could still be a bit easier to use for the day to day Christian, perhaps some day they will have a version that is just a Bible with some basic resources and that does not utilized the complexity of the UI that is presently used. Kinda of like things where back in the old days. Of course, the better solution would be to just push Logos to be an online software :-D
Oh, one last feature I want to highlight... check this out... this is a "Bible Search" using the "Aligned" formatting, and the search term "John the Baptist"... to me, this is just awesome!!
Thanks for reading!
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that Logos/Faithlife provided me an upgrade from version 5 to version 6 in exchange for publication of a review of Logos 6.