Archive for the ‘Bible Software’ Category

Want to learn Logos 4?

My friend John Fallahee is one of the most helpful and competent teachers of Logos Bible Software I know. John is an expert who understands that most preachers want to cut through the fluff and make the best use of the meat of the program. John has produced a set of interactive videos that are designed to offer a thorough and complete understanding of Logos and the current price is excellent ($19.99). See John’s website for more info (here).

Exegetical Summaries Series

Have any of you used these tools before “Exegetical Summaries Series”?  Are they worth the money? 

http://www.logos.com/products/prepub/details/4293

Review: Bible Study Magazine by Logos

In a day where serial print media is rapidly fading into history by going digital, it is either a brilliant or bizarre move for a digital publisher to step out in print. The sharp minds at Logos Bible Software have stepped out with a new magazine printed on real, not virtual, paper. It may be the only thing I have ever received from Logos on actual paper. I was recently asked by the publisher to review Bible Study Magazine here at Expository Thoughts and I am glad to do so. I’ve reviewed many books but have never reviewed a magazine, especially one that has only produced one copy thus far.

Full disclosure: I am an avid fan of Logos software. It is a product that suits me very well which my friends will tell you has not always been the case. Nevertheless I believe I can maintain objectivity. When it comes to software and hardware I am a true pragmatist. I represent a minority that believes my computer and all that it contains should serve me as its master. Therefore I am not a believer in companies but a believer in products which is why my computer is a MacBook Pro, my software of choice is Logos, and my drink is Coke Zero. It’s all about me which is not unbiblical so long as we’re talking about computers. So even though I have mucho dollars invested in Logos products, I am hopefully objective enough to offer a fair review of their newest product.

Clearly this is a product that will scratch various itches. It is well produced, polished, and assembled. It has a very high quality feel and appearance. From a design point of view it is top of the line.  From a content perspective, I believe their selling point is mostly accurate: “There is simply no other magazine on the market that focuses entirely on the Bible and Bible study.”

There are fifteen featured sections that include interesting items like basic Greek word studies, brief book reviews, and in-depth studies. The magazine maintains a good balance of helpful articles and interviews from the very basic to more challenging subjects (e.g., the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls). In this particular issue, there is an insightful bible study that takes the reader on an eight-week study tour of Hebrews. One observation is that there seems to be more “about” Bible study than actual Bible study.

The theological tone is broadly evangelical but the “about us” disclaimer makes it clear that it is a non-denominational publication. This is further reflected in the guiding statement of faith, which is the Apostles Creed. I have no heartburn about the Creed but it is interesting that a magazine dedicated to Bible study chooses a creed that says nothing about the Bible. Is this an oversight or is it intentional?

In short I think this magazine is a welcome addition and should encourage Christians in various ways. However, I would offer the following reflections and questions for the keen minds behind this endeavor.  I offer these with charity and great appreciation for what Logos has done in serving the Christian community.

Fifty years ago a food company scored a major marketing coup by producing a cookbook that, in order to be used effectively, required the home cook to purchase food items that were exclusively produced by the publisher of the cookbook. Yes it’s brilliant but it is also troubling. It appears that this marketing strategy is in full swing with Bible Study Magazine. In almost every article and on every page there are call-out boxes or by-lines that encourage the reader to “learn more” at a web address that redirects them to Logos products. Some of these further explorations have price ranges in the hundreds. This is not an accusation but one man’s observation that this has the feel of a bait and switch. These are not free articles but imbedded advertisements at times masquerading as an opportunity to “learn more.” There’s no escaping the fact that this magazine pushes the reader to make purchases at Logos. Even the word search in the “puzzles and comics” section has a note that states, “Puzzle generated by Logos Bible Software.” There may be some readers who perceive that Logos is more concerned with selling a product than fostering Bible study. I don’t believe this is the case but the company has not helped themselves in how they have presented this particular aspect.

Obviously, the bread and butter of print media is advertising but it can also be an annoyance. Over the course of fifty pages there are twenty-three ads, ten of which are full page. The current generation of media consumers enjoys their media with as little explicit advertising as possible (e.g., Tivo, ipods, satellite radio) so this approach seems to move opposite of current trends. I’m no marketing expert and I’m sure Logos folks have done their homework but I am one consumer who seeks to turn off and tune out as much advertising as possible.

What follows are questions that I believe are too premature to be answered succinctly since only one issue has been published. However time will fill in the blanks.

  1. Will the high quality production continue without sacrificing the central dedication of fostering Bible study? I could point to many Christian magazines that have long left their original focus.
  2. Is there a genuine market for this type of media and if so how long will it remain viable in the changing arena of media forms?
  3. Will the costs of production affect the pricing of Logos software?
  4. Should the magazine be sent free to Logos users who have already spent hundreds even thousands of dollars on their software products?
  5. Will advertising continue to dominate space in the magazine or will the company seek other avenues of revenue and sustainability?
  6. Since the target readership is 93% male and 54% church leadership (according to their web site), how will this shape the content and depth of resources to be offered?
  7. Are there real conflicts of interest? Do they want the reader to study the Bible or to buy a product? Regardless of intention the line is not clear.
  8. Is there a better way? Could this be an opportunity for Logos to develop an online community that digitizes the same content with the goal of strengthening local churches? I think of sites like Bible.org, which offer thousands of free articles and resources to the church abroad.

With the above cautions and questions in mind, I gladly recommend Bible Study Magazine to our readers. I want to thank Logos for asking me to review Bible Study Magazine. If history is an accurate indicator then I know we can expect Logos to continue offering quality products and resources.

Click here to subscribe to Bible Study Magazine!

Waymeyer books available at Logos

Remember the “I wanna be like Mike” commercials? Well, replace “Mike” with “Matt” and that is what I say to myself most days. Blogs allow most people to pretend to write. There are some people who actually publish sound ideas in little contraptions called “books” and Matt Waymeyer is one of those people. The rest of us are just pretenders.

I was just informed by Kent Hendricks at Logos.com that they have picked up two of Matt’s titles and are offering them on pre-pub basis. See the details here.

P.S. Attention all Logos execs and employees who may be reading this. I want you know that I lost friends when I made a total switch from Biblew–ks to LOGOS so any kickbacks for the free advertising here are always welcome. What friends I had left I lost when I switched to a Mac.

Logos for Mac

If you’re a Mac user (shouldn’t everyone be?) then you will delight in this news from Logos. They are about to finally release the long-anticipated Logos for Mac which is just in time for Christmas (in case you’re reading this Julie). See the details here.

Update: Question about Selling Bibleworks

Question: Does anyone know if it’s okay for me to sell my copy of Bibleworks 7.0? I was unable to find anything on their website that spoke to this issue so if anyone knows, shoot me an email (my address is under “contact”).

Yes, I’m using something else which I thought I would never do.

I just received this from the home office:

“You own the license of BibleWorks, and can sell it as well. The only matter of consequence is to be sure to pass along the serial # (which is the license) and give us a call to clarify that your license has been sold to the new owner. The new owner should give us a call as well to register the BW7 so we have the serial # in his/her name, duly noted in our database.”

Bible Software and Bible Exposition

This is the golden age of computer software which is useful to the Bible expositor. With tools like BibleWorks 7.0, Logos 3 (Libronix), and Grammcord/Accordance (for Macs) there are resources that will satisfy almost any preference when it comes to serious Bible study. I started using BibleWorks around 4.0 and Logos on and off for about the last 9 years. I have friends who swear by Grammcord (but of course all Mac guys are that way). With a little help, I believe these programs can trim time off the study process (primarily through search abilities) and allow for more time in thoughtful study and reflection over the text. Starting in March I will do a regular update on various features and functions related to these Bible software programs. My goal will be to help expositors who own these programs make better use of what they have at their fingertips. I’m no expert but I have taught BibleWorks and have learned Logos from some of the best. I will also be attending a BibleWorks training seminar next month in Birmingham and then a Logos training seminar this summer. I will try to relay what I learn here and pass on items that are useful to expositors (please feel free to share your ideas here as well).

Getting started

For my tastes, Logos has only recently come into a realm that is helpful for doing real exegetical work. I know Logos aficionados will disagree but much of what has been called “exegetical tools” in Logos has really been subpar compared to more powerful exegetical programs. The strength of Logos is that it is a library tool where you can store hundreds of helpful reference works from dictionaries to commentaries. These can be interlinked and are easily searchable (more about all that in a future post). But I thought there were thousands of titles in Logos? There are, but the majority of the titles that come with the various packages (or add-ons) are worthless when it comes to exposition of Scripture (however everyone has their own likes/dislikes). Logos does seem to be working hard in their software development but it’s not as intuitive as some would have you believe. I do think it is an amazingly strong product but when it comes to the languages, BibleWorks does everything but polish the pulpit. BibleWorks 7.0 is a vast improvement over earlier versions and is the best for Greek/Hebrew language work (in Windows). It’s not perfect but it is way up there when it comes to exegetical research capabilities. I use both programs but I’m also one of those types who refuses to become a slave to the computer.

All of this means I want to spend my time making it all work for me and my purposes and not be wowed by the pretty colors and PR campaigns coming out of various companies. Those who work for the software companies will tell you that their product is the best but the benefit of having competition is that you don’t have to take their word for it. Every preacher has to decide what works best for him in the style that he has developed in the study. So the first lesson is don’t let someone else’s methods of software use dictate how you study and even more don’t let someone who is paid by a particular company tell you what you need (we usually call that “conflict of interest”). I will be writing more about this soon. Stay tuned.

Further reading:

“Doing Good Digital Exegesis”

Dan Phillips reviews BibleWorks 7.0 and here

Tim Challies reviews Logos Bible Software

Andreas J. Köstenberger reviews Accordance

Andrew D. Naselli reviews Logos Scholar’s Library: Gold

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