Written by Colin Connor
When I was a teenager, one of the highlights of my summer was traveling down to a Christian camp in the mountains of North Carolina. It was a week of nonstop outdoors action—quite a change of pace from the suburban New Jersey life I was used to. I’ll never forget my first year at the camp when we went on the weekly hike. They had several waterfalls on the property, and one in particular was unlike anything else I’d ever seen. Appearing out of nowhere as you rounded a rockface, the waterfall towered 150 feet above you, cascading down in multiple streams, spraying out mist for several yards. As I stood at a distance, I was amazed by the beauty and majesty of the falls. As I got closer to the base, the raw power of the rushing current left me speechless.
For many students of the Scriptures, Logos Bible Software is that waterfall. When you first power it up, you’re in awe of the aesthetic beauty. Then, as you start to test the proverbial waters, you’re overwhelmed by the potential power of the software to the point that it feels near impossible to get anything worthwhile out of it. If you have ever felt anything similar, let me assure you, my friend, you are not alone. But even better than that assurance is the fact that anyone can become a Logos pro with just a few key tricks. In these next paragraphs, I aim to convince the overwhelmed laymen that Logos truly is worth using and then offer a few tips on how to get more results with less stress.
Anyone can become a Logos pro with just a few key tricks.
Benefits of Logos for the Layman
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of Logos is that it amplifies your ability to study the Bible. One of the most frequent complaints among Christians is that Bible study feels boring or is too difficult. And can you blame them? We’re talking about a text over 2,000 years old and hailing from a culture completely alien to our own. Few among us could handle a trip to the Middle East without a translator or at very least a travel guide. Yet that is exactly what we do every time we open the Bible without considering the difference in culture and language. Add in the ways a couple millennia have changed the culture and language even more, and the chances of taking a verse out of context are pretty high. It’s dangerous to go alone. Take Logos.
If you’ll permit me a rather ludicrous analogy, normal Bible study is like chipping away at an iceberg with a spoon. There’s a lot there, but the process of obtaining it is exhausting. Logos? Logos is a commercial drilling rig built onto the iceberg. You still have to put in effort and come to your own conclusions, but Logos does most of the heavy lifting (or drilling, to prevent mixing the metaphor further). Have you ever spent half an hour flipping through 50 pages of a commentary just to find out that the book doesn’t cover the topic you’re researching? Logos checks that for you in seconds. It removes drudgery and frees up your time and energy so you can focus on the fun parts of Bible study. No other resource on the market does that as well as Logos.
When I was in Bible college, we were required to purchase another prominent Bible software program for our Greek class. I was appalled at how clunky it felt. Sure, it was a little bit cheaper than Logos, but not by much. And the user interface looked like I had opened a pre-installed program from a 1990s ThinkPad. There was no individuality, no way to make it my own.
With Logos, your setup truly is your own. Don’t use the homepage? No problem, you can open up right to a completely customizable layout of your choice. You could have a different layout for each day of the week if you wanted. You get to choose your preferred Bible. Folders can be organized however you fancy. The Notes Tool offers 32 possible icons and 32 possible colors. (Seriously, I just counted.) Have a resource you use a lot? Add it to your Toolbar just by dragging and dropping. Find yourself wishing there was a keyboard shortcut for something? Make your own in Quick Links. Feeling nerdy? Switch to dark mode. It hasn’t been this convenient and personal to study the Word of God since Jesus walked the earth.
Whenever someone tells me I have OCD, I tell them they’re wrong. I have CDO. . . the letters look better in order. (That’ll sink in in a minute.) Seriously though, raise your hand with me if you’ve ever begun a Bible study just to realize a little later you’ve taken up an entire table with 5 huge commentaries, 3 dictionaries, 2 notebooks, and a Bible. Ok, now put your hand down. Everyone around you has no context for why you’re doing that, and it looks weird. Logos can fit all that in a space no bigger than your laptop or tablet. And all of it comes already catalogued by title, author, series, denomination, time period, style, several key words, and so much more. No more cluttered tables and overstocked bookshelves.
Want to see what everything you own says about John 3:16? Done in a fraction of a second without needing to take a single book off the shelf. Curious how many books by Michael Heiser you own? As simple as typing “heiser” into your Library popup; no need to dig through all those boxes your wife put in the closet. Wishing all your favorite commentaries were including in one big collection? Not a problem! Running out of room in the margin of your wide margin Bible? I currently sit around 7,300 notes, and not a single one intrudes into the text I’m studying or bleeds onto the next page. Logos is as organized as you make it and then some.
Thirty years ago, personal computers brought the Bible into the digital age. Fifteen years ago, Christian apps put the Bible in your pocket (with much easier-to-read text than those pocket Bibles ever had!) Now, you can have the equivalent of several seminary educations in the palm of your hand thanks to Logos.
One of the greatest blessings of Logos is the centrality of all your information. Before Bible software, you might have a few commentaries in your office, a devotional book in the bedroom, a bunch of theology books stuffed in a box in a closet, and your personal notes scribbled over several sheets of paper hidden who knows where. With each upgrade, Logos has become more and more of a one-stop shop for all your Bible study needs. It has your commentaries and books, personal notes and journals, sermons and lessons, slides and handouts, even music and maps. And with the advent of Logos 10, powerful searches are significantly more intuitive, and much of your print library is accessible now too!
Logos may be overwhelming at first (and for a while after that), but the benefits far outweigh the learning curve. Now, let’s flatten that learning curve a bit more with some tips that’ll make you a Logos pro in no time.