8 Steps to Effective Bible Study


Here’s a way to do effective Bible study with Logos. As I’ve mentioned before, you can do a LOT with Logos 7 Basic. It’s free, and you can get the King James for only $10. Yes, they should offer it for free, but Logos has so many tools… Like many of you, I was opposed to Logos for many years (despite being a Logos user back in the 90’s), but yeah… once I tried it… I was sold on it. I don’t think I could go back to anything else. It’s funny though, I still find myself turning back to Quickverse out of nostalgia. This was how I started in Bible study with computers in 1994, Quickverse and Logos. I used to alternate between them every day. If Logos had offered the “How to use Logos” videos back then, I might not have used Quickverse as much.

So… how’s the first and easiest way to start Bible Study with Logos?

  1. Set up a one year reading plan… Twice through the New Testament in one year, once through the Old. this is the David Cloud reading plan. Go to Documents, start a new reading plan, choose Old Testament by pericope in the King James in one year by yourself (you can invite others as well…). Then do the same, but for the New Testament by pericope in the King James in six months by yourself. Go to the documents again, and COPY the NT reading plan, then open it and edit the copied one to have a July 1 start date.
  2. Start your Bible reading, by clicking on it from your home screen. Now, go to Layouts, and choose Bible Journaling.
  3. Open the TSK if you bought it or if you bought a package that has it. Keep it in your Bible window, not the Journaling one.
  4. highlight a single word in the verse, and choose “add note to Bible journal”. The entire verse will highlight by default, but in the context menu you still can choose the word if you just want to comment on a single word.
  5. Notate anything that is Law of First Reference (the first time it is mentioned in the Bible), if it is a contrast (today I’m reading Psalm 22, and David constantly and clearly contrasts his own situation with Christ’s), if it is a Hapax (something mentioned only once in Scripture). you don’t have to write commentary right now on the level of a John Walvoord here… you can just write “only time this word is mentioned” or “first mention of straw” or whatever.
  6. If you looked something up in Greek or did a word study on it, notate that. you’re trying to record your Bible study, and no, you WON’T remember what you just learned today!
  7. If you see in the TSK anything else in the Bible related to this verse or word, notate that as well.
  8. If you looked in a commentary and found anything of interest, HIGHLIGHT and DRAG that important part into your Bible Journaling window INTO the verse – otherwise, it ends up at the bottom. Logos is hard wired to have the right priority – Bible first, commentary second.

READING something in the Bible does not work. I attended schooling once where you were required after you got home to type up your notes that you took by hand. Why? It aided memorization.

you’ll find by USING these techniques, your understanding of the Bible will grow by leaps and bounds. But start TODAY, otherwise you’ll get the same results you got from your diet and exercise program… you’ll get very good at procrastinating and nothing else!

Being a Pastor 15 – the Sermon 8


Let’s go over some technical how-to’s quickly. Logos is really powerful, and your ability to do some of this stuff I’m doing relies on learning how to do it.

Hopefully, you’ve watched Morris Proctor’s quick start guide. Hopefully, you’ve taken the thirty day challenge (I’ve done it twice, in Logos 6 and Logos 7). The two courses teach you a lot about how to do things.

Left clicking on a verse in your Bible selects it, whether you see it or not (for the purpose of the context menu). Now right click. The context menu works from right to left (I approve of this!). You see the words listed, and then the verse itself. Matthew 15:1. Click on the right hand side of the context menu on the verse reference, not the words!

NOW the context menu suddenly changes. Now you can do a lot of the fun things I’ve been talking about. A lot of what i’ve done is open word studies in the Greek word.

Knowing how to run the guides goes a long way towards success in Logos. Keep everything minimized in your guides – this way everything opens much faster. This is important if you’re a bi-vocational pastor. Being a bi-vocational pastor is unBiblical by the way. The Apostles worked, but made it clear they were doing this because they were planting churches, and te right thing to do is pay your pastor.

Go head and open all of your guides. I made my own guide, by the way! And…never use it. But anyway, open all of them and close EVERY section by the little triangles, not by the x’s!

Now, when you open Logos and go to the go box, and type in any reference, the window opens much faster.

For those of you doing Accordance, you need to highlight words or verses, and right click. They have an abbreviated form of the context menu, and they call it the right-click menu (where did they come up with that name? Really?).

MUCH of what you do in Accordance will be in the Research menu. Other than that, you have to go to the Amplify menu. I really don’t know too much about the inner cool workings of Accordance, as I use it rarely. And as my Logos library grows, I’ll be turning to it less and less. But try this – select, amplify, parsing.

Neat, huh?

Bibleworks I do not have. however, you should note that most of the results I’m getting in my searches and studies you won’t get results for in Bibleworks as they don’t have a library other than Bibles, lexicons and concordances.

You can do this entire system I’m giving in notepad and pen. I keep a notepad in my hardcover Bible, and I try to keep a pen in there. Sometimes I get ideas reading my hardcover Bible, and I need to record those thoughts. It certainly doesn’t require Logos. But it goes a lot faster when you do.

Let’s go to Definitions -Restatments on the template. There are two mirror parts, the other being comparison-contrast. Under Comparison contrast, you could put “heart and law” and “relationship/ritual”. for definitions – you need the Webster’s 1828.

Tradition. 3. That which is handed down from age to age by oral communication. The Jews pay great regard to tradition in matters of religion, as do the Romanists. Protestants reject the authority of tradition in sacred things, and rely only on the written word. Traditions may be good or bad, true or false.

Commandment

1. A command; a mandate; an order or injunction given by authority; charge; precept.

So, let’s check the boxes off for those. My research has yeilded the application. This part goes under the application section. “The letter and spirit of the law must go together. There is nothing more important than your relationship to Jesus Christ. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.”

You’ve got 8 out of 16 boxes checked now. You need to work on facts/statistics next. What facts or statistics could you deliver in this sermon? Denominations that engage in infant baptism is one. What percentage is it? I couldn’t find a specific percentage, but I did uncover a quote that “Most Chirstians belong to denominations where infant Baptism is practiced.”

And if you’re in a mood to challenge the congregation, you could point out that the Bible portrays the bread used in the Last Supper as unleavened – so why are we using oyster crackers, which clearly are leavened?

Out of all of it, categorizing is the LAST thing you’ll do.

Does this seem like too much work? it’s not. I do this every time I write a sermon. Sometimes the sermon is halfway done when I start, but rapid changes shape it better. Yes, you can just grab a text and get in the pulpit and wing it – but we’re not about good enough – we’re trying to excel. There’s no reason why the great sermons should be preached just by Presbyterians! Baptists are the original Christians, so our sermons should be OUTSTANDING.

Be outstanding. Be great. Yield yourself to God in the pulpit, and let His light shine though you. But you cannot do that while delivering a mediocre sermon.

We’re almost done with the research phase.

What’s the Most Expensive Bible Software??


I write a lot about Bible programs, because – I use them DAILY. Your Bible program should not be “good enough”, but should be the BEST. I found THE BEST Bible program, but a lot of people (me included) complain it’s very expensive.

So, I thought I’d look at the super expensive, ultimate “buy this” package, and see what’s the most expensive?

I was surprised.

Here’s the rundown.

Wordsearch has their “Platinum” package, which is $4,900. You get a program that has a lot of features, you get an absolutely HUGE library – far bigger than anyone else – and minimal search, word processing, and original language tools. I’d say the Original Language tools are insufficient. Essentially, you’re dealing with 1994 technology.

Logos Platinum is $4,900 – the same as Wordsearch. It has a smaller library than Wordsearch, but a much better program.

Bibleworks is $395. Completely insufficient library.

Accordance Ultimate is $29,995.00

You read that right – thirty Thousand dollars. As in, a year’s salary for many people. About 24 months salary for most IFB pastors.

So, the funny thing is – you can get into Wordsearch for $49.95 – and top out equal with Logos.

You start out with Logos at around $250 – and top out equal with Wordsearch.

You get into Accordance at $60 – and top out at a huge year’s salary package.

So for everyone who claims Logos is the most expensive – no, not by a long shot! The startup cost is the second highest Bible Software package. If I ever get dirty rotten filthy stinking rich, trust me – I’m buying them ALL. It really seems like every time I go from one Bible package to another, my understanding of the Bible skyrockets.

But if you’re one of those people who like to say Logos is the most expensive – it’s not. It costs more to start with Bibleworks, putting it at the highest starting cost ($395), and to get the super ultimate package, Accordance is the most.

Best Bible Software 2017


There’s really no more important decision than, “What Bible software will I use?” As you’re about to see, many people are still working on the same technology today that we worked on years ago with Quickverse 2. however, that was back in 1993-1994, and computer technology has increased greatly. Bible software on the other hand has either increased slightly, or in leaps and bounds, outpacing even the advances in technology.

Last year, I re-evaluated the way I did Bible Study thanks to a series I ran in Dec. 2015 by David Cloud. I decided that if I was going to seriously change the way I studied the Bible, it was time to see if the tools I was using were up to the challenge. I discovered they weren’t.

So, here’s the shootout on the top Bible programs I use, and which ones I recommend. For the impatient, cut to the chase people, I’m recommending two Bible Programs as my must-have recommendation… Logos and Bible Analyzer. You need both of them. The Number two spot goes to Accordance, and #3 goes to Wordsearch.

However, understanding that not everyone thinks the same, and some people prefer different interfaces and different approaches. So, I’m giving you the blow-by-blow on them, and letting you choose.

What features do I insist on for a Bible program? All Bible programs have some form of Boolean search, so that’s not even a problem any more. The must have features are Passage Lists, Clippings, and Word Lists. If they don’t have those, I didn’t even seriously consider them. And as you’ll see, it ruled out immediately all the free Bible programs. Another must have feature is original language study capability. It was okay back in 1996 to be satisfied with Quickverse and using Strong’s too look up the root… but not in 2016, with programs like Logos and Accordance that give you the ability to look up the Manuscript, the root AND the lemma, and be able to investigate all the places in the Bible where that lemma is used in, say, the active tense.

The lay person can be satisfied with E-sword or Theword, but if you’re a pastor, teacher, or if you’ve been called of God to start a blogging ministry where you teach… they are not even close to sufficient.

Accordance

Accordance, for the impatient, stands as number two on my list. It is, like all premium Bible software, a little expensive. Not as expensive as Logos, and by means not offering near as many library addons.

Accordance is available in a time limit demo. You can supposedly only use it for 30 minutes. I don’t understand that, because it’s never shut down on me. You get five Bible with it, the King James, the Textus Receptus Greek, the BBE, the ASV, the WEB and the Douay Rheims Bibles. You also get Eastons and Strong’s dictionaries. Other than that, you don’t get too much for Accordance in Libraries.

accordance-desktopAccordance

I suppose the first thing I need to explain is the basic appearance. It’s got that old-style Mac look to it. Back in the day, Apple computers were in black and white to save money and make more profits. They have a slightly different architecture than PC programs, and so, Accordance looks a little different. Accordance die-hards insist that Accordance is only available for the Mac, and that there’s a program similar to it with the same name for PC. That’s kind of splitting hairs. Accordance has a lot of die hard users. This is one of those I suggest you try the demo and see if it’s what you’re looking for in a Bible program.

 

Accordance Reference ListAccordance Reference List…

Accordance is difficult to add on to. As I see it, they like to sell collection packages, meaning if you need ONE BOOK in a collection, you still have to buy the collection to get that one book. That to me is a downer. If I just want to buy the Bible Knowledge Commentary, I have to search for the bundle that has it, and buy that bundle, spending more than I want to spend. But then again, it saves you a lot more money, as you’re usually buying at discounted prices for the bundles. So, if you decide on Accordance, be prepared to save up and purchase bundles, not books.

Accordance starts at $60 for the basic, $199 folr bible study, $299 for the original languages bundle, Essential is $499, Advanced is $999, and Ultimate is $1,999.00 – so the packages seem to at least double in price as you go up. Most of my readers will do well to buy the Basic or Bible Studyn packages, if you decide that Accordance is your preferred Bible software.

Features

Accordance is very RAM light. You can apparently open just about everything without the program bogging down. You have windows, and panes (tiles, in other Bible programs). It’s kind of like a mix of Wordsearch and Logos, in that you can have several panes (like Logos) and several windows (like wordsearch). It’s much more customizable than Wordsearch in its desktop display, but much less than Logos in terms of panes/tiles.

The first thing I did was to open the King James twice, one with the Strong’s hidden, the other with it visible, and then the Textus Receptus was opened in a third column. Accordance calls columns inside a pane a “parallel”.

I then opened other windows, with the research window open, and all the individual resources as well. If you’ll click on the above images, you’ll see how I arranged it. It’s actually not that hard… Accordance tends to set up the desktop similar to this anyway.

Work is done by highliting a verse, and either choosing from a right click menu, or from the “amplify” drop down menu. I got the hang of it the first day, searching and amplfying. Apparently, Accordance learns from you how you like to do things, and will try to offer you results first based upon your usage history. Kind of creepy. As long as I don’t wake up with Accordance standing at the foot of my bed holding a meat cleaver, i’m good.

As I mouse over Titus 1:16, the Textus Receptus begins to shadow over the Greek word of the English one I’m looking at. Here’s the verse…

Θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι, τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται, βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι.

Theon homologousin eidenai, tois de ergois arnountai, bdelyktoi ontes kai apeitheis kai pros pan ergon agathon adokimoi.

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

It’s really handy, as it works both ways. In many ways, a step or two less work than Logos… but much less info than Logos, where I can see what the Lemma is, how the word form changes in uses, how many times those forms are used in the Bible, and where those are. If you do a LITTLE Greek and Hebrew research, Accordance might be enough for you. If on the other hand you have an apologetics or teaching ministry, or if you’re a serious Bible student or a Pastor… Accordance is not sufficient.

Reference lists are a handy tool in Accordance – you can build lists of verses based upon the Ressurection, prophecy, etc. There are only a couple of programs that do this, and only those programs make it to my top three. Wordsearch, Accordance, and Logos do it. The others do not.

What Accordance needs is the Noteclipping feature of Logos. As for user books, forget it. You’re limited to making user notes, where you make your commentary. Still, it’s a very powerful tool. If you don’t need a large library, don’t have a lot of money but want to do a little original language research, then Accordance may be your best choice. http://www.accordancebible.com

Bible Analyzer

Bible Analyzer. This one is not in my top three (it’s at number 4 right now), but let me put it this way. If you’re saved… you want this program. Every saved person on the face of the earth needs it. I’m using it less now that I have Logos 7, which does some of the same things but…

bible-analyzer

Want to know how many capital letters there are in the Bible? You need Bible Analyzer. Want to see immediately the first usage of every word in a verse? You need Bible Analyzer. Want a good free library? you need Bible Analyzer. Want a list of all the words used in a range, or even the Bible? you need Bible Analyzer. You want to see the Bible act like it’s own dictionary? YOU NEED BIBLE ANALYZER.

Here’s an example of some of the research. Trust me… you need Bible Analyzer.

Various Statistics For:

Acts 20:21 (AV)

Act_20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words: 20

Complex Words: 2

Syllables: 28

Letters: 93

Vowels: 32

Consonants: 61

Phrases: 4

Sentences: 1

Italics: 0

Avg. Word Length: 4.65

Grade Level: 4.01

Verse Index: 27648

Verses To End: 3454

Numerical Sum: Omitted

bible-analyzer-commentary-window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Analyzer Scripture Pad/Commentary Window

Bible Analyzer does not have a lot of Bibles or commentaries, but that’s not the point. Tim Morton has created a HUGE benefit to Bible Study through this program. This program is apparently designed for use when you use another program a lot, and need Bible Analyzer for what it does best.

It’s free… go get it. Bibleanalyzer.com. Every Christian should own this.

Davar

davarLong time readers of this blog will recall this was one of the programs I’d gotten that I used for Hebrew study. It’s free. Davar basically is a collection of dictionaries, cued to texts. I don’t open it often, but the Hebrew dictionaries they offer are outstanding. Searchable, and if you install a Hebrew or Greek virtual keyboard (there’s several available on the internet), you can type in Hebrew and determine the exact spelling and definition, using backwards and forwards thinking. Nice. It’s free. If you don’t do much in Hebrew, it won’t do you much good. If on the other hand you want a little bit of extra Hebrew resource, Davar is it. However, if you’re loooking to make this your sole Bible software suite, I don’t think this is your best choice.

E-Sword 11.06

eswordE-Sword… Rick Meyers must have found my blog, and my constant complaint that E-sword is agonizingly s-l-o-w. Because, in 11.06, he fixed it.

It’s about time, because I suffered through agonizingly slow E-Sword through the first year of seminary, Theword in second year of seminary, and then someone bought me Bible Explorer, which became Wordsearch.

It’s much faster now. I don’t really have to explain to you what E-Sword is in depth, because most of you already own it.

E-sword has a lot of tools. I think the Journal notes/topic notes/study notes functions rank among the best aspects of it, as is the Scripture memorization tool and the prayer requests. But it completely lacks the tools I consider so necessary I can’t recommend a Bible program without them – note clippings and verse lists. You can kind of make verse lists, but not in depth, with nothes and etc.

The big thing is, I never really felt comfortable or motivated to write any commentary or take notes in E-sword. That’s probably just me, and I’m sure there are others that use it. But for the most part, no, I never really felt motivated or comfortable taking notes inside E-Sword. If you regularly use the study notes window, leave a comment and let me know.

E-sword has a sermon illustration manager, which probably gets zero use from most users. Anyone who is collecting sermon illustrations is a Pastor, and they’ll be using something more serious.

E-Sword, to me, is one of the best amateur programs out there. It gives you basic Bible Language study capabilities, but little in the way of serious original language work. I say this from someone who had a year of Greek and a year of Hebrew. Both E-Sword and Theword are completely insufficient for language study purposes. Indeed, when I first started writing this blog in my laptop (before I took it live), I was a regular E-Sword user, then switched to Theword, which I loved – and hated.

E-Sword is essentially a mostly free version of Quckverse. Craig Reardon’s influence is felt throughout all of the amateur Bible programs. Essentially, E-Sword and Theword are good versions of 1994 Bible technology, but this is 2017, and they need to start stepping it up a notch, as you can see from Accordance and Logos.

This program is not free. If you use it regularly, you really should send Rick Meyers a donation.

King James Pure Bible Search

king-james-pure-bibleIf you’re a Ruckmanite/Riplingerite/Pearlite King James Only person, this Bible program is for you. Very little in the way of tools. About the only feature in this I liked was the bare bones approach and the “add your own lcross references” approach. If I wanted to spend one year seriously going through the Bible and identifying every cross-reference, then I’d be spending the year in this program. Other than that, it’s not even a contender in the serious Bible student category. The programmer has only one thing to say to those asking for Strong’s capabilities is that they read Gail Riplinger’s highly flawed “Toxic” book. If you’re interested in something that forces you to build your own list of cross references, then give this free program a try. If you’re Ruckmanite-Riplingerite, then yes, it’s for you. But I’m telling you, what Gail Riplinger says about concordances and other Bible tools is nonsense, and you’ll be Biblically ignorant without MAJOR dedication to reading the Bible and note taking.

Logos 7

logos-bronzeI really can’t think of a better way to describe Logos than the official way to describe it: “Imagine that you have a large library, filled with commentaries, dictionaries, monographs, etc. You want to find everything in that library you can on John chapter 9. So you hire an assistant, and tell them, ‘bring me everything in my library on John chapter 9.’ And a month later, they bring you a detailed report. Now imagine them doing this in just a few seconds. That’s Logos.”

It really took me a while to transition from the “set up your desktop and study from that unchanged desktop every day” to the Logos way of simply typing in what I want in the reference box, then simply adding any work or tool that Logos neglected to add that I want to use (and the guides will give you the list!!!). And once you mentally make that transition, you just can’t go back. It literally saves me hours of work. The study I did on Hebrews last year was hundreds of hours of study and research – I cannot even imagine how much more hours it would have taken using any other program. I’d estimate ten times the number of hours. My expository teaching on Hebrews might have been over 1,500 hours of work using Theword or Quickverse.

For instance, typing John 9 into the reference box yields my top 5 Bibles, one commentary, a passage guide and an exegetical guide. The passage guide lists several other commentaries, harmonies, etc that have information on John 9. I simply click on those entries to open the commentaries to that. Logos will auto-synchronize your Bibles and commentaries to the scroll set you want (I use scroll set A by default). In other words, if you change an “a” set Bible to a different passage, all the scroll set “A” books change with it. You can choose 6 different scroll sets (A-F) or “None”, meaning that you can open two King James’, one that stays on the passage and another one for hyperlinks. Just choose “None” for the second King James, and “Send all hyperlinks here”. Amazingly easy to do, less clicking on back buttons.

To look at a passage in Greek or Hebrew, just go to your exegetical guide. You’ll see the passage in English, then in Greek, and a break down word by word. You can do a word study by looking at the lemma of each word, and you’ll see a little circle (like a “recycle” symbol). click that little “recycle” symbol, and it will open a word study guide that shows the breakdown, meaning and usage of the word, so you can study it in context, how it appears in other books of the Bible. Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is really important here! THanks to the revolutionary way Logos is structured, I can honestly say… if you have no language skills, get Logos Bronze and… you’ll have a good background in Koine Greek VERY quickly. To a first year seminary student, this is HUGE. It’s time saving. You’ll be able to see the tense-voice-mood of every Greek and Hebrew word in context.

You can do the same thing in the information window (which unlike wordsearch, does not crash constantly) by mousing ovver a word, then clicking on the Recycle symbol. It then does the same thing of opening the word study guide.

A little “spark graph” will show every occurance of the word in the Bible in that Lemma, such as 49 times in Matthew, etc. Clicking on the spark graph yields the results. Logos is like using a Interlinear/Reverse Interlinear/Lexicon/Concordance/Grammar all at once.

Features of Logos

Clippings – this is a VERY handy tool. It’s so handy that it’s one of my standards for what Bible software I’ll use. I will not use a Bible program that doesn’t have this feature. Accordance does not, but Wordsearch does, and Logos does. As you read through other books you get in your Logos package, you can save important quotes simply by highlighting a passage and right clicking. These quotes go to your clippings. Why is this big? THe William Evans book on preaching gives you the reason why – when you’re trying to find that quote by someone about kittens and butterflies that you wanted to use (I’m just picking an example), instead of spending hours searching your library for it, it’s right there in your clippings.

Passage Lists – this tool is so important, it remains my standard – if the Bible program doesn’t do this, it’s not in the running for what is my primary program. I save passage lists on The Rapture, The Trinity, Separation… all you do is highlight a verse on an important subject, open your passage list on that topic, and then send the passage to that list. Only Wordsearch, Logos, Accordance and Theword have it! I do this a lot, and have about 15 passage lists. I finally got to use the one on the ten commandments a couple of years ago. Why is that important? I’d looked up the re-statements of the commandments in the New Testament and saved them to the list. The bottom line? THere was no restatement on the Sabbath. So, it’s done away with.

The Word Find Puzzle is something I’ve never messed with. I suppose it’d be good for church bulletins. If you ride the bus a lot, this might be handy.

Handouts is for sermon handouts, or for position papers on your church. They’re limited to only four pages. Kind of disappointing, actually. You’ve got to be really terse with your words.

Bibliography is very handy, if you’re a seminary student. You can make multiple bibliographies, based upon which report, thesis or dissertation you’re doing. Time saver.

Notes. This is how you can take notes on topics, make your own commentary, etc. It’s so open ended what you can do with it. This is the default word processor document. In previous versions, here’s how you wrote sermons (many Logos users do not keep their sermons in Logos). However, in Logos 7, there is a Sermon tool, where now the sermons are written inside Logos, and saved in a separate list. Very quickly, your listings of Notes in your Documents folder gets HUGE. The update in Logos to adding the Sermon Tool is greatly needed. Unfortunately, you need to get the Bronze package with the full feature set to truly take advantage of it.

Prayer Lists.

This is exactly what it sounds like! Lists of prayers to pray! And since Logos syncs to my phone, I can check my prayer while I’m at break at work to see if I forgot any of them. I usually do.

Sermon Editor

I expect to see this grow, as more people contact them and point out, “It’s a little clunky”. Unlike Wordsearch, Logos is good at not letting the grass grow under their feet, so I’m sure we’ll see this grow. This is the first version of Logos to include this, so it’s got some shaking out to do. But right now, your points, subpoints etc., are defined by headers. When you’re done with it, you can print handouts for it, or the churchgoer can sync the document to their smartphone using the Logos Bible Study app. The handout only has in it what you add to it. The added benefit is once you’re done with the sermon, it syncs with Proclaim for on screen display (if your church uses Proclaim). The great thing about that is, if you finish by Friday, the choir leader can take the Proclaim presentation and add the three to four hymns that fit the sermon on Saturday.
I use as a matter of habit the template that my SEminary forced us to use, and now I’m kind of lost without it. I’m going to have to see if there’s a way to paste it into the sermon editor by default, otherwise I’m kind of at a loss what to do!

Like Graphics in your powerpoint, sermon or blog?

christ-the-lordLogos has a library of over 10,000 royalty free images that literally they say “You own it,.” Well, technically, we all own them. You’ll see bunches of them over the coming year, as I’m going to start incorporating them into the Blog. You can choose a quote from a book or Bible in the program, or even simply open one and write your own caption to it, I found some dissatisfaction with a couple of them. “Grapes from Antioch” seemed like a perfect background for “I am the true vine”, but I couldn’t find a way to grayscale the photo or increase the contrast to the point the image would serve as a unobtrusive background for the text. Hopefully, this is something Logos is working on! Otherwise, I may have to save it, open it in Paint Shop Pro, edit it, and then post it on the blog!

Guides

These guides are amazing, in the amount of information they present. This is how the information is presented when you do a search on something. I cannot dsecribe them efficiently enough.
I’m going to sum up my presentation on Logos by saying, there are tools in it I still haven’t learned how to use effectively. For instance, one presenteer on a Webinar said he used a tool most of the time that I never use! I can honestly say this – I’ve never heard anyone say, “I learned to use Logos, spent some time with it, and hated it. It gave me too much information, and I have no use for that.” Seriously. Once you learn to use it, you cannot be satisfied with other Bible software that just is there passively for you to simply read something. Logos forces you to learn, and study – and for today’s Christianity, that’s a must-have.
I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again… Logos is the clear runaway favorite Bible program. Its one downside is that it’s expensive. Expect to pay at last $250 for it, and better results if you upgrade to the Bronze or higher packages.

Olive Tree Bible Study 6

OlivetreeDavid Cloud calls this his favorite Bible program. So, I tried it, was completely dissatisfied, and deleted it. A few months later, I tried re-watching the Effectual Bible student series again, tried Olive Tree again, and… bleh. Completely without tools. Original language functions are minimal. Most of you know how to use this, as it’s a very popular program. There are many add-on books, at very reasonable prices – and 100 free books. I’ll just say that it may be some people’s favorite, but I can’t really get motivated to use it. Not even making my list of “It’s useful, download it.” Once I get done with my videos on how to use Bible software for Seminary use, I’m deleting it.

Again.

Quickverse 2010

The illustration by Eugene Peterson is a good example of why I hate sermon illustrations
The illustration by Eugene Peterson is a good example of why I hate sermon illustrations

I include this program in my Bible software reviews, because you can still find it for sale in some Christian bookstores that haven’t sold it, on Ebay, and on Amazon sometimes. And I’ll point out that someone at one point uploaded the entire program to their website, as a free download. Findex is out of business, sold the rights to Wordsearch who plundered it and discontinued it. So, it’s Abandonware, essentially. If you can find the Platinum package (or whatever it’s called), by all means, get it. Don’t pay the $799 price that some Christian bookstores are probably still charging for it! Your top price for it should be about $30, since the annotations feature… doesn’t work at all. If you’re releasing a major software package that costs hundreds of dollars, you should make sure that all the features WORK before you release it. From what I understand, Findex was only going through the motions for upgrades, charging people full price, and that’s it.

The library of Quickverse 2010 Platinum is huge. It came with just about everything but the kitchen sink, and contained everything but the NIV. Really odd, since the NIV still ranked as one of the most popular Bible versions out there, except among Independent Fundamental Baptists.

The personal book features of Quickverse are familiar to me, since I was a Wordsearch user for so long, and Wordsearch incorporated the concept, but not the coding, into Wordsearch – leaving the bizarre contradiction of being able to make a Hebrew/Greek dictionary in Quickverse 2010, but not in Wordsearch 11, which was the result of Wordsearch buying Quickverse! The personal books are arranged by date, scripture reference, or alphabetically. If you’re trying to take any books you may have written, and put them into Quickverse, there’s no real way to do it.

Quickverse used to be the industry standard under inventor Craig Reardon, but when it was bought by Mattel (I still don’t know if Craig is kidding when he says that), and then Findex. Craig threw up his hands and moved on to PalmBible, which shortly after had to change their name to Pocketbible. If you’re a diehard Quickverse fan, and you absolutely despise everything that happened to Quickverse after version 5… look at Pocketbible. The features that were in quickverse 5 that were so revolutionary have found their way into Pocketbible, which I still have not gotten (At this point, I’m so settled in Logos I’ll probably never go back to anything else.)

When I first got into the software Bible programs back in the 90’s, I had three Bible programs – Quickverse 2, Logos 1 and Davka. I found Quickverse to be good, but Logos to be better. I found Davka to be frustrating. However, as Quickverse upgraded to the various versions , I got more and more dissatisfied. the 2010 one shows all the reasons I was dissatisfied with it. Annotations don’t work. LIttle in the way of original language tools, but they give you several Greek grammars and dictionaries – then the Nestle’-Aland Greek text. Really. Why not the Textus Receptus? But you don’t get the Old Testament in Hebrew.

search capabilities in Quickverse 2010 is horrible. It takes a while to figure out how to do a Bible search, or a LIbrary search. Once you figure it out, it;s not bad. Not good, but not bad.

The read through the Bible plans in Quickverse are much better than Wordsearch. For a while this year, I was actually doing them in Quickverse, until I got the King James for Logos.

Once you get the feel for Quickverse, and ignore the functions that don’t work, you see why this was a $800 package. You literaly have every commentary, dctionary (etc) that the average Christian will ever need in this package. I’m using Windows 8, and it still works. If I ever need to upgrade my system (and I’m dragging my feet on that as long as I can!!!), I would finally bow to the inevitble and simply import all of it into Wordsearch, making the whole thing somewhat less usable.

Aside from that. with almost no tools, this is in the category of, “If you can find it for $30 or less , then get itl.”

Theword 5.0.0.1450

theword
Notice that the Greek in my commentary window shows up mostly as… boxes

After a reader of this blog came on and attempted to convince me I was completely wrong, I re-examined the issue and… I’m still right. Original Language tools are still minimal, research abilities are still minimal… to compare Theword with Logos is simply ridiculous. IT’s STILL 1994 technology, compared to Accordance and Logos. It’s still roughly the same as E-Sword, but without some of the more useful tools of E-Sword. On the other hand, Theword can do a lot of things E-Sword cannot!

Theword still has the same clunky, untidy interface. The minimize-maximize-close buttons are still in the wrong spot industry-wise, meaning, if you’re trying to minimize several different programs at once, be prepared for the annoyance of closing Theword when you meant to minimize it. This alone was one major reason I did not keep it. That and the “hoarder household with bundles of newspaper” look to the windows. I just expect to see cockroaches run across my computer screen when I click on a window.

In many ways, if you are simply used to E-Sword and how to do minimal Bible study, then Theword is a viable substitute. I’m sure many who use Theword absolutely hate E-Sword. The real reason so many people use Theword is really because one of the major module creators for E-Sword got angry at Rick Meyers for a major change to E-Sword, and Rick’s somewhat arrogant “I really don’t care” attitude caused him to switch to Theword, and thousands followed.

If you were used to Quickverse, and then made the change to E-Sword when Quickverse started getting really expensive, you’re already used to the same elementary approach of “look up the root in Strongs’, because that’s all we can do.” Compared to the language tools in Accordance and Logos, this comes up VERY short.

Theword has the same topic and commentary functions as E-Sword, but lacks the journaling function. THis is a big mistake. The ability to create Bible Memorization lists that E-Sword gives is missing as well. THe prayer list funcrtion is missing.

Theword does have a verse list capability. It’s rudimentary, but it’s better than E-Sword which doesn’t have them. This one doesn’t really make it to my list of recommended programs, falling in just behind E-sword.

Wordsearch 11

WordsearchI read a review recently of Wordsearch, where someone described it of falling “just short of brilliant”. The description was accurate to a T. Wordsearch has many bonuses and pluses, but what it boils down to is, once they write the code for a particular function, that’s it. THey never revisit it. So, you’ve got features they got from Quickverse and Bible Explorer and every other minor Bible program they’ve purchased and discarded they’ve added to Wordsearch, which pretty much means you’ve got two or three ways of doing exactly the same thing! It kind of makes me think they’ve got three groups of programmers working in three different rooms, and never sharing their work with one another.

The info window remians buggy, and crashes a lot. So I keep the info window hidden unless I need it open – completely rendering it useless. User books are copied over from Quickverse, but of course, don’t work as well as in Quickverse. The Annotation function still works the same as it did in Bible Explorer. The bookmark function was lost for a year in WS11 until I pointed it out to them you now could make a bookmark, but never view it! The Notebook function is to make your commwntary on a verse… but you can also do the same for the User Book function. The add on module for Morphology is locked in to the UBS Bible text. When informed that King James Only adherents simply are not going to pay $80 for a morphology keyed to a heretical text… they simply ignore you. From what I’ve read, the morphology module is still the same as WS9 when it was introduced, and still only has half the features Wordsearch promised back then. i’m glad I never bought that module – I’d be furious to pay for a module that only does half of what they advertise it for. This went a long way in increasing the dissatisfaction I was experiencing with Lifeway, the parent company. You can make suggestions, but unless they plan on doing that suggestion anyway, you’re ignored. And like Logos, it seems they lump all Baptists into the Southern Baptist category, and are completely clueless about the beliefs of Independent Baptists.

Lifeway seems to be evenly split between Calvinist Baptists, Traditional Southern Baptists, and a minor group of Emergents. You’ll see that evident in the books they offer. Lifeway sponsored a poll a few years ago, showing their bias, in which you had only three choices: “I am a Calvinist Baptist” or “I am an Arminianist Baptist” or “I don’t know”. The last category was the runaway favorite, as most Southern Baptists are neither Arminian nor Calvinist, but… Baptist.

WordsearchnoteclippingsIf you like a GIANT screen for your Bible study, Wordsearch is it. But if you want a split window so you can read commentary at the same time, or use Bible dictionaries that change as you mouse over the word… it’s not possible.

Customer support for Wordsearch is very good. You will get responses pretty much quickly to any concerns. They were able to fix a long-running error I was constantly getting.

Original language tools are limited in Wordsearch. If you find yourself constantly looking at the Textus Receptus to see how it reads, then Wordsearch won’t do. THey do give you the TR for free, but any morphology or lemma work or TVM analysis… forget it. Buy Vines and see the end result, without looking at the raw data. It’s basically one step above what you get with E-Sword or Theword, which is not what the way it should be for a program they’re trying to sell.

Wordsearch offers passage lsits and clippings as does Logos. They are about the second best at those two features. Really, I think with a top to bottom re-design of Wordsearch, it could be a lot better, and place itself firmly in the same category as Accordance and Logos.

The Lesson maker addon I approve of – but then I saw the vast majrity of the modules for it are written by women, meaning they are absolutely great for women’s groups, but men Scripturally cannot buy them or use them. I wonder if Wordsearch has even considered that?

If having a huge library available is important… Wordseearch is it, topping even Logos and Accordance in available books and add ons.

Wordsearch ranks as #3 in my list. The passage lists and verse lists functions are very good. The ability to write your commentary and take notes in many ways is good, although bewhildering. The word processor function is terrible, though. Original language studies are almost nil.

Unless the company drastically revisits the way they do things, they’re on the law of diminishing returns, and they’ll go out of business within 5 years.

Bottom line: The winners

  1. Logos 7
  2. Accordance
  3. Wordsearch 11

Honorable mention software you must get:

  1. Bible Analyzer

Package you should get if you find it for $30 or less:

Quickverse 2010 (don’t get Quickverse 11, it’s essentially just Wordsearch with a different logo).

Issues with the Faithlife Company


I’m going to take the time to discuss my wife’s conclusion about Logos, that it is not a Christian company. I do have to agree with her. It’s a business. The prices they charge, and the tactics they use to force people to constantly give them money may be sound business practice, but it’s not Christian principles. Christian principles is that the laborer is worthy of his hire, and to pay your people fairly, and charge an honest price for your software. Bibleworks was an honest contender until I found out that they really didn’t give you much in the way of Bible dictionaries, grammars, etc. At least with that software, you pay one price… and you get everything.

But let’s not forget Logos was started by a Christian employee of Microsoft, who went on his own. He turned it into a major software business, eventually creating the greatest Bible software package.

And then recently, he began offering packages for cults and unSaved people, as if lending legitimacy to them. You can buy Verbum, for Roman Catholics. He must have hired some Roman Catholics for the Content teams, because now you get Roman Catholic materials in almost every base package of Logos. What, pray tell, am I going to do with the Roman Catholic lectionary, or the Confessions of “St.” Augustine? The Standard Silver package has a devotional to Mary!!! Are they offering Baptist materials in Verbum, I wonder? Hmmm… let’s see… no.

So, sadly, Logos will probably after the Rapture be instrumental in building a one world religion. I’m not saying that Christians do not work at Logos. I am not saying that there’s something wrong with the software, or the materials they offer (except the RCC stuff). But if you’ve learned to spot agendas (something I taught my readers to do two years ago) – these facts should be setting off alarm bells.

Fundamentalists at Logos


Here’s an idea you all can help with…. if all 240 of you were to write to Logos and suggest they add a Fundamentalist to their employees… we might see more Fundamentalist viewpoints in the software.

Logos, like Accordance, is over-run by theological liberals. And as such, it affects the materials they offer. You’re far more likely to find books and materials by Roman Catholics than you are by Fundamentalists. Indeed, the Fundamentalist category is very small.

And it’s amazing that you can find a plethora of Roman Catholic books criticizing Baptists and Protestants (be advised, both Catholics and Protestants consider Baptists to be Protestants… any attempt to correct them usually results in hostility) – but you can’t find any book by any Baptist or Protestant criticizing the Roman Catholic church. John MacArthur books on his generic subjects are available – but not those against Pentecostalism.

Things I’ve suggested as books still are not available. One of the Bible dictionaries I’ve turned to the most is the King James Dictionary. It’s not available for Logos.

I use Smith’s a lot as well. Not available for Logos for a while, now available. A little high priced, seeing how it’s public domain, but…

Vine’s is now available. That’s good.

But “A Woman rides the Beast” by Dave Hunt I suspect will never be available, since it would offend the Catholics. “What love is this” by Dave Hunt would not be available because it’ll offend the Calvinists. you know, if they’re going to stick to their viewpoint as not being partial, then they need to simply offer all books by all authors they can get contracts for, and tell the others that are offended, “you know, we don’t write these. You might do well to consider writing to Dave Hunt and tell him you’re offended.”

“But he’s dead!”

“Then we suggest you not read his books! Thank you for writing Logos.”

Okay, now I have to work on my Thesis. When you write to Logos, tell them I’ll work out of my living room, and that way I don’t have to move across the country to Washington and irritate all the other employees with my suggestions!

Logos Starter!


Yesterday, my wife surprised me with telling me that she’d managed to put aside enough money for me to spend on Logos. I had a coupon code from Logos, and between them it was enough money for me to spent the almost $300 to get the starter program.

If you’ve never bought Logos, and have already installed the free engine plus the King James for $10, let me explain how to time this. You can’t do this if you’re leaving for someplace in an hour. Expect the entire process to take two and a half hours. I recently wrote how my wife got me a Dell Inspiron that is screaming fast, so I can’t imagine how some of you with older HP laptops will manage this.

The first half hour after buying the upgrade is annoying. Nothing happens. Nothing at all. You’re waiting for the little blue circle with the number to appear next to your “layouts” button. You close the program, open it, nothing. Close it, open it, nothing. I’ve noticed it’s like that sometimes with Logos, like with the free book of the month.

So yesterday, about 20 minutes in, I restarted my computer, and then started Logos up again. Then I just did what I should have done and waited.

About 31 minutes in, the circle appeared. I was expecting an “89” or something, letting me know a lot of books were being downloaded. I got a “2” instead. “3.7 Gigs downloading, 0%”. It’s going to take about an hour to download all that.

Then 30 minutes to index the library. If your Library (CTRL+L) is open, you’ll see it jumping as things are added. half of what’s added doesn’t even show up – the Interlinears and datasets happen behind the scene.

after that, it took about 40 minutes to index every tag and search term in every new Logos book. By the time it was done, the task bar read “247 items updated.”

BaptiststarterNT
The first thing you notice is that now there’s an awful lot of stuff visible in my King James. I now keep two KJB open, one as the KJB and the other as an Interlinear. I set it to pretty much the display I get with Accordance – just the English word (surface) the Greek or Hebrew word as used in the verse (Manuscript), the root word (Lemma) and the Strongs numbers. I absolutely have no need for the Louw-Nida index numbers. Now, John MacArthur may like his TVM (tense-voice-mood) displayed, but it just takes it from viewable to visual noise. Logos calls the TVM “Morphology”, so if you’re trying to figure out what to turn off, this should help. Now, it looks like an off the shelf print interlinear.

BaptiststarterInterlinear

 

Is that a hymnal? Absolutely. I played a couple of the hymns yesterday, just enjoying myself. It has the words, so if you want to sing along with some Godly music, there you go.

The Baptist Starter version comes with 14 Bibles, so I have several open. The first two are KJB, the others right now are the NASV, the HCSV, the New KIng James, the ESV, and a Critical Text Greek. I’ll probably NEVER get around to critiquing the multiple thousands of errors in the Critical Greek text (once I can afford the Textus Receptus, Logos has a feature called “Text Compare” which highlights the differences between the Bible and whatever modern version you’re comparing it to), but I should get to some of the more blatant errors in the Modern Versions now. Before, if I wanted to see the modern versions, I had to go online to blueletterbible, Biblegateway or open my Quickverse.

BaptiststarterOT

The first thing I noticed after the Interlinear option was that my info window now goes nuts. Before, I’d have very little show up in it. now, I’ve got a ton, due to the dictionaries and encyclopedias.

You may have to play with the layouts and setups go get it your way. If you are left eye dominant, Logos may well drive you nuts by constantly placing the Bible window on the right hand side. Fortunately, I’m right eye dominant, so that’s what I’m used to. Besides, I’m kind of accustomed to right-to-left thinking in Bible study ANYWAY, because that’s how Hebrew is written.

Am I going any higher than Logos Gold? Nope. The dynamic pricing allows me to now purchase the Bronze package at $300, instead of the $695 it is regularly. I probably can afford that in the next year. And that may drop the Gold package price to about $500, I’m hoping. If not, then Bronze is where I’ll have to stop. Logos Platinum and Diamond have features I can use – but you know, it’s kind of like the curb detector in a Cadillac – nice feature, but who can afford the car???

Logos Diamond and Platinum are in the same boat. Unless I somehow invent a left hand carrot peeler and make millions, even Logos Gold is iffy.

The pricing in Logos has you over a barrel, unfortunately. There are many items which are only available as part of a base package.

One neat little gizmo is the timeline feature. They used to have a Liberal Scholarship timeline, that had most of the books of the New TEstament being written after 130 AD, and some as late as 200 AD. Only problem is, we’ve got lists of the Bible books at 130 AD, listing books that the “Scholars” claimed were written after that date. And… that list is included as part of the Starter base package. Oops.

So, now, Logos gives you several timelines to choose from. Simply “collapse” the most heretical of them, and you won’t blow a gasket. I have the Walvoord one open, but I raised an eyebrow at him placing the authorship of Matthew at 50 AD, when we’ve got fragments of it in HEBREW dating to 37 AD. Oops. If the Hebrew was written in 37 AD (by the way, odds are REALLY good that’s the original manuscript written down by Matthew himself), then Matthew, being guided by the Holy Spirit, would have written down the preserved Greek that same year, or the next one at the latest. So, any timeline of the books of the Bible should read Matthew as the first manuscript, and in the year 37. You can NEVER go wrong with the earliest theories of dates of the books. It’s only the unsaved scholars (who truly will be the most miserable of men in the Lake of Fire, because THEY KNEW BETTER…) who suggest late dates, because it gives them an excuse to be heretics.

I try, thanks to the kind of job I have, not to work too much on the weekends on my blog, or on Bible study. But I’ll admit to wasting several hours yesterday, poking at a million features in Logos. Some of them are downright odd to get used to. Logos is one of those programs that you’ll want to spend six months poking at, fussing with the display, desktops, the arrangements, the behind the scenes things… one thing I did was to split the highlights file into a separate highlight file for every book. I realized if I ever got to Gold, and had as many books in my Logos Library as I have in Quickverse, I’d be slowed down to a crawl because Logos would constantly be accessing that one file over and over again for everything open in my desktop. By splitting your highlights into multiple files (you can choose that option with the click of a mouse), you slow the program down MUCH less. Where did I learn this? I went to school for computers back in the 1980’s. If you have some programming to do in RPG-II, I’m your guy! 2 bit computing is not dead!!!

Logos grays out on your wishlist, by the way, everything you just got by buying the Baptist Starter package. Incidentally, I was torn between the Baptist Starter and the Logos Starter, which last month cost a few dollars less. I opted for Baptist Starter. The regular Logos Starter is now only $147, if i want to add that one in. And that should drop the Logos Bronze and Gold prices even lower.

How do you afford Logos, if you’re on low income? Understand that you’re probably going to have to accept “Good enough”. Get the free engine, every book they have for free that you’re interested in (they have a lot of BLAH options), and buy one book you need at a time. Wait until your items go on sale, then buy them then. And… remember this code: 6CARM. The CARM website (Calvinist Apologetics Research Ministry) had a code embedded in it that gives you a discount. I’m working with my old Seminary to make Logos Baptist the required program. Why? It gives all the students a discount of 20-30%. And by getting a Logos account, you get a birthday code! Another 20%.

There’s a lot you won’t get by buying it one book at a time. But, hey… look at what kinds of things were done by Matthew Henry and just a Bible!

I am very thankful for my wife, who knew how I agonized over Bible programs and the need to have the programs with all the features.

This mornings feature I was playing with? Numeric converter. I now have something that will take all those Roman Numerals in the old PDF books I have from the 17th century, and will convert them! LIke, Matthew MXMXCVIII:VII!

Or how about… 30 baths equals…

≈ 772.5 liters / 772,500 milliliters

≈ 21.9 bushels / 169.9 gallons / 1,359.4 pint

≈ 1.7 koroi / 5.1 cors / 5.1 homers / 10.3 lethech / 20.3 metretes / 51.5 ephahs / 85.8 satons / 103 modii / 171.7 hins / 171.7 seahs …

About 4 barrels of oil

And lets hear no more about Nero = 666. His name adds to… 225. If you did Gematria, it would be synonymous with Racah – “thou fool”.

And here’s the crazy part.. all of this syncs to my phone, so I can study during breaks! I’ve lately been doing my devotional readings during work. This frees up an hour or so when I get home I can spend working!