A core value of this blog is that ordinary people can learn to study the Bible. That means you don’t need specialized software to know God through his word. But can good software help? Absolutely, as long as you move in the right direction. Software is a tool that will accelerate your momentum. Start off in the right direction, and you’ll go farther than ever before. Shift your direction just a bit, though, and you’ll find yourself in a desert waste wondering if you missed an exit somewhere.
So when the good people at Faithlife offered me a review copy of Logos Bible Software, I was eager to try it. How much farther could it take me in my Bible study? So I’ve used it for detailed study, daily devotions, rapid reading, and sermon preparation. I was curious to see how the software would hold up in these different uses, and I wanted to know whether Logos would help or hinder OIA Bible study. And the more I use Logos, the more a single word comes to mind: power. In this post, I’ll write about the software’s power. Next week, I’ll write about how well it supports OIA Bible study.
In order to show the power, I need to set the stage. Logos Bible software is not merely a software package; it is a digital library. Imagine hiring a research assistant who, knowing you’re studying Exodus 1 today, finds everything in your home library that references Exodus 1. And then finds everything in your church library. Then, the researcher taps into everything from 36 seminary libraries. And the Library of Congress. And Google. Now before you can say “over-realized eschatology,” you’ll have access to virtual piles of ancient Jewish texts, manuscript variants, commentaries, atlases, and dictionaries; and you can sift through them until Jesus returns. You don’t have to spend hours or weeks finding these things yourself. Your assistant beheads every possible resource and serves it up on a silver platter. That’s Logos.
And Logos goes beyond libraries; its power extends to the Scriptures themselves. With Logos, and studying Exodus 1, I can do any of the following in seconds:
- Find every reference to the Nile River in Scripture. List everyone and everything that goes into, comes out of, or exists near it.
- Discover two other Bible characters named Puah.
- Identify every New Testament reference to Exodus 1.
- Open a list of 126 cross-references—and not just references but the full text of the verses.
- Outline the passage based on literary forms (speech, narrative, names list, etc.).
- Search the Bible for every case of infanticide, childbirth, revolt, or slavery.
- Learn the Hebrew word behind the translation “fruitful” (Ex 1:7) and search for every occurrence of that word in the Old Testament. Search for every use of that word, or for just particular forms or tenses of that word.
- View artwork that portrays the Israelites enslaved in Egypt.
- Get a word-by-word grammatical analysis of every form and part of speech.
- Learn that, outside of Exodus 1, this very Pharaoh is referenced 8 more times in Exodus, 3 times in Acts, and 2 times in Hebrews.
- View sentence diagrams of the entire chapter.
I could go on. I can quickly find photos of Egypt and the pyramids. I can highlight the text and create my own notes on it. I can find an infographic with the birth order of Jacob’s 12 sons. I can make a list of every time a Pharaoh speaks in the Bible, and I can order the list based on what kinds of people the Pharaohs speak to. I can generate a list of quotes or sermon illustrations for the topics within the passage. I can completely customize a reading plan for the Bible or any book in my library.
Where Logos shines most brightly is in its power to search resources and give historical background. Before studying Mark 13:1-37 with Logos, I had never seen Jerusalem’s temple mount from the Mount of Olives. At a few clicks, I could see breathtaking photos from multiple angles, and all I could say was, “Wow.”
Here is incredible power. The only limit to what I can seek or find is my imagination.
If you would like unbelievable access to oodles of historical research and search capacity, I am happy to recommend Logos to you. With this link, or the coupon code KNOWABLE6, you can get 10% off.
Next week, I’ll consider further how well Logos supports the steps of observation, interpretation, and application.
Disclaimer: If you buy Logos with the code or links above, this blog will receive a commission. Thanks for supporting this work so we can help ordinary people learn to study the Bible!