Logos 9 Six Months Later: A Review
A little over six months ago Logos announced it’s latest upgrade. The folks at Faithlife/Logos wanted to know how I was doing with Logos 9 six months later. Among the new features, what have I found the most helpful? What features am I not using? In short, how am I getting along with Logos 9 six months later? When Logos 9 launched in October 2020, I wrote a review mentioning its main features, such as the FactBook, Sermon Builder and Manager, and Counseling Guide (see the review here) . In this review I’ll look at some of the smaller features I’ve found helpful, as well as note how I’m doing with some of the larger features.
Smaller Features of Logos 9
Reading plans is definitely a new feature that I’ve enjoyed. Rather than have to hunt through my Logos library for a book I’m reading, I love the fact that I can put it right on my desktop. More than that, I love how it keeps track of where I’m at. Although all of my reading to this point has been personal, I like the fact that the reading plan also provides a way for a group to read the same book together.
When you select a book for your reading plan, a card appears on your Logos desktop. One click allows you to pick up where you left off. The reading plan card can be seen in the screenshot below in the middle bottom column. (Feel free to zoom in on all screenshots).
In the next screenshot, you’ll see what the reading plan looks like on the inside. On the left is the current chapter of the book I’m reading. The top right provides a section for taking notes, while the bottom right charts my progress as I read through the book.
While Logos has always had shortcuts which can be made by pasting things to the top of the menu, I like the new feature that allows you to add folders. Instead of cluttering the top of your menu with many different items, you can keep similar items in a folder. As you’ll see in the example below, I’ve put a number of my favorite Bibles together in a Bible folder. Rather than search my library for a particular Bible, or use the parallel resources button if I want to use a Bible besides my ESV, I can now click on the folder and choose from my favorite Bibles.
Of course you could also make a file with your favorite Bible Dictionaries, Grammars, Commentaries, Atlases, etc. If you look again at the screenshot above you will also notice an up and a down arrow in the menu. The arrows allow me to magnify or decrease the magnification of what I’m reading. I don’t know that this is a new shortcut, but thought I’d point out that this is a handy shortcut to have on your menu bar.
Bible Books Explorer
I will admit that this is one of the new features I haven’t spent a lot of time with yet, but I want to. If someone is looking for some basic information about a biblical book, this is a good place to start. If you’re looking for the kind of genre, who the author is, when the book was written, etc. you can find that information here. The Bible Books Explorer also links to the FactBook for more information on a particular person or topic. The Bible Books Explorer is found in the Tools menu. I have posted 2 screenshots below. The first shows the opening page of the Bible Books Explorer. The second shows some of the information available simply by clicking on one of the books. I’ve used the Book of Genesis for this illustration.
The Main Features in Logos 9 Six Months Later
One of the features that the creators at Faithlife/Logos seemed most excited about was the expansion of the FactBook. Although it existed in earlier editions of Logos, the FactBook was designed in Logos 9 to be the main go-to site when beginning the study of anything (person, topic, Bible passage, etc.). I think Faithlife is to be congratulated on this one as I’ve found the FactBook to be a gold mine of information. The FactBook also provides links to the other important guides in Logos such as the Passage guide and the Exegetical guide (which remain favorites of mine).
The Counseling Guide
As a Bible college teacher I consider it a sacred trust to disciple and counsel my students. COVID 19 has certainly changed my normal interaction with students over the past year. Therefore, I haven’t engaged in much one on one counseling. As a result, I haven’t used the Counseling Guide and so I cannot offer any further evaluation of it. It’s good to know I have it available should the need arise, although a lot of my counseling is better described as discipleship and usually involves discussing biblical topics and passages or praying with students. The deeper issues tend to be dealt with by our Dean of Men and Dean of Women. For pastors and those in the counseling profession, I would expect that this feature is more valuable than it has proven to be to me personally.
Sermon Starter, Sermon Builder and Sermon Manager
Because I am not a full-time pastor, I do not preach on a regular basis. When I am asked to preach, I usually have a limited time to prepare. I use the FactBook, the Passage Guide, and the Exegetical Guide in my preparation, as noted above. I believe the Sermon Builder would be a wonderful tool, but to this point I have not taken the time to learn how to use it. Some people pick up on things quickly. I’m definitely a slow prodder and it takes me awhile to catch on and therefore I have not utilized these tools.
I recently watched a free webinar by Morris Proctor on the Sermon Starter Guide. I found his demonstration on how to use the Sermon Starter Guide, very helpful. I’m sure I will utilize it in the future when I am struggling with how to begin and flesh out a sermon. As Proctor points out, these tools (i.e., the various Sermon Guides) are not just for pastors. They can help Sunday School teachers, and Bible study leaders of small groups. I’m sure they would be helpful for a Bible College Teacher as well, but at times it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks! While I always attempt to stay fresh with my research and approach, I already have a multitude of notes and powerpoints that I use in my presentations. Therefore, it’s been more difficult for me to be motivated to try something new. The great thing about Logos is that there are many different ways to approach Bible study and the various guides are helpful when it comes to finding out what works best for each person.
So how am I doing with Logos 9 after six months? I would answer that I am as happy as ever with my Logos Bible software. As noted above, I have actually found some of the smaller features more to my liking than some of the larger features. This has more to do with my comfort level of using familiar features in Logos than it has to do with any shortcoming of the new features. If you are a Logos 9 user and have made it to this point in the post, I would love to hear in the comments what you think of some of the new features of Logos 9, how they have helped you, frustrated you, and what advice you might have for incorporating some of these new features into a daily Bible study routine?
I have not taken the time to explain the step-by-step method of how to access and use the features mentioned above. What has proven the most helpful way for me to learn about these features and how to use them is the Logos free training videos. I have provided a link below where you can watch videos on all the new features of Logos 9.
A friend of mine commented on how we only utilize a small portion of our brain’s capacity and it seems to be the same with our use of Logos. This is definitely true in my case, and many others I know. Hopefully six months from now, we’ll all be more proficient in various aspects of Logos 9 as we learn together how to use this powerful software to study and teach God’s Word.
(This review reflects my own opinions. I was not obligated by Faithlife/Logos to offer any specific evaluation.)