Faithlife Study Bible – Free Bible Study Tool

Yesterday I noticed that Logos was downloading resources, which it does from time to time.  When it finished, I noticed the Faithlife Study Bible had been added to my library.  I had not remembered ordering the resource, but later than day I received an email from Logos announcing the “next big thing.”  This “big thing” is a Study Bible created by Logos. It really cannot be described as a book, since it is a running commentary on the Bible which expands to fit the user’s needs and interests. It uses the Bible you already own and read in Logos, but adds brief commentary and links to articles which a traditional paper Study Bible cannot provide.

Key words are linked to the Lexham Bible Dictionary, Logos’s own Bible dictionary and occasionally there are links to “infographics.” For example, I happened to be working in Matthew 20, the Parable of the Workers.  For verse 9 there was a brief line of commentary, with the word “wage”  as a highlighted link.  The link opened the Lexham Bible Dictionary entry for Coinage in Biblical Times, an impressive article by Anthony Meyer which could have been an entry in the Anchor Bible Dictionary or the new Eerdmans ISBE.  It was well-written and had a significant bibliography.

By clicking on the thumbnail of the infographic, I was treated to a photograph of a silver denarius and a brief explanation of the coin. The brief commentary line had a plus-mark and the end, indicating more information was available. In this case, there was another graphic, “Coins of the Gospels.”  Clicking scripture references will move your Bible to the verse, but not the commentary.  This has the advantage of allowing the reading to click on every verse in the original article without losing the original place.  (You could link the commentary and your preferred Bible, but I am not sure that I would like that as much.)

Sometimes clicking the plus-mark will open a little more text, going a little bit deeper on a word or concept.  Sometimes these “deeper connects” include links to resources  already in your Logos Library.  Since I own the Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary, I was able to click links to that dictionary. Occasionally there was a link to a resource I do not own.  In reading Gen 22:2, the JPS Commentary was offered with a little padlock next to it, indicating that I have not yet purchased it.  (I am use the Logos website would love to help me remedy that problem!)

The Faithlife Study Bible also contains timelines at key places in the text.  These are very stylish, although sometimes the characters look a bit like the old Good News for Modern Man illustrations.  (Younger users will not make this association!)  There are links to “tables,” such as a list of Jesus’ parables.   Occasionally there an icon that looks like a paper, clicking this takes you to Sidebars.  Like any Study Bible, there are a number of longer notes on topics, themes, contextual studies (words, history, people, etc) as well as devotionals.  These entries are all signed by the author and all seem to be no more than a “page” if printed in a traditional Bible. Like the ESV Study Bible, there is a significant amount of “extra” material here, such as “How to Study the Bible,” written by Doug Stuart (who wrote the book by the same name).  I noticed a devotional by Charles Stanley and the devotional on Church was by Jim Samra.  There are a number of other “big” names in the Bible, so the reader can be assured that the notes are quality.

The real advantage to publishing a book this way is that it can be updated and expanded constantly.  I assume that Logos will develop this tool the same way that they did the Lexham Bible Dictionary and allow authors to update their entries and add new ones.  This is sort of a limited wiki approach which allows changes, but only through approved authors and with editorial oversight.  If this happens, then it really would be the “next big thing” in publishing.

The Faithlife Study Bible is a free resource for the Logos Library, but also a free app for iPad (iOS devices) and Android.  There is a native iPad and iPhone app in the App Store for the Faithlife Study Bible.  I spent a little time with the iPad version this morning and found that it was a very useful tool.  It appears to use the same basic shell as the Logos App (or the Vyrso App), with the Bible in the upper third of the scree, the commentary in the lower two-thirds.  Swiping left or right turns the pages, the windows are linked so they will both move when you advance either the Bible or the Commentary.

The bottom line is that Logos has provided an excellent tool for a layperson with the Faithlife Study Bible.  It is free for every platform, so there is little reason not to try it out!

3 thoughts on “Faithlife Study Bible – Free Bible Study Tool

    • This is an app, which means you have to download it via the Apple App store (iTunes, or an iPhone/iPad App store); or the Android marketplace if you are using an Android device. To my knowledge, these word of Apps are unavailable through other means. Sorry.

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  1. This is the response I received from Logos. (See email below my comments)

    While I am all for understanding how the cults and false religions function as it relates to identifying falsehoods and witnessing, I find their stance to be disturbing in that a seeker or someone who is unaware might come to believe that Mormonism is just another way to God. We must clearly delineate truth from falsehood and not water down what we believe in the name of tolerance or political correctness. Mormonism is huge and growing and their influence is great. With their newest thrust to adopt Christian terms into their witness they are fooling a lot of folks including new or unknowing Christians.

    [[We all have our own specific theological views, and we don’t make any claim that they’re all right. (I’m sure they’re wrong in many ways that I don’t know!) We don’t take any theological positions as a company.]]
    To me, this is a huge statement, if it is indeed their corporate stance, and a good reason to avoid them.
    This is scary!!

    From: Carla Schermerhorn [mailto:cschermerhorn@logos.com]
    Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 12:20 PM
    To: Michael Hoel
    Subject: Logos Support Department

    Dear Michael Hoel,

    Thank you for your e-mail. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.
    Our goal at Logos Bible Software is to serve everyone who studies the Bible. We all have our own specific theological views, and we don’t make any claim that they’re all right. (I’m sure they’re wrong in many ways that I don’t know!) We don’t take any theological positions as a company.
    We offer around 12,000 other books, and certainly they contain errors. But if we only published what we completely agreed with, it would be a very small library, and yet still full of errors! The only book we have absolute confidence in is the Bible, God’s Word. Our goal at Logos is to encourage people to study it. Part of studying the Bible is reading a variety of viewpoints; at the most, we gain insight. At the least, we are equipped to understand and refute error in the church.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and we hope you’ll give us a chance to continue serving you.
    Sincerely,
    Carla Schermerhorn
    Logos Support Department
    800-875-6467 | 360-527-1700 | UK Callers: 0(871)218-1700
    http://www.Logos.com/Support – Logos Support
    http://www.Logos.com/Videos – Training Videos
    You study with Logos, now present with Proclaim.

    From: Michael Hoel [mailto:mhoel@centralia.edu]
    Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:12 AM
    To: Logos Customer Service
    Subject: problem

    I started using the Faithlife study bible a couple of weeks ago and came across something that troubled me so have stopped using it until I can find more information. I did a search/define on ‘apostle’ and one of the definitions was related to leadership in the Mormon church. It said nothing about mormonism being a cult but treated it as a mainline, valid, christian church.

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