Logos Bible Software 9 – A First Look and Review

I have been using Logos Bible Software since the middle 1990s. My first copy shipped on floppy discs and I have a fairly large stack of CDROMs from the early days of Logos. Hardly a day goes by when I do not use the desktop version and I regularly use the iPad to read books and take notes. It has now been two years since Logos 8 was released (read my review of Logos 8 here). That was a major upgrade in terms of program speed and tools for Bible Study. This latest incarnation of Logos continues to develop tools for note taking, sermon preparation, and integration with other the Faithlife products. In fact, many of the major upgrades are “under the hood.”

I have been working with the beta of Logos 9 for a couple of months on my 2015 Mac Air (1.6 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 with 8GB of memory). I do use a second monitor, but I am testing Logos on a fairly average machine. Since I only have a 256GB hard drive, I only download books I am regularly using in order to save space, although Logos resources are not usually very large files. With the last update, Logos functions well on this particular setup and I have no complaints about performance in the new version. The more robust platforms will (obviously) perform better. Those of you still using that 386 PC clone with a 40MB hard drive should consider upgrading your hardware soon.   

As with any upgrade, there are many more features than I can cover in a single review. Here is a six minute video from Logos summarizing the new features:

Many of the features I personally do not use. For example, I usually prepare my lectures and Bible studies using Word rather than Logos’s sermon prep or workflow tools. As cool as those features are, I just do not have the time to master them and the “old ways” still work fine. In fact, this new edition of Logos should appeal to the busy pastor looking to go deeper in their Bible study by streamlining the processes used for sermon and Bible study development. In addition, Logos has added dozens of counseling guides for specific situations and the Jay Adams Counseling Commentaries in many of the packages.

There are several new interlinear Bibles available, and a very interesting Reverse Interlinear Explorer tool. Pick any verse, and the Explorer will create an interlinear with lemma, transliteration, root, morphology, and link to the Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains (Louw-Nida). The Interlinear Explorer is similar but adds Strong’s Numbers and a graphic visualization of variations in word order and punctuation.

One other feature that gets people excited is is Dark Mode. Logos 9 can do dark mode now, if you are into that sort of thing. Seriously, add dark mode to a program and people go crazy with joy. I personally do not get it. I tried it, and turned it off after a few minutes on my laptop. Maybe that is more exciting on a phone or iPad, but it was more distracting than helpful on my desktop version.

Factbook 2.0

One of the major upgrades in Logos 9 is the Factbook. In some ways this is similar to a Passage Study or a Bible Word Story, but much more. If you type a topic or passage in the Go Box, one option is to open the Factbook.  Another way to access the Factbook Words underlined in your Bible. This link creates a Factbook page full of links to resources in your library. Here is a quick video tutorial on using Factbook”

The key link is Lexham Bible Dictionary, which makes sense because it is in all base packages, including the free basic Logos (at least in version 8, check to see if this is true in Logos 9). Following the key link is a media tab. The Factbook searches your library for photographs or maps that relate to your topic. Only the highlights are provided, but the user can open the media tool or search all of their media for their topic. Includes a few key passages, and then a section labeled “referred to as.” This will provide Greek and Hebrew words used to describe the topic. Clicking a Greek or Hebrew word will open the Lexham Research Lexicon. The Factbook also generates links to Bible dictionaries and other resources (journals, sermons, other books from your library). You can launch a Workflow from the fact book as well.

One of the final sections of the Factbook is “Further Reading.” Here the Factbook may link the user to Wikipedia in a new Logos window. Clicking a Greek or Hebrew word in Wikipedia does not open your lexicon, but that is probably not possible. A very cool feature of this section is a link to Google Maps for places. For example, using the Factbook for Nazareth I clicked on the map coordinates and Google Earth opens in a web browser so I can even visit Nazareth using Google Streetview. Not surprisingly, store link is included so you can go spend more money in the Logos bookstore!

Lexham Lexicons

Three new Lexham Lexicons: Greek New Testament, Hebrew Bible and Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible draws on the data sets including in Logos. For example, the Senses and Sense Labels are taken from the Bible Sense Lexicon; References to Biblical people, places, and concepts are based on data from the Bible Knowledgebase; Hebrew and Aramaic equivalents is taken from an alignment of H.B. Swete’s The Old Testament in Greek and the Lexham Hebrew Bible; Phrases and clauses presented in example verses are based on The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Information regarding principal parts of verbs, genitive endings of nouns and adjectives, and English glosses are taken from data utilized in the Bible Word Study guide.

πέμπω (pempō), vb. send. fut.act. πέμψω; aor.act. ἔπεμψα; perf.act. πέπομφα; aor.pass. ἐπέμφθην; perf.mid. πέπεμμαι. Hebrew equivalent: שׁלח (2). Aramaic equivalent: שׁלח (2).  LTW πέμπω (Calling or Commission).

LTW refers to the Lexham Theological Wordbook, a resource included in most packages. It would be ideal if the editors include links to other theological lexicons, such as TDNT, TLNT, etc. Occasionally related words are included in the header.

After the heading, the Lexicon offers a series of syntactical usage of the word (noun, adjective, verb, etc.) with interlinear examples, then a section of Septuagint references. Unfortunately, these are not presented in interlinear format, only links are provided. This is true for the Alternate Corpus References (Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, OT Pseudepigrapha, and Classical Greek sources). Following the example uses, the lexicon gathers commentary sections (called “articles”. This is convenient since the link goes to the exact section of the commentary dealing with the word. References in this section are based on an analysis of the use of original language in over 7,000 commentaries, the Lemma in Passage data and is influenced by Important Words data. Finally, if available, journal articles are list. For example, under περίεργος (“busybody”) there is a link to Jeannine K. Brown, “Just a Busybody? A Look at the Greco-Roman Topos of Meddling for Defining Ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος in 1 Peter 4:15,” Journal of Biblical Literature 125 (2006): 552.

The Lexham Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible and the Aramaic Portions are similar, the heading includes the Greek equivalent from the LXX when available. As with the Greek lexicon, each example is presented in interlinear format. 

Lexham Research Commentaries

Like Factbook 2.0 and the new Lexham Lexicons, the Lexham Research Commentaries make use of datasets across the Logos ecosystem. What is a “research commentary”? This resource is edited by Miles Custis, Douglas Mangum, and Wendy Widder as a way of bringing all the resources of the Logos Library into a commentary-like format. The guides are a research tool presenting a wide range of interpretive issues raised by Bible scholars. The idea of these Research Commentaries is similar to Allan Ross’s Creation and Blessing, a commentary on Genesis which often pointed out what a pastor or teacher needs to sort out before actually teaching the text. Like the Factbook or Passage Study tool, the Research commentaries add data from various places in the Logos ecosystem to a brief commentary to guide a student into deeper research. For more details on these commentaries, see my review here.

Lexham Context Commentary

These two new resources for the Old and New Testament were edited by Douglas Mangum (project editor) and Thomas Parr and Mark Ward, associate editors (with an introduction by Leland Ryken). The goal is to provide quick access to the context of any portion of the Old or New Testament by offering outlines each book and summaries of every portion of the books. These brief notes ask, “Where have we been, where are we, and where are we going?

Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, Greek New Testament, and Septuagint

Another set of resources includes information about Greek New Testament, Greek Septuagint,  and Hebrew Bible manuscripts. These resources contain information about each manuscript and, where available, links to manuscript images. This data is drawn from the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR). Many of the images require an account at NTVMR. At the time I used these resources there were too many “image not available” errors, but I expect that to improve.

Other Language Tools

Greek Grammar Ontology is edited by Jimmy Parks, this new resource is an effort to bring vocabulary and concepts of Greek Grammar into the Factbook. It is essentially a gigantic index of resources on morphology and syntax. For example, click on “Objective Genitive” in the index. The entry starts with a basic definition (“As an adjectival use of the genitive, the objective genitive indicates a verbal concept where the genitive noun is the object of the verbal idea”) followed by resources categorized as beginning (Zacharias, Biblical Greek Made Simple (reviewed here) Mounce), intermediate (shorter Robertson, shorter Wallace, Porter’s Idioms), and research (Robertson, Wallace, BDF  and Smyth). There is also a link to the Factbook, which appears to generate the same sort of information but with the other categories usually found in the factbook (when available).

Greek Prepositions in the New Testament: A Cognitive-Functional Approach by Rachel Aubrey and Michael Aubrey. This is book is designed to be referenced from the new Lexham Lexicons but offers deeper information on how prepositions function in the Greek New Testament. As most first year Greek students know, any given preposition has a wide range of meaning depending on the context. This resource unpacks that complicated syntax with example from the Greek New Testament. At this time the resource only covers proper prepositions, but will be updated to improper prepositions in a future.  

Conclusion. For any new version, the main question is, “is it worth the upgrade?” If you are using any version prior to Logos 8, then absolutely. If you are happy with Logos 8, you might consider a minimal upgrade in order to take advantage of the updated datasets. Since this is a new release, Logos is offering upgrade discounts, click the links and pick an upgrade path that fits your budget. If you are a first time Logos customer, there are some free books and other perks for you.

 

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