Logos Bible Software 10 First Look

Logos 10

I have been using Logos Bible Software since the mid-1990s when the program came on four 720K floppy disks. Before the cloud storage was a thing, I accumulated a stack of Logos floppies and CDROMs. I think I installed my first version of Logos on a PC clone with an Intel 386 CPU and a 40MB hard drive. My current setup is a MacBook Pro with an M1 chip and a terabyte solid state hard drive. Although things have changed over the years, Logos Bible Software remains a solid investment for me as I prepare lectures for my university classes or Bible studies for my church. I have been using Logos 10 for a few weeks now, so here are my first impressions of the new version.

Logos 10 is faster. For me, this is the most important feature of a Logos upgrade. Since Logos continues to add more tools and features, there is a danger the software will become bloated and not run well, especially on an older system. Although the final benchmarks were not available when this review was written, Logos is between 10% and 40% faster depending on your hardware. Logos 10 now has native support for Apple Silicon (M1 processor) and .NET 6 support for people using Windows. Indexing is also improved, about 15% faster and taking up 10% less disk space. In addition, Logos improved the speed of their servers which helps all online functions (including mobile and web apps).

Logos 10 looks modern. But the cosmetic changes are not radical, so long-time users need not freak out at the user interface changes (although some will, you know who you are). This is completely subjective, but there is something about rounded tabs that looks better. The toolbar can be moved to the left side of the screen (the new default) or the top (the old standard). All the icons have been slightly redrawn and are smaller, so there is more workspace. Logos 10 also updated the Favorites tool, although I have not used it much in the past.

There are many new features in Logos 10, I am going to highlight the ones I find particularly useful.

Print Library Catalog. Most Logos users probably also have a large personal library (think, “real books”). I have many books in print which also available in the Logos Library. If you own a book and it is also available in Logos, you can add the book to your personal print library and search within that book even if you do not own the Logos version. Why would you want to do that? I have a print copy of David Bauer’s The Book of Acts as Story (Baker, 2021). The print copy does not have a topical index, and even if it did, indices do not cover every word of a book. In this case I added The Book of Acts as Story to my Print Library Catalog and search within the book of Elymas. Logos 10 fount two sections of the book discussing Elymas and gave me a snippet view of the text and could find the section in the print version of my book. If you have the iOS app, you can scan the barcode of the book to add it to your Print Library (like the GoodReads app, for example). I tested this on the iPad, I do not know if that feature is available on an Android device.

Machine Translation.  Another new feature of Logos 10 is nearly instant translation of non-English texts. I am sure every PhD student will love this feature! I happen to have Julius Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Johannis (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1908) in my Logos Library. If I open the book, select some text, and right click, I get an option to translate. A sidebar opens with an English translation synced to the German text. I tested the tool with French (Bossuet’s Revelation commentary) and Spanish (Filologia Neotestamentaria, 48-49), in both cases the translation tool worked well. The translation feature uses DeepL.com, not Google translate. DeepL is considered better than Google (see this review).

But there are some important caveats here. First, machine translation is not a real translation. In this opening paragraph of Wellhausen’s book, he uses the phrase “für das langweilige Werk eines Wirrkopfes,” translated as “the boring work of a madman.” But if I select the text again, it is the work of a “muddlehead,” and another time it was a “scatterbrain.” Or does Wellhausen mean “ditz”? This is a great tool which gives readers access to non-English resources, but I would not consider this as a definitive translation in an academic paper. Second, the translation feature is only available if you are online since it makes use of an online translation service. Third, Logos does not seem sure this tool will continue to be free in the future. DeepL is a paid service, starting at $6.99 a month. For now, the cost is rolled into the price of Logos. But Logos may need to limit the use of the tool or have monthly “fair-use” limits.

I think most people will use of the translation tool is to get a quick definition of a foreign word as it appears in the English resources they are reading.

Sermon Builder and Sermon Manager. These are features I have not used in Logos Bible Software, mostly because I have my own workflow for creating lecture notes, sermons, Bible studies using Microsoft Word. Nothing fancy, but it is the way I have worked for a long time and I am in my own happy little rut. That means I have hundreds of files with lecture notes and sermons neatly organized in folders and backed up in DropBox. But Logos 10 has a new feature which might help me transition to their Sermon Builder too. The Sermon Manager will now import my MS Word file into the Sermon Building tool.

The Sermon Manager allows users to build a database of sermons tagged by series, topic, text, date, venue, and liturgical day/season. I imported a study I did on the Feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21). The Logos preserved the format as much as possible, and I am sure there are ways to tweak the format into something I prefer. Scripture references were tagged so I can hover over a reference or click on it to read the text. However, Logos did not import my footnotes (that might be a deal-killer for me!)

In the Sermon Editor, click on the quote marks in the side bar to search for popular quotes. As a test case, I typed in Matthew 14 and the quote tool offered me quotes from a wide range of writers, from classic quotable Christians like A. W. Tozer, Matthew Henry, and Charles Spurgeon to popular commentaries by N. T. Wright, Craig Blomberg, and R. T. France. Not all these suggested quotes were inspiring (there was a random bit from Luther’s Table Talk that was not on topic at all). Presumably these popular quotes are the result of reader highlights. Drag the quote into your sermon outline; then it is an easy click away from a slide for your PowerPoint or Proclaim presentation. I could not see a way to move my personal favorite quotes into a sermon.

I noticed Logos does not know me very well. The Sermon Builder suggested my 2,425-word document would take twenty minutes to present. I am good for at least a half-hour on this one.

Logos 10

Factbook, Guides and Datasets. Datasets have been around for several versions, but the Factbook was upgraded significantly in Logos 9. Most Logos users are unaware of how much information is contained in datasets or how they are used to pull information from your library. Datasets are like a system of tags which Logos can search quickly to find data you need. These datasets vary depending on the level of your Logos Library/ If you go to your Library and type “type:manual” in the search box, you will get a list documentation for of all the datasets your level of Logos can access. Don’t worry, as a user you do not need to know anything about this information, but it does make Logos work.

What is Factbook? Using Logos datasets, the Factbook creates instant access to textual and visual information from across your Logos library, including details about biblical people, places, historical events, theological topics, and more. Click the Factbook icon and enter anything (really, anything). I typed Damascus, Factbook provided links to a key article (in the Lexham Bible Dictionary), various media (maps and other pictures), key passages, events, timelines, Bible dictionaries, journals, sermons, and related searches. When applicable, there is a “further reading” section that includes Google Map coordinates and a link to Wikipedia.

Here is another application of datasets. I recently was working on Daniel 4, so I opened a Passage Guide and typed in Daniel 4. The Passage Guide opened a collection of commentaries and cross references, along with an Atlas and other media (if available). My favorite section is Ancient Literature, which lists quotations, allusions, echoes, or topical similarities to Daniel 4 in Ancient Near Eastern literature, Church Fathers, Dead Sea Scrolls, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Nag Hammadi Codices, New Testament Apocrypha, the works of Josephus and Philo. If I own these resources, I could click and go right to the context of the allusion.

Logos 10 Mobile and Tablet improvements. I use Logos on my iPad to read books. The Logos iOS app is superior to Kindle in terms of look and feel. Any highlights or notes I make on my book are immediately saved to the cloud and available on my desktop. Logos 10 for mobile and tablets includes new layout modes for up to six books and tools on their screen at the same time. Like the desktop version, the mobile version now has panel linking capabilities allow users to have three linksets (A, B, C). Link your English Bible to Greek and Hebrew Bibles and a commentary or two, so changing the passage in one will change it in all linked resources. Mobile users can now create, edit, and save Canvas documents on your iPad.  At least on the iPad, users can now draw on the screen. This is like marking up your book with a pen, pencil and highlighter For Silver+ users, Sermon Manager is now available on the iPad. Text-to-speech makes (nearly) every resource into an audiobook (Bronze+). Finally at long last Logos 10 adds fuzzy search results to their mobile platform.

There is much more in this upgrade. Here is the Logos 10 promo video, teasing some of the features of the new version. Logos Bible Software is like that old saying about only using about 10% of our brains (which I know is not true, but it works for this analogy so bear with me). Although I have been using Logos for nearly thirty years now, I feel like I use about 10% of its features regularly. But that 10% is so valuable I can honestly recommend making an investment in the Logos, both in terms of resources and time.

Is an upgrade to Logos 10 worth the money? This depends on your budget, and Logos has a range of entry points (from silver up platinum, or from “I can afford this” to “wow….”). Two things help. All the links on this page take you to my affiliate page where you can save 15% on a new Logos base package (plus they let you pick some free books in addition to that package).

If you are already a Logos user, click on the image for the level (not the “add to cart”) to see your dynamic pricing. That means if you already have some books in the package, you do not have to re-purchase them. All those free and cheap books you. Have been adding to Logos every month? If they are already in the library, you do not pay for them again. Scroll down to the second listing the Library Resources, click “hide owned books” to see what would be new to you in this upgrade. You save 15% on the $300 Silver level, and then they subtract the books you already own. It might not actually cost much at all for you to upgrade to Logos 10.You jay also qualify for a academic discount if you are a university professor or student. Can’t hurt to ask!

Why Silver? It has most of the Logos features, you have to to Gold to get all the features.

If you scroll to the bottom of the partner page, there is a “see other packages” button. That is where they are hiding the Starter and Bronze levels. Or if you are really looking for a major upgrade, check out the Diamond, Portfolio and Collector’s Edition.

Use the promo code PARTNEROFFER10 when you check out. Logos does have easy payment plans if you are into that sort of thing.

 

 

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