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!