Going for the Gold (base package) in Logos 5

It’s been interesting to watch Bible software companies make a final sales push before Christmas–Logos and Accordance seem to have been the most active that I’ve noticed. I’ve compared the “Big Three” Bible softwares here, which is hopefully of help to someone trying to decide which Bible software program is best for her or him.

Focusing for a moment again on Logos: I wrote a multi-part review of Logos 4 here, then did a review of Logos 5 when it released on November 1. At that time I had the Silver base package to review. I’ve now received a review copy of Gold, so here I offer some initial observations on that base package.

Everything in Silver and below comes in Gold. So like Silver, the Gold base package has:

  • Features like Bible Facts, Passage Guide, Bible Word Study, Exegetical Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, Timeline, and so on
  • Clause Search–this deserves its own bullet point; I have written about it here
  • The entire New American Commentary set
  • The Pulpit Commentary set
  • The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint (and to the Greek NT)
  • Greek and English Apostolic Fathers
  • Theological Lexicon of the OT, Theological Lexicon of the NT
  • A new English translation (!) of the Septuagint, The Lexham English Septuagint, which I’ve already been using regularly in my reading through Greek Isaiah in a Year

The Gold base package adds:

There’s more in Gold, so this is just what stands out to me on first use. See the full contents of Gold here. Compare all of the base packages in Logos 5 here.

Perhaps the best I can offer in a review of a base package like this is two implications that stem from my belief that Christians are called to be good stewards of their money:

  1. On the one hand, a package like Gold in Logos 5 really does offer great savings. You couldn’t possibly get all the resources in Logos 5 Gold in print (even used) for the same price. It might not even be close.
  2. On the other hand, one should be cautious not to buy just because there is great savings at hand. The key question is always, what resources will I use, and can I afford them now?

Logos occasionally receives criticism of offering packages that are bloated. Gold does have more than I think I’d want to use in a lifetime, and the “print value” metric is to be taken with a grain of salt, since the real question is of what value will a given resource be to the user. I still have mixed feelings about the new names and groupings found in Logos 5 base packages (as compared to Logos 4). I think it’s an oversight on the part of the company that there is no longer an Original Languages Library advertised on the Website. This was a market-driven decision, from what I understand, but I doubt scholars of Biblical Studies will appreciate it. (The user forums note that you can purchase an original languages package by phoning the sales department at Logos.)

Compatibility issues are also at play in one’s purchasing decisions. Logos for now is the only major Bible software program that can run natively (without an emulator, bottle, etc.) on any platform: Mac, PC, iPad, mobile, etc. It also is set up such that all your resources, notes, and even screen layouts sync automatically across platforms. However I close Logos on my PC is how it looks when I open it back up on my Mac. That kind of flexibility is great to have.

Gold is not a cheap package, but a lot comes with it. It makes a good long-term investment, if you’re comfortable building your library electronically. But using a resource in Logos is much more than just reading a commentary on a Kindle or as a pdf on a computer. References and abbreviations are hyperlinked throughout, and you can use the search features and “Data Sets” in Logos to more fruitfully explore any given resource. So it’s not just library-building, but information sorting, textual analysis, flexible searching of multiple resources, data manipulation, etc.

If as a pastor, professor, seminarian, or Bible translator you do a good amount of research and writing on the Bible, the Gold base package in Logos 5 combines a wealth of resources and features that could be of benefit. I’m especially eager to dig more into the UBS Handbooks, the Exegetical Summaries, the N.T. Wright works, and the Bible Sense Lexicon. I’ll post more about Gold before long. (UPDATE: See concluding part of Gold review here.)

Thanks to Logos for the gratis review copy of Gold, given me with the sole expectation that I review it honestly here on my blog.

Works of Richard R. Ottley (3 vols.) in Logos Bible Software

Ottley Isaiah cover

I’ve been using R.R. Ottley’s Book of Isaiah According to the Septuagint as I participate in Greek Isaiah in Year.

The two-volume work is available in print through Wipf & Stock here on Amazon. Or you can download the whole thing here for free as a .pdf, since it’s in the public domain. This will be sufficient for many folks who want to check out this work.

Logos Bible Software also has an edition of Ottley’s work (here), a three-volume Works of Richard R. Ottley. In addition to Book of Isaiah According to the Septuagint, the Logos bundle includes his Handbook to the Septuagint. That work is also free and in the public domain (get it here).

For the kind of close reading I’ve been doing with the Greek Isaiah group, having these texts integrated with the rest of Logos has been quite convenient and a big time-saver.

Volume 1 of Ottley’s Isaiah work has:

  • Introduction
    • Early History of the Septuagint
    • Text of the LXX in Isaiah
    • Methods of Rendering
    • Differences between the LXX and the Hebrew
  • List of Manuscripts containing Isaiah in Greek
  • Parallel Translations

The introduction briefly addresses issues of dating, as well as the various editions of the Greek (the Hexapla, etc.). The “Text of the LXX in Isaiah” section treats in more detail the Greek manuscripts, as well as later translations like the Syro-Hexaplar and Old Latin, which were made from the Greek. Ottley notes that Codex Vaticanus (B) “falls below its usual standard” and is “a worse representative of the LXX than usual,” being “inferior to other extant manuscripts.” Throughout these two volumes, then, he pursues “the question of securing the best available text.”

“Methods of Rendering” in the Introduction compares Septuagint Greek to New Testament Greek (finding “in it much resemblance”), yet Ottley also notes that Septuagint translators saught to keep “various Semitic idioms, and a dim reflection of Semitic arrangement and style.” These are not especially earth-shattering insights for the student of the Septuagint today, but Ottley does provide a helpful tour of the Greek grammar of Isaiah in introductory fashion. He also relates the Greek to the Hebrew it translated:

[The LXX translators] seem to have selected the aorist as the best equivalent for the Hebrew perfect, and the future for the Hebrew imperfect, and used them, when the context did not absolutely forbid, to represent rather than to translate these forms.

As far as differences between the Greek and the Hebrew, Ottley notes omissions, additions (scholars now, I believe, prefer to speak of “minuses” and “pluses,” since “omissions”/”additions” can prejudice the discussion), paraphrases, differences in syntax, and more. He includes a lengthy list of references in illustration of each kind of difference.

The rest of volume 1 is taken up with Ottley’s “Parallel Translations,” where he presents his English translations of the Hebrew and of the Greek side-by-side on different pages. Each page includes several translation footnotes.

Here is where the Logos edition becomes especially handy. Using the Text Comparison tool, I can easily see how Ottley’s English translation of the Greek compares with his English translation of the Hebrew, to get a feel for how the two underlying texts differ:

Ottley English translation comparison

Even with a free .pdf of the work available in the public domain, being able to use Logos’s tools to interact with the text makes it worth having.

Volume 2, then, contains Ottley’s own presentation of Greek Isaiah, with Codex Alexandrinus (A) as “the basis for the Greek text here printed.” As with the Göttingen edition of the Septuagint, Ottley has a critical apparatus at the bottom of the page that notes variants. His is not quite as exhaustive as Göttingen, but neither does it lack detail. In the print edition, following the Greek text are some nearly 300 pages of notes on Greek Isaiah.

And in Logos, one can view all of Ottley’s work on Isaiah at once, together with the Hebrew text and various lexicons (not included with this module). For reading Ottley’s Greek text of Isaiah, I have the Greek scrolling with the critical apparatus and the notes and translation, so that I can simultaneously see all that Ottley has about a given verse. As here:

Ottley in Logos

Note: in the image above I actually have the Göttingen text open, with Ottley right behind it in another tab. For reading through Isaiah, I like to still have a morphologically tagged text going; Ottley is not so tagged. But you can sync everything together so that you barely notice that.

It’s not impossible, of course, to flip back and forth between the pages of a print version, or to scroll back and forth through a free .pdf. But Ottley’s Book of Isaiah According to the Septuagint integrates seamlessly with the rest of Logos. And when reading his Handbook to the Septuagint, any verses or abbreviations are hyperlinked so that you can mouse over them as you read and pop-ups will display with the relevant information.

This three-volume set in Logos is very well done, and easily does things that neither a print copy nor a .pdf can do. Being able to see all of Ottley’s work on a single verse at a glance–as well as compare it with other LXX texts using the Text Comparison tool–is the true highlight of this resource.

The three volume Works of Richard R. Ottley in Logos can be found here. My thanks to Logos for the review copy, provided for the purposes of this review but not with any expectation as to its content. Ottley in Logos has also been a great help to me as the group administrator of Greek Isaiah in a Year.

Which Bible software program should I buy? Comparison of BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos

 

Which Bible software program should I buy? It’s an important question for the student of the Bible, especially if she or he is on a limited budget. Having now reviewed BibleWorks 9 (here), Accordance 10 (here) and Logos 4 (here) and now 5 (here), I want to compare the three programs and offer some suggestions for moving forward with Bible software.

There are some free programs available for download (E-Sword, for example), but my sense has been that if you want to have something in-depth, you’ll probably want to consider BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

If you’re in the market to buy Bible software, then, here’s how I recommend proceeding.

 

1. Think through why you want the Bible software.

 

I don’t mean in an existential sense; I mean: for what do you want to use Bible software? Personal Bible study? As a means to access electronic commentaries for sermon preparation? To do in-depth word studies in the original languages? To compare the Greek and the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament? For complex syntactical searches? To help generate graphics and handouts for a Sunday School class you teach? Some or all of the above?

Similarly, are there things you know you don’t need? Are you interested only in studying the Bible in English (or Spanish, or French…) but not necessarily in Greek and Hebrew? Are maps and graphics something you can easily access elsewhere? Is having a large library of electronic commentaries not a value?

I highlight these considerations because the answer to the question, “Which Bible software program should I buy?” is: It depends. It depends on why and for what you want Bible software. More on that below.

 

2. Explore BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos on their own merits.

 

Get a sense of what each can do by visiting their respective Websites (BibleWorks here, Accordance here, and Logos here). Look through those sites for videos which will let you see the programs in action. You can also look through the full reviews I’ve done of BibleWorks here, Accordance here, and Logos here (v.4) and here (just-released v. 5). In these reviews I look at multiple features and resources in each program.

BibleWorks is a PC program. You can run it on a Mac, though. This either requires a separate Windows license (= more $$), where it runs nicely in Parallels, etc., or you can use a “native” Mac version of it. The former option is costly and requires a lot of your Mac machine (though you get a fully-functinoing BibleWorks on a Mac that way). I can’t yet recommend the latter option, where it is in “Public Preview,” since the “native” Mac version looks only native to about two Mac operating systems ago… I expect BibleWorks will make improvements here, but I haven’t found BibleWorks on my Mac to be as functional as I’d like. It’s excellent on a PC, though.

Accordance is a Mac program. They have announced that they’ll introduce Accordance for Windows in 2013, and they have said that they are previewing that at SBL/AAR this week. (I understand that you can run Accordance on Windows now via an emulator, per the above link, but that it’s not 100% functional in the same way Accordance on Mac is.) Accordance is silky smooth–if I may call a Bible software program that. It is very Mac-like, which is a goal and priority of Accordance. Using it is truly enjoyable. Accordance also has an iOS app, which I haven’t used, as I do not own an iPhone, iPad, iOverbrain, etc. It looks like a stripped-down version of Accordance, but it’s free. If I had an iPhone, that would definitely be on there.

Logos works on PC and Macs. It’s also cloud-based, so that you can sync your work in Logos across computers, platforms, mobile devices, on the Internet using Biblia, and so on. Logos for the Mac feels fairly Mac-like, but not to the extent that Accordance does. However, being able to switch between a PC and a Mac in Logos and have everything sync via the cloud is a great feature. I noted in a Logos review recently how I was working in Logos 5 on a PC, then the next day opened Logos on my Mac to the exact same window I had just closed on a PC the day before.

 

3. Think about what your budget is.

 

You should actually probably do this before you check out the individual programs a whole lot–just to make sure you don’t end up spending money you don’t really have! Sometimes you’ll see a price tag associated with how much a base package would cost you if you bought all the resources in print. But this really doesn’t matter if you wouldn’t buy many of those resources in the first place (per point #1 above).

BibleWorks does not have packages, per se–it’s just the program and all its contents for $359. You can also purchase add-on modules in BibleWorks. Accordance has various collections (beginning with the basic Starter Collection at $49.99), which you can compare here. They sell various other products, as well. These base packages had been a little difficult to wade through and make sense of in Accordance 9, but the August release of Accordance 10 greatly simplified things. Logos also sells various base packages, starting at $294.95 retail price for their Starter package, and many other products. Note also that Accordance and Logos both offer discounts to academicians, ministers, etc.

 

4. Compare.

 

Keep firmly in mind the purposes for which you want Bible software as you read the below. But I will offer some general insights.

 
Speed

BibleWorks (PC) and Accordance (Mac) take the cake here. I wrote here about the sluggishness of Logos 4 for searching. That’s improved somewhat in Logos 5. Where BibleWorks stands out is in its Use tab, new in BibleWorks 9. Via the Use tab, you can instantaneously see all the uses of a given word in an open version just by hovering over that word. I’m not aware of anything comparable in Accordance or Logos, and it’s a mind-blowing feature. Accordance, however, returns search results as quickly as BibleWorks, and starts up faster. I continue to be impressed with the speed of both BibleWorks and Accordance. I’m glad for the improvements in Logos, but hope they’ll continue to improve search speed.

 
Package for the Price

Had I written this post six months ago, the no-brainer answer would be that BibleWorks is best. For $359 you get everything listed here.

Comparable in Accordance is the Original Languages Collection for $299 (full contents compared here). This collection six months ago was not really comparable to BibleWorks, but with the release of Accordance 10, Accordance significantly improved on and expanded what’s available in its Original Languages Collection. Someone wanting Bible software for detailed original languages work could get a lot of what they need in Accordance for under $300. However, it remains true that you get more in BibleWorks that you have to pay extra for in Accordance (like the Center for NT Textual Studies apparatus and images, Philo, Josephus, Church Fathers, the Tov-Polak MT-LXX Parallel, etc.). That’s true compared with Logos, too.

Logos 5 is a little more difficult for me to size up here. In Logos 4 there was an Original Languages Library for $400 or so that was at least comparable to BibleWorks and Accordance (and included the 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). Based just on package for the price, I still would have picked BibleWorks over Logos, but the release of Logos 5 has seen a restructuring of base packages that seems less than ideal for something like original language study. They do now have the Theological Lexicon of the OT and of the NT in the “Bronze” package, but the nearly $300 Logos Starter package doesn’t include the necessary and basic lexica for studying the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and the Greek New Testament.

This is where what you want out of a Bible software program should dictate which way you go. Are you a seminarian with a primary interest in original language exegesis, with a preference for commentaries in print? If so, I recommend Accordance on Mac or BibleWorks on PC. Accordance also has good commentaries as add-ons (not much here for BibleWorks), but Logos has a large amount of digitized books, and tends on the balance (though not always) to run cheaper than Accordance for the same modules. (The cheapest BDAG/HALOT lexicon bundle is in BibleWorks.) But the larger library in Logos is perhaps at the expense of program speed, so you’ll want to weigh options here. If you preach weekly and don’t make much reference to Greek and Hebrew, wanting extensive commentaries instead, Logos could be the way to go for you.

 
Customizability and Usability

Here I favor Accordance of the three. BibleWorks is probably the least configurable. There are four columns in BibleWorks 9, but you can’t move things around much, whereas in Accordance and Logos you can put tabs/zones/resources more or less where you want them. Logos is plenty customizable, but the Workspaces feature in Accordance sets it apart from Logos. In Accordance you can save distinct Workspaces and have multiple ones open at a time. You can save “Layouts” in Logos, but from all I can see, you can only have one layout open at once. This has often slowed my study. You can detach tabs into separate windows with Logos, but for working on multiple projects at once (e.g., an NT use of the OT Workspace, an LXX Workspace, a Hebrew OT Workspace, an English Bible Study workspace, etc.), Accordance is tops.

For the record, both for my graduate studies and message preparation, Accordance is the first program I have open. Part of this is due to the fact that I prefer to use a Mac. (Within the last year I bought a cheap PC laptop just so I could keep using BibleWorks, which is still excellent.) But the multiple Workspaces option makes Accordance great for easy day-to-day use across multiple kinds of tasks. It’s been interesting to watch myself mouse over to the Accordance icon in my dock on my Mac before either Logos or BibleWorks.

 
Support

This is probably a toss-up. I’ve had positive interactions with everyone I’ve contacted in BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos. All have active and helpful user forums. All offer help files and how-to videos. (BibleWorks has the most extensive set of videos.) I was surprised to see how many how-to videos and manuals you could buy from Logos, but many of these have been produced by approved third-parties. I don’t think you should have to pay more money to learn how to use a program you already paid for.

 
Note-taking

One thing I haven’t extensively reviewed is the note-taking features, which are available in BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos. I particularly appreciate being able to highlight passages (which then stay highlighted every time I open that resource) in resources in both Accordance and Logos. Logos has an easier one-keystroke shortcut to highlight selected text, but there’s a delay in doing so; Accordance is faster here. But back when I was using only BibleWorks, I was concerned about saving notes in a file format that wouldn’t be accessible across computers and platforms, so all my notes were always just in Word or TextEdit (.rtf). I’ve continued this practice as I’ve begun using Accordance and Logos, so that any writing I generate is not confined within a given program.

 

In sum…

 

So, which Bible software program should you buy? It depends on why you want Bible software and the uses you’ll have for it. If you’re looking to build and access a large digital library, no one denies that Logos is the leader in that regard. It is also only Logos that connects to the cloud to sync across multiple devices. If you’re looking to really delve into the original languages, though, and do complex and fast searches, Accordance for Mac and BibleWorks for PC are preferable. (Logos 5 has offered significant improvement from Logos 4 in working closely with original language texts, but the search speed still needs to be improved.) BibleWorks gets you the most bang for your buck by including as many resources, versions, lexica, grammars, etc. as it does, but the interface and customizability of Accordance makes the latter more enjoyable and a little easier to use.

When it comes to the BibleWorks vs. Accordance vs. Logos question, I think at bottom each is a solid software program and good decision. You can’t go badly wrong with any of them. In fact, I now use all three on an almost daily basis. (Thanks again to each software company for the review copies.) But insofar as potential users may not want to have to purchase or learn how to use all three programs, I hope the above reflections are of use.

 

Next time…

 

I will post one more time in the near future along these same lines. In particular I plan to compare Septuagint study across BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos. I’ve covered this in each of my individual reviews already, but I’ll look at the Tov-Polak MT-LXX Parallel database in particular in each of the three, so you can see in more detail how each software program handles the same basic resource. In that post I will also write about more complex search features in BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos, assessing how they compare.

(2015 UPDATE: That would-be blog post ended up as a published article in a journal of Septuagint studies. See more here.)

If you’ve made it this far (more than 2,000 words later), congratulations! Please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me if you are seriously considering Bible software and want to ask any questions about anything I’ve reviewed… or haven’t covered in my reviews.

January 2014 UPDATE: I have begun reviewing the Bible Study app from Olive Tree. You can see those reviews gathered here.

Logos 5 Review, now complete

For ease of reference, here are all the parts of my Logos 5 review, which is now complete. Stay tuned for a comparison of Logos 5 with BibleWorks 9 and Accordance 10. Here’s what I’ve put up regarding Logos 5:

Here are all the parts of my Logos 4 review, which could still be helpful for getting to know Logos 5.

UPDATE: Go here to see my comparative review of BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

UPDATE #2 (12/23/12): The above reviews are of the Silver base package, but here I take a look at the Gold base package in Logos 5.

Logos 5 minimal crossgrade available

The Logos 5 “minimal crossgrade” is now available. If you have Logos 4, you can upgrade to Logos 5 without having to purchase a large base package. This way you can still get “all the new Logos 5 features and data sets, plus a small collection of resources that equip you to use them.”

See my Logos 5 review here, here, and here.

Logos 5 Review: Further Impressions

Last week I posted some initial impressions of the just-released Logos 5. Having had a little more time with it now, here are some further impressions I have.

The Data Sets guide the user through resources nicely and can do some unique things.

The Logos 5 Data Sets are what most stand out to me on further use. Two in particular to note:

Bible Facts (People): this allows me to search by a referent and not just by the actual wording in the text. For example, by going to “Tools” from the home screen, then “Bible Facts,” I can type in “Jesus” to see not just where that word occurs in the text, but also where the text is referring to Jesus, whether by “he,” as “Christ,” “Son,” and so on. It’s a lovely and very impressive feature. Take a look, and click on the image to see larger:

Clause Search: Another you-have-to-use-it-to-believe-it feature. Here I can find (in less than a second) every time Paul is the subject of a clause, whether “Paul” occurs in the text or not. This means I can search on Paul in Acts, but also on the things Paul says about himself (using just “I” in the text) in his epistles. Or, I can search at the clause level for times when Jesus is the subject and his disciples are the object. As here:

Note that the first result is Matthew 5:2-3, where the words “Jesus” and “disciples” don’t even appear in the text (!) but the “he” refers to “Jesus” and “them” to his disciples. Of course, there is some interpretation at play here in the results. The disciples are the closest referent to “them” in the text, but Matthew 5:1 also mentions the crowds, who could also be what “them” refers back to. But the fact that the Clause Search can, in under a second, return these kinds of results is astounding. It’s searches like this that are why Logos markets itself as “powerful.”


The search speed of the program has improved (though is still not the fastest on the market).

Logos 5 is an overall faster program than Logos 4. (I use Logos primarily on a Mac.) The clause searches I’ve done, for example, have been lightning fast. But Logos is still not quite as fast at returning results for original language word searches as BibleWorks or Accordance. I wondered with Logos 4 whether this might be because Logos has a large library of resources. Whatever the reason, the multi-second waits for search results to come up are less common in 5 than in 4. Most of my searches have been showing results in a second or less, even the clause searches that I’d expect to take longer. Accordance and BibleWorks, however, give near instantaneous search results. Logos, with v. 5, is at last in the same ballpark with regard to speed.


The contents of the base packages have changed significantly. 

This does not affect previous Logos users necessarily, in that you always keep your Logos resources with you (for life). So if you upgrade to Logos 5 via a new base package, anything you had bought previously stays with you, even if it’s not in the new base package. For someone like me who primarily uses Bible software to study biblical languages, the Original Languages Library in Logos 4 was great (except, perhaps, for its lack of an English translation of the Septuagint). Even with its retail price under $500, that package still included the full 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), making it a good deal, and a great deal with the academic discount.

Now to have TDNT in a base package (if you don’t already own it), you have to buy the “Gold” package at a retail price of just over $1,500. The Silver package in Logos 5, that I received to review, includes the entire New American Commentary set, the full Pulpit Commentary set, the Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint (and the same to the Greek NT), several Greek and English Apostolic Fathers texts, the Theological Lexicon of the OT (and that of the NT), as well as many more resources for a retail price of about $1,000. I was particularly excited to see a new English translation of the Septuagint, coming from the Lexham suite by Logos. Users will simply have to weigh whether the included resources in a package justify its cost. The Silver package seems to be worth the price. (Though note that the fairly standard Rahlfs Septuagint text is not included in Silver; Swete’s text is.)

This video from Logos gives a good overview of what’s new in Logos 5, with special focus on the Data Sets:

See also my initial impressions of Logos 5 in an earlier review.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 5 with the Silver package, provided to me simply with the expectation that I offer my honest impressions of the program.

What’s new in Logos 5

This video from Logos shows what’s new in Logos 5. It mentions some of the same features I wrote about in my early review. Of special note, though, is the explanation of the Bible Sense Lexicon, new in Logos 5, beginning at 2:23. The Silver package I received for review does not have the Bible Sense Lexicon, but the Gold package and packages above Gold do have it.

More Logos-created videos introducing version 5 are here.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 5 with the Silver package, provided to me simply with the expectation that I offer my honest impressions of the program, which I began here.

Logos 5 Review: Initial Impressions

Logos 5 has arrived.

I started using Logos 4 two months ago for a review I finished last week. Now version 5 is released today. But 4 had been out several years, so v. 5 has been in the works for some time. Having had and used Logos 5 for a few days now, I want to offer an initial set of impressions by way of review.

As I installed Logos 5, it was nice to know that I’d have access to all of my same resources, layouts, and highlights in books from Logos 4 when version 5 downloaded. This is one of my favorite things about Logos, and a feature that sets it apart from other Bible software. Logos works best with Internet enabled; you use a log-in that works across multiple computers and devices. After using Logos on a Mac, yesterday I opened it on my PC, and it opened exactly as I had left it on the Mac–all the same windows opened to all the same pages, like I had never stopped working. This is an immense time saver and a great feature.

Knowing this made the thought of installing 5 in place of 4 easier to deal with. And, sure enough, when I opened Logos 5, even though I had a new Logos engine, all was as I had left it the last time I had used 4. The installation itself took 2.5 hours (on a machine with no Logos 4 on it at the time), with a long indexing process of some 5 hours or more to follow.

The icon in my dock for Logos 5 is the same as Logos 4 (unless this is still to be updated?)–I would have expected a change here to set apart the new product even more.

Logos has also changed the structuring of their base packages, so that I am reviewing something called “Silver,” a new combination of resources. There are, in fact, seven new base packages in Logos, as noted in their table below. The sale price is offered in conjunction with the new release.

Full Title Resource Count Print List Prices Retail Sale (15% off)
1 Starter 207 $3,500 $294.95 $250.71
2 Bronze 426 $8,000 $629.95 $535.46
3 Silver 699 $13,000 $999.95 $849.96
4 Gold 1,037 $21,000 $1,549.95 $1,317.46
5 Platinum 1,327 $28,700 $2,149.95 $1,827.46
6 Diamond 1,993 $52,500 $3,449.95 $2,932.46
7 Portfolio 2,563 $78,000 $4,979.95 $4,232.96

The Silver package is certainly an upgrade from the Original Languages Library I reviewed in Logos 4. The Silver package includes Swete’s Cambridge Septuagint, the entire New American Commentary series, a ton of preaching/illustration resources, and more. My library expanded significantly upon downloading Silver.

The default font changed (across resources) to a font I found less readable. It took me all of 30 seconds, though, to figure out how to go into preferences and change it back to a font called “Default (Logos 4).”

What’s new in Logos 5? The two most obvious changes are visible below (click image for larger). For one, the icons and command bar at top are joined by three additions: “Documents,” “Guides,” and “Tools.” This gives the user quicker access to more features and tasks in Logos.

The second big noticeable change is the addition of more “Guides” (it becomes obvious why it has its own place right next to the command bar). Note above the “Topic Guide,” Bibliography, and “Sermon Starter Guide.” (These join the Exegetical and Passage Guides.) The Bibliography is especially helpful to this occasional writer of academic papers, and can be adjusted to various styles.

Note also a neat customizable reading plan guide (below at bottom right, how I could read the Septuagint in a year) and a “Bible Word Study” (at top right) with graphic, among other results that come up.

I have mixed feelings about the additions of new Guides in Logos. Though my initial skepticism about the Exegetical and Passage Guides changed to appreciation the more I used them in Logos 4, it’s hard to know at this early stage of using Logos 5 whether these guides will prove helpful or just seem like clutter. The Sermon Guide holds promise, as it gathers resources in one place that would take time to compile by hand. However, the Exegetical and Passage Guides already do this, albeit with a slightly different focus.

The Bible Facts feature (new in Logos 5) is pretty cool, and could be useful in teaching settings. See here:

Whoever does graphic design at Logos is aces. Follow them on Facebook and you’ll see well-done graphics for verses each day. Bible Facts incorporates that. This is a good addition in Logos. It auto-suggests search terms and returns results quickly.

More about Logos 5, including full details of what’s new, can be found here, with some brand new videos here. I’ll provide an additional review installment once I’ve had chance to spend more time with the program.

UPDATE: A bit more from me on Logos 5 here.

UPDATE 2: A week later, further impressions on Logos 5.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 5 with the Silver package, provided to me simply with the expectation that I offer my honest impressions of the program.

My Logos 4 review: all six parts

Here, collected in one place, are all six parts of my review of the Bible software program Logos 4.

Part 1Logos 4 Review: Install and Initial Impressions

Part 2Logos 4 Review: The Septuagint

Part 3The Original Languages Library in Logos 4

Part 4Using the Exegetical Guide and Passage Guide in Logos 4

Part 5 (excursus)Logos 4: a quick note about a portable library

Part 6Searching in Logos Bible software (concluding part of my Logos 4 review)

UPDATEGo here to see my Logos 5 reviews.

UPDATE: Go here to see my comparative review of BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

Thanks again to Logos for the review copy of the Original Languages Library.

Searching in Logos Bible software (concluding part of my Logos 4 review)

I own a concordance, but it’s packed away in a box somewhere. Useful as a print concordance is, with sites like the NET Bible and Bible Gateway, not to mention various software programs available, I can do any word or phrase searching quickly at a computer.

This post will mark the completion of my multiple-part reviews of three major Bible software programs: BibleWorks 9, Accordance 10, and Logos 4. In this final part of my Logos review, I look at the searching features available in Logos. No print concordance necessary.

Here is the search function in action:

The above highlights four search categories: Basic, Bible, Morph, Syntax. A “Basic” search searches your library; “Bible” is just what it says it is. “Morph” can search according to a word’s inflection. “Syntax” can perform more complex grammatical searches.

There are multiple ways to search for and look up things in Logos. There’s a useful instructional video here with more information about how to do a “Basic Search” in Logos, i.e., search every resource in your library. And you can look here to watch a video that explains how to utilize the command bar on the home screen for searches.

You can also right click on a word in an open resource and search from where you are, looking it up in that resource, in all open resources, in your whole library, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised by the versatile ways one can search in Logos. The control+F search function is easy to use and remember–it’s how I search .pdfs and open Web pages already.

What was unpleasantly surprising, though, was how long some of the searches took. (Click below to enlarge.)

Nearly five seconds to return search results for a word. Granted, the above is the most frequently occurring word in the Hebrew Bible, but using different software I’ve been able to perform such a search significantly faster.

Lack of speed is perhaps the chief weakness in Logos. Part of this, I think, is because of one of its strengths, which is its massive library. Logos says, “The central metaphor Logos Bible Software is the universal digital library.” While this is a commendable project, and while the resources available in Logos are quite impressive (as I wrote here), it does seem to be at the expense of quickness of searches. Or perhaps it’s not just a library issue; it could be in the coding or some other.

Either way I hope future editions of Logos will improve upon search speed. This seems to be a vital need. I’ve had searches that turned up results faster than 5 seconds (a couple in under a second), but I also did a Bible search today that took more than 20 seconds to return results.

Once you have your search results, there are some fun ways to be able to manipulate and view the data. With a Septuagint search for ὅτι, I can view the results as a “Grid”:

as “Verses”:

as “Aligned”:

or as “Analysis”:

I have found the “Analysis” sorting the most helpful, since you can click on any of the column headers above and it re-sorts in the same way an Excel spreadsheet would.

A few concluding thoughts on Logos 4:

  • Their community forums are active and helpful
  • Your library, notes, highlighting, etc. all travel with you and update automatically wherever you use Logos, whether that’s on a Mac, a PC, an iPhone, or online
  • Great library–lots of resources (including some unique ones) available
  • The slowness at times of searches or just general moving around in the program is not great and can hinder productivity
  • It’s highly customizable with its tabs and resources; makes working on multiple things at once easy

One other thing to note is that Logos offers a good discount program.

For more on Logos, this promotional pdf is a helpful introduction. You can also visit logos.com.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I have been giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review (here, here, here, here, and here), which this installment concludes. Look in coming weeks to this blog for a comparison of Logos, BibleWorks, and Accordance.