BibleWorks has been serving the church for 26 years by providing a suite of professional tools aimed at enabling students of the Word to “rightly divide the word of truth”. But it has become increasingly apparent over the last few years that the need for our services has diminished to the point where we believe the Lord would have us use our gifts in other ways. Accordingly as of June 15, 2018 BibleWorks will cease operation as a provider of Bible software tools. We make this announcement with sadness, but also with gratitude to God and thankfulness to a multitude of faithful users who have stayed with us for a large part of their adult lives. We know that you will have many questions going forward and we will do our best to answer some of them here.
The use of Bible software has been integral to my sermon preparation and teaching and small group leading these last five years. BibleWorks was my first foray into Bible software and always will hold a special place in my heart. One of my very first blog posts was this one on BibleWorks and the Septuagint, followed by a post called “BibleWorks in the Pew?” That led to a six-part review of BibleWorks 9, followed by some posts on BibleWorks 10, the 2015 and most recent release. From there I reviewed Accordance and Logos, culminating in this 2012 comparative review, which is by far the most-visited post at this blog.
The BibleWorks transition to Mac has been a little bumpy, so I haven’t used it nearly as much in the last couple years, although I still remember buying a used PC laptop for the sole purpose of having a machine to run BibleWorks on!
In the meantime, BibleWorks 10 is set to receive support for existing users for the foreseeable future, and until June 15, you can purchase it at $199, by far the lowest price the program has ever been.
There is some ambiguity remaining with the program’s future, although founder Michael Bushell has since elaborated on a forum post here. It looks like either open-sourcing BibleWorks or selling it are not on the table.
BibleWorks has been a big part of my ongoing journey through the Bible via Hebrew and Greek, so like many others, I am sad to see it close. Thanks be to God and to the staff for the many years of ministry and good programming BibleWorks has offered!
Pssssttt! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. We’ve been hard at work on Accordance 12, a major upgrade to the Accordance application with a host of new features you’ll soon be wondering how you ever got along without. We’re not ready to tell you about the big stuff just yet, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the many minor enhancements you can look forward to in version 12.
Bible software nerds, rejoice! Today Logos 7 comes into the world.
I’ve been using Logos (alongside Accordance and BibleWorks) since Logos 4. There hasn’t been a major interface overhaul since that version, but Logos has been steadily adding loads of features since then.
From a few weeks of beta testing, I offer here my initial impressions of Logos 7, as well as a look at its features in action.
Here’s the best of what’s new in Logos 7.
1. Interactives (Again)
The Interactives were my favorite feature in Logos 6. The addition of more Interactives makes it the part I most like about Logos 7.
Here is a screenshot of all the Interactives, which you can pull up from your library with the search: “type:interactive”.
Some of those were in Logos 6, like the Bible Outline Browser, which shows you all the Bible text outlines you have in your library for the passage you’re considering.
The Hebrew Cantillations Interactive in Logos 7 has seen improvement since its release in Logos 6 (it wasn’t ready for prime time initially):
Logos 7 adds the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer, which students of the Göttingen editions will especially appreciate:
We’ve cataloged information about Septuagint manuscripts, including contents, date, language, holding institute, and more. With this interactive, discover the earliest Septuagint manuscripts see how many contain the book of Psalms, and even view scanned images of many fragments, like Codex Sinaiticus.
My most used Interactive at the moment is the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. I would have made great use of it when I took a seminary course by that name. There are lots of ways to get access to what OT passages the NT is using (commentaries, Bible text footnotes, words searches), but this Interactive consolidates and sorts the data in a highly convenient way.
You can sort by allusion, quotation, echo, and citation. I always thought allusion and echo were more or less the same—though the use of terminology is itself at issue in the field! At any rate, the authors of the Interactive define their terms:
• Citation: An explicit reference to scripture with a citation formula (e.g. “It is written,” or “the Lord says,” or “the prophet says”).
• Quotation: A direct reference to scripture, largely matching the verbatim wording of the source but without a quotation formula
• Allusion: An indirect but intentional reference to scripture, likely intended to invoke memory of the scripture.
• Echo: A verbal parallel evokes or recalls a scripture (or series of scriptures) to the reader, but likely without authorial intention to reproduce exact words.
This Interactive probably deserves its own post. You can change what versions it displays, and even set it so that the English NT and OT passages are displaying alongside Greek (NT) and Greek and Hebrew (OT). (Getting this part set up was not really intuitive to me.) You can even hover over Greek and it cross-highlights the corresponding English, and vice versa:
If software programs had Pulitzers, the NT Use of the OT should win one for best feature. Here’s what it looks like, including the sidebar, which allows you to focus your study using a ton of criteria. You could easily find, for example, all the times Matthew cites or alludes to an OT passage with Jesus in mind.
2. Sermon Editor
I have worked hard to get a sermon writing workflow I really like. (Detailed article at CTPastors.com forthcoming!) So I doubt I will use the new Sermon Editor much, but it looks pretty awesome, if you want to use Logos for sermon writing. In the image below, the Sermon Starter Guide (introduced in Logos 5) is next to the Sermon Editor.
Not only does the Sermon Editor offer rich text writing and multiple Export options, if you mark your Headers, it automatically generates a Powerpoint slide show for your text. It’s also got a Handout option, which allows you to easily generate a one-pager to accompany your sermon, as well as to automatically set up a handout with blanks to fill in.
AND… if you type in a Scripture reference, the Sermon Editor automatically creates a slide with the text of that Scripture, even fitting text to multiple slides if necessary. Watch:
You can also save a step and have the slides auto-generate with just a keyboard shortcut, after typing in the reference. Amazing.
3. QuickStart Layouts
This is not a ground-breaking feature, per se, but it is a time-saving addition. Now the Layouts option in the Logos toolbar offers access to “QuickStart” saved layouts that get a user up and running for various tasks.
The Greek Word Study layout, for example, is nicely executed:
4. Systematic Theologies in the Passage Guide
The Passage Guide has been around a while, but Logos keeps adding to it. Logos 7 features a Systematic Theologies guide, an admittedly subjective but still helpful aggregator of theology resources in your library, keyed to the verse you’re studying. You can sort it by theology subject (Christology, pneumatology, etc.) or by denomination.
5. Everything Is (Still) Hyperlinked
The hyperlinking seems to have improved since I was last using Logos regularly when Logos 6 launched. (Only now with a recent laptop upgrade does Logos run well on my Mac.) Of course the Scripture verses are hyperlinked, but commentaries are also hyperlinked to previous sections they mention. As here:
Improvements That Weren’t
Logos 7 is cutting-edge software, impressive in its innovation and a huge time saver from a task standpoint. The designers and developers clearly created it with real users in mind.
However, even on a new and higher-end Mac, Logos 7 is system resource intensive. It’s a CPU hog, a battery drain, and uses significant energy.
I can always tell if I have Logos open on my laptop because the computer is almost always warm when it is—and almost never warm with any other combination of apps open.
This has been my (and others’) enduring criticism of Logos since at least Logos 4, and I continue to fail to understand why program sluggishness is not Code Red at Faithlife HQ. My slightly educated opinion is that Faithlife (makers of Logos) is “going for more” instead of “sticking to the core” (to quote a Harvard Business Review article). Lots of spin-off apps and ideas and focus on marketing and shipping frequent feature updates have hindered development of the core product—at least where speed is concerned. Wanting to get at the info in the Passage Guide, for instance, can be an exercise in patience (and frustration):
Logos 7 is far more responsive and fast in searching on my newer Mac machine than it was on my previous MacBook (a 2008!). Though, for that matter, both Accordance and BibleWorks ran fast on the 2008—one shouldn’t have to buy a new machine to use Logos well, though I don’t think that stops some users from doing it, especially when they feel they’ve invested a lot of money in building their library.
Speed and massive CPU usage and battery drainage are the Achilles’ Heel of Logos Bible software. I hope—for their sake and for the sake of their user base—that they shift their development focus back to whatever they need to do with the code to ensure a speedier user experience. The developers I’ve interacted with on the forums seem great—it appears to be an issue of larger company focus and resources.
It’s often not slow. (Though it’s always a CPU and battery drain.) For the couple of hours that I use Logos for sermon prep, I can search and open and highlight individual resources with ease. The feature set and Interactives are innovative and cut out unneeded research steps for users. The app itself is powerful, and does a good job of getting users into even larger libraries to cull the most relevant information for tasks at hand. Their accompanying iOS app is really good, too. Users should just be ready–even with the new Logos 7–to check email while they wait for a Passage Guide or Sermon Starter Guide to return results.
If you’re a happy Logos 6 or 5 user, should you upgrade? Definitely. The so-called data sets and features in Logos 7 are a significant step up. If you are on Windows or if your Mac is handling Logos fine and you want to keep using it, Logos 7 is a creative step in a good direction.
Never used Logos and trying to decide if you should get it? (Especially with other Bible software options available?) Then ask away in the comments below, and I’ll respond there.
Logos 7 launches with a 15% off discount. If you go to Words on the Word’s landing page, you get the discount, and the blog gets a small commission if it’s a first-time purchase. The landing page also includes links to more information about Logos 7.
Thanks to Logos for the chance to beta test and review. I received early access to Logos 7 as well as a package of library resources to test, for the purposes of this review. That did not, however, influence my objectivity…as I expect is clear. 🙂
I’ve got a sweet Logos–>Drafts 4 workflow I’ve been using on the iPad for a few months now. (I find Logos’s iOS app to be significantly zippier than its Mac counterpart.) Allow me to demonstrate, using Harold W. Hoehner’s excellent Ephesians commentary.
2. Tap selected text to bring up highlighting and share options.
I’ve got Drafts open with Logos in Split View, just so you can see them together. All these steps work with Drafts not visible, however.
3. Select Drafts in the share option.
4. Now you can “Capture” to send the selected text right to Drafts OR prepend (add to the beginning) or append (add to the end) to an existing draft. (!)
If you do Prepend or Append, Drafts comes up to let you choose where to put your text.
5. When you’re done repeating this process for as much text as you want to copy, you can merge individual drafts, if needed.
You can even choose your own text or symbol to separate merged drafts:
From here it’s easy export from a single draft to Ulysses or MindNode, and on goes my sermon preparation! Drafts4 has been the most indispensable app in my attempt to do as much sermon preparation as possible on the iPad.
Thanks to Logos for the Hoehner commentary so I could write up the workflow–review of the commentary itself to follow. The Logos mobile apps are free, available here: iOS / Google Play.
I have mixed feelings about Logos marketing–some criticisms expressed here–but I still do, at least for now, participate in an affiliate program of theirs. This helps, among other things, to pay for some of this blog’s minimal expenses and has even in the past funded seminary coursework.
I have no intention to shill, but I do want to share for interested readers that the rate of 15% off any base package in Logos is changing as of tomorrow (12:00 a.m. PST) to 10% off. So if you’re thinking of upgrading, you can do it for cheaper today than tomorrow. If you don’t have money to do it, don’t sweat, pour yourself a cup of tea, and read this post instead. If you do purchase, Logos feeds a percentage of the purchase back to me. If you’re interested, you just order a base package (new or upgrade) through this Logos landing page.
Or use the promo code ABRAMKJ6 when you check out with a base package in your Logos cart. My review of Logos 6 is here.
I haven’t posted about this in a while, but you can get 15% off any base package in Logos 6 through Words on the Word. If you order a base package through this Logos landing page, Logos feeds a percentage back to me, which I use to support the work of Words on the Word. So if you’re going to buy a base package anyway…
…check it out here, or just use the promo code ABRAMKJ6 when you check out with a base package in your Logos cart. My review of Logos 6 is here.
It’s been a quiet week at Words on the Word. Don’t worry–I’ve been working on some future posts, not the least of which is a review of the new Caspian record. In the meantime, just for fun, here are the top six posts that keep people coming back to the blog, based on traffic, in increasing order.
The Leningrad Codex is the basis for the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), the critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. Leningrad is the earliest complete Masoretic manuscript still available to us, dating from the 11th century. BHS is what’s called a diplomatic edition–it uses Leningrad as the best available text with a critical apparatus at bottom.
Images of Codex Leningradensis, as it is also known, are available freely online. (See here, for example.) But users of Bible software still have hoped for something more integrated and easier to use than a .pdf.
BibleWorks 10 offers Leningrad images, fully integrated with the rest of the software’s texts. There are even verse markers so you know where you are in the manuscript. You can toggle verse markers off if you want to read through with no help.
Here’s what it looks like:
You can see in the image above that I can view the Leningrad Codex (with verse markers) in tandem with BibleWorks’s Search Window (far left), Browse Window (second from left and showing multiple versions of my choosing), and Analysis Window (second from right, here featuring lexical data that automatically appears as I hover over words in the Browse window).
It’s possible to zoom in and out of the image at far right to get a closer look at the manuscript detail if you desire. Or you can open it in its own window, like so:
Now you can navigate the Leningrad Codex using the sidebar at left.
One other really cool feature–by hovering over the verse reference in the codex, you bring up a pop-up window showing you multiple versions:
Very impressive. Note, too, the nifty blue and yellow color scheme in the image above.
My only critique of this new, flagship feature (which is executed really well) is that there’s not a keyboard shortcut to zoom in and out of the codex images. You have to right-click, then navigate through the contextual menu for the zoom percentage you want, then select it. Somewhat making up for this, however, is the ability to simply click-hold and drag your way through the images.
Check out a short video of the codex in BW10 here:
BibleWorks 9 took a huge leap forward in offerings of Greek manuscripts:
Now BibleWorks 10 starts to bring the program’s Hebrew offerings to parity with the Greek. There is still much more by way of Greek MSS in BW10 (might we hope for the Aleppo Codex in BW11?). But BibleWorks is the first software to offer the images of Leningrad to its users. A big step forward to readers and students of Hebrew.
I received a free upgrade to BibleWorks 10 for the purposes of offering an unbiased review. See my other BibleWorks posts here. You can order the full program here or upgrade here. It’s on Amazon, too.
Right now you can find the Dietrich BonhoefferWorks, English Edition (DBWE, 16 volumes) for just $99.99 in Olive Tree Bible software. A few more Bonhoeffer items are also listed at their sale here.
Olive Tree’s iOS and desktop apps are free, so if you like Bonhoeffer and have the cash, this is probably the best price for his complete works in English that one will ever find. (It does not yet include the just-released-in-print Volume 17.)
This post has gone too far in trying to convince people to override their objections to spend more:
2. I already have enough books.
Even if you think you’ll never read through everything in your library, adding more books will make it more powerful and increase the value of the books you already own.
In other words, “If you buy more books to search, you’ll have more books to search.”
Dear friends at Logos, do we not already succumb enough to an insufficiency mentality in the world? I don’t have enough. I need to have more. My Bible study and teaching prep is good, but if I just had that one more commentary series, life would be awesome!
I’m as guilty of this mentality as anyone (probably more so)–and I want to fight it. Bible software marketing copy that taps into the culturally-rooted materialism that Christians are supposed to stand against? Not okay.
One other “reason” gave me pause:
4. I can’t afford a new base package.
If a base package isn’t in your budget right now, you have a couple of options.
You can take advantage of interest-free payment plans and spread out the cost over up to 24 months. That means you only pay a fraction up front, pay for the rest over time, and start using your new software right away.
Let me help with the rewrite:
If a base package isn’t in your budget right now, you have one option: don’t buy one right now.
“Our mission is to serve the church,” you say. How does enabling and even encouraging churchgoers and pastors to take on new debt serve the church?
I think it’s time for some serious evaluation of the sort of marketing mantras that (however unintentionally) undermine Kingdom values of sufficiency and wise financial stewardship and promote instead the harmful values of incessant accumulation and overspending.
Saying, “What I have is enough,” and curbing credit-card-style overspending are actually two excellent reasons not to upgrade to Logos 6.
UPDATE: The “6 Reasons” email I received from Logos had no author’s name on it. I didn’t see an author’s name on the blog version of the post, either, until just before this post was about to go live. I direct my critique, though, to Logos as a whole, since the individual post is emblematic of Logos’s marketing approach in general.