BibleWorks Announces Closing

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Image via BibleWorks.com

 

I was surprised and saddened to receive an email the other day announcing that BibleWorks is closing:

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!

Accordance 12 is Coming….

Image from http://www.accordancefiles1.com/exchange/graphics.htm
Image from http://www.accordancefiles1.com/exchange/graphics.htm (not an Accordance 12 image)

 

From David Lang at the Accordance blog:

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.

Read more here.

Logos 7: Review, Screenshots, Video

Image via Logos
Image via Logos

 

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”.

 

Logos 7 Interactives
Logos 7 Interactives

 

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.

 

In Conclusion

 

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. 🙂

A Smooth Note-Taking Workflow for Drafts 4 and Logos in iOS

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.

 

1. Open up Logos in iOS.

 

Here’s Hoehner’s lovely commentary.

 

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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.

 

IMG_0384

 

3. Select Drafts in the share option.

 

IMG_0385

 

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. (!)

 

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If you do Prepend or Append, Drafts comes up to let you choose where to put your text.

 

IMG_0387

 

5. When you’re done repeating this process for as much text as you want to copy, you can merge individual drafts, if needed.

 

IMG_0388

 

IMG_0389

 

IMG_0389

 

You can even choose your own text or symbol to separate merged drafts:

 

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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.

Not to Shill, But… (Last Day of Logos Bible Software Discount)

Logos 6 Gold

 

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.

15% Off All Logos 6 Base Packages

Logos 6 Gold

 

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.

6 Most-Visited Posts at Words on the Word

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.

6. First Look at Logos 6: New Features and Screenshots

5. How to Read and Understand the Göttingen Septuagint: A Short Primer, part 1

4. Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone about him?

3. Review of Sony SRS-BTS50 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

(I’ve got a review of Logitech’s new BOOM 2 coming soon….)

2. Bonhoeffer’s Last Words, Before He Was Hanged (70 Years Ago Today)

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

(This review is three years old, and could be updated to include the new versions of all three, but many of the comments still hold.)

More anon….