Logos Bible Software: The Master Plan

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Almost 20 years ago we started Logos Bible Software with the idea of building a tool to help people study the Bible. Over the years Logos has grown from two programmers in a basement with one idea to 200 people offering 10,000 resources for Bible study.

As you can imagine, our mission has changed along the way, too. Today it reads:

To help more people do more and better Bible study.

Okay, so the mission hasn’t changed much; we added some adjectives. We have spent a lot of time on the plan of execution, though, and I thought I should share it with you so you can understand what we’re doing, what we’re going to be doing, and why.

First, the fundamentals:

Logos is all about Bible study. We’ve released software, a paper magazine, and video training materials. We host a conference. We’re on multiple technology platforms. We’re on the desktop and on the web. How does everything fit together? It’s all about Bible study.

Logos leverages technology. We choose projects that leverage our technology expertise. Even if a project isn’t software, you can be sure our decision to do it was based on leveraging technology. Of course technology isn’t essential to Bible study; it’s just our particular skill, and a place where we can serve well. We’re following centuries of non-technology-based Bible study tools, and many organizations serve that need well already.

Logos harnesses the network effect. Each e-book we add to our system is extensively tagged and linked to all the others. The scholarly translations and databases we build are both made with and delivered inside our software; the books and articles we commission build on content we offer and help users go deeper with our tools.

Logos is easy. The real work of Bible study is inside the student. We just provide tools and resources, so we need to focus on equipping without obstructing. The easier we make it to get into Bible study, the more people we can encourage to do it. The easier the tools, the more likely people can do better study. Easy means excellent user interface. Easy means elegant design that engages the student. Easy means fantastic customer service so a technical problem or misunderstanding doesn’t get in the way of getting into the Word.

Now, the plan:

Access. An internal joke at Logos goes “If it isn’t in the Passage Guide, it doesn’t exist,” because resources aren’t useful if you can’t find them. Logos Bible Software makes it easy to access the resources in your library when and where you need them. Our “one license, any platform” philosophy means you can access your content on Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, smart phone, and the web. We plan to offer even more interfaces in the future. We are planning task-specific mobile applications that connect to your library and web sites tailored to specific data sets.

Your Logos.com account will let you access your content (and documents you create) wherever you are, with whatever interface you need.

Content. We are planning more content for Bible study. Our scholarly translations and databases already make it easier to study the Bible in Greek and Hebrew; our visual resources are an aid in understanding and teaching others. Behind the scenes, we are building metadata that links content together and improves discoverability. An extensive set of tools lets you create your own content, too, ranging from notes to highlights to sentence diagrams. Synchronization with your Logos.com account connects your content to you, not a specific device.

Community. We study, learn, teach, and share in community with others. We are planning new ways to connect with others around Bible study. We will have ways to collaborate on documents, aids to studying in a group, and tools that help you share the fruit of your study with others. You will be able to link your Logos.com account to multiple groups and choose what you share with the communities important to you. And because we know that Logos Bible Software is itself part of a larger community, we plan new ways to connect our tools with the work of others.

Access, content, and community are interwoven; each both enables and is enabled by the other two. The connection point is your Logos.com account. Already this single login manages your content on multiple platforms and identifies you in communities like the Logos Forums and Sermons.Logos.com. In the future it will be even more valuable. (Is your profile filled in?)

How will this master plan be manifested?

That’s the exciting part: we are going to find out together.

We have some ideas, though, and you can see them starting to come together.

Books.Logos.com shows a content-specific search interface for scanned books from a seminary library. (We plan to link Logos Bible Software 4 to this site in the future.)

Sermons.Logos.com shows how community-created content can be shared with new users on the Internet and (through a section in the Passage Guide) inside Logos Bible Software.

Biblia.com is an alternate interface to most of the content in your digital library that is easy to use over the web. For some users it may be all they need for simple Bible reading; for others it’s a way to check a book when they aren’t at their own computer.

Topics.Logos.com exposes the Logos Controlled Vocabulary to everyone, and lets users contribute web links and share reading lists that will automatically show up in Logos 4.

Almanac.Logos.com lets our community of users search and edit a growing database of information on the Christian world (particularly seminaries, at this point). This database provides a platform for connecting users by school, organization, denomination, and area of interest.

Api.Biblia.com offers the power of Logos Bible Software to other web sites, enabling mashups and creative ideas we never imagined.

And we’re not done. There are new projects coming, and we are experimenting and learning as we go. We need to hear from you about what you need, and your ideas about how we can serve and connect more people who want – who need! – to study the Bible.

I am excited about our “master plan,” and thrilled that we get to play this small part in The Master’s Plan. Thanks for sharing in it with us!

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17 Responses to “Logos Bible Software: The Master Plan”

  1. Robert July 29, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    Wow….!
    this is very exciting Logos!
    You are a company set apart for sure…

  2. tcblack July 29, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    Too bad my Logos.com account isn’t joined to the blog. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing the vision and plan Bob. I love where Logos is going, and I can’t tell you how many times God has used some feature of Logos to teach me. That’s what it’s all about.

  3. Tom in KC July 29, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    I teach inductive study method and one thing I really need is the ability to print my personal notes and comments. I look a lot at structure and how books are put together – I make comments (I’ve even developed my own highlighting scheme related to literary structural laws) and would like to be able to print those comments and highlights along with the text they describe. I’ve heard you are working on a print function – hope it’s true and hope it’s soon.
    Blessings and thanks!

  4. Jeff July 29, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    I see no mention of library.logos.com. Is that no longer part of your plans?

  5. Steve Maling July 29, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    Thank you, Bob, for sharing “The Master/Master’s Plan” with us. As you know far better than I, folks around the world are offering thanks and praying for continued strength, health, imagination, and wisdom for you and the rest of the far-flung Logos team.
    Grace, mercy, and peace,
    Steve

  6. Erhardt July 29, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    I am just a beginner, my first few months on Logos as a casual user. One of the main reasons that I bought Logos (instead of sticking with free internet options) was because I was hoping that you guys have developed (or will soon develop) a feature for seeing the underlying greek/hebrew … and then COMPILING a list of verses out of the ENTIRE BIBLE that use that same word/phrase in the original text. (And not just having the verses be listed, but compiled in readable form as well.) All with a few clicks.
    It would be nice to “see” the underlying Greek in whatever translation we are using…

  7. David Cortes-Fuentes July 29, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    This is fantastic. I am always happy with what Logos is doing and exited about where Logos is going.

  8. John Sheeley July 29, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Love these tools!

  9. Eric Fary July 29, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I like it. Excited about the new suff coming. Already like the Bibia aspect. Any computer with web access. Wow!!

  10. Ken Shawver July 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Awesome Bob. Thanks for sharing the plan to leverage Bible study to a whole new level. The work that has been done so far on L4 is terrific…having to learn to be more disciplined to stay on task because of all of the capabilities of L4.
    I greatly appreciate what Logos has accomplished to help people like me that love to study God’s Word deeper and more thoughtfully than ever before.
    Thanks again to your leadership and sterring Logos in such a great direction.

  11. Norm July 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    For Erhardt
    The “wish” You have described is exactly what the Logos 4.0 Word Study Guide does. Watch the video titled “Bible Word Study” at this link http://www.logos.com/videos
    and see if that isn’t what you are looking for.
    Norm Eddy

  12. Bruce July 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    All this is intriguing, but something else I’d really love to see is Logos gift certificates!

  13. Milford Charles Murray July 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Thank you, Bob!
    You have done well. I believe with all my heart that Jesus regards you as a “good and faithful servant”! *smile*
    Just want you to know that I frequently have you – your whole team – your mission – in my prayers, thanking and rejoicing in our Gracious God and Father – and asking Him for continued success and prosperity for the Logos “Mission”!
    Yours in Christ,
    …….. Mel

  14. Dave July 30, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    Erhardt,
    You can! Right click on the word you’re interested in, then look down the list and click “lemma”. Then, to the left, click “Search this resource.” This will compile a list of verses of every place in the English Bible where that Greek or Hebrew word is used. This list can be saved as a Passage list and will soon be able to be printed (printing is in Beta testing right now).

  15. David McKay July 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    The idea of accessing Logos content on iPhone sounds good, but in Australia our downloads are very restricted currently. The allowable download limit for the month would get chewed up very quickly if we were able to even access our books on our mobiles.

  16. Jim Thomson August 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    This is great.
    I noticed that this article said that there was an app for smart phones. Which ones?

  17. Steve Tinsley August 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Is Logos working in other languages? I don’t need it but am wondering if the great benefits of Logos could someday be made available to our brothers and sisters who speak other languages