As one of the cofounders of Logos, I’ve seen and experienced every turn in the road of Bible software over the past 22 years. People often ask me if my son Bob—Logos’ CEO—or I ever imagined that Logos would grow the way it has: Did we anticipate that so many people would use computers for Bible study? The answer is always “Yes,we did!” Yet, despite that intuition, our forecasting was far from perfect. While we had a strong sense that digital publishing would drive biblical studies, the consequences of a whole world gone digital were unforeseen. That mega-shift has brought Logos to another crossroad.
The disconnect—and its solution
In simple terms, Bob and I envisioned Logos Bible Software being a powerful and comprehensive suite of digital resources that would grow with the user. Our guide was how people engage tasks and interests in real life. Beginners use beginning materials, and experts use expert materials. We presumed that users would master the software as they grew, gradually exploring books and resources that were compatible with their own advancing level of education, study habits, and application skills. In that sense, people would never outgrow the software or the library. It was a neat, clean picture in our minds. In the real world, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. We failed to anticipate the now-transparent fact that education, study, and application skills often do not progress at the same rate as product and resource tool development. Continue Reading…
It began when I was cornered at a conference by a pair of seminary professors who marveled that we had neglected a Logos edition of Hastings’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. I went online and purchased a print edition and started to use it myself with great enjoyment. Since then I have placed this set on and off Pre-Pub a number of times without success—yet I keep trying.
It is one of the finest reference sets produced in the last century. It is still one of the most quoted reference sets in the field of religion and biblical studies to this day. Over the years, many scholars and professors have commented on the many articles in this series which are addressed in no other reference work. It is a popular goto series for our own writers and researchers.
Why won’t this set make it through Pre-Pub? One problem is that the series has always been a library resource. Not that many private copies were ever sold. With a retail value of nearly $800, it has been out of reach for all but the most ardent enthusiasts. Perhaps, together, we can bring this fine work within reach of everyone.
I know you are probably not interested in spending $800 for a collection you have never heard of, but maybe you would be interested at $20, $30, or $40. I know I would. Help us save this set for future generations. Take the opportunity to bid for this set for pennies on the dollar.
Community Pricing ensures you will never pay an amount higher than your bid and you may even win the opportunity to purchase at a lower price if enough people participate. The only way to lose out is to bid lower than the final price that covers production costs.
To speak of Camp Logos is to speak of Morris “Moe” Proctor. About thirteen years ago Moe called the office to speak to me. He said, “You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. I received a gift of Logos from a close friend. Since I have learned the program, I have been training other pastors to use Logos. I have made many sales for you of which you are unaware. I would like to speak with you about an official training relationship with Logos.”
It was the last call in the world that I expected that day.
Two years earlier I had conceived of a summer training course in the Pacific Northwest as an opportunity for us to meet and train some of our most enthusiastic users. The class would be conducted by programmers, sales people, and key users who volunteered to run workshops.
When the training course was held, it ended up being stressful but fun. We had a great time together, but there were mixed results for the various sessions. When Moe called I was still in the process of organizing the next summer event. Moe made an unexpected proposition. He suggested that he would come on his own and take over the entire teaching role for that summer’s Camp Logos. This would give us the opportunity to audition him, see him teach, and—if we were satisfied—endorse him as the official authorized Logos trainer.
You can guess how much confidence we had in our own presentation skills to instantly back down in favor of an absolute stranger who spoke with confidence on the phone. He sounded like he had it all worked out—and was ready to go. I figured he couldn’t be any worse than we were at teaching, and we would all be there anyway to provide technical correction for any misstatements he might make. To be honest, it was a relief not to be the teachers and there was always the possibility he really could teach well and advance the cause. It ended up being a huge educational experience for us.
Moe taught us our own software in a way we had never experienced before. He was amazing! He showed us the product through the eyes of a user, a preacher, and a teacher studying the biblical text. When he was done at the end of the second day, the entire room spontaneously gave him a standing ovation. This is something I had never witnessed before through college or seminary.
Moe has been the authorized Logos trainer for more than a dozen years. He has taught thousands around the world to get more out of their Bible study. I still attend Camp Logos two or three times a year and never fail to learn something new myself. He is a gifted teacher, but he is still just one person.
A while back I said to Moe, “You are doing an outstanding job, yet as a percentage, you are training less and less of our users every year. As the Logos user base continues to grow, it is getting impossible to keep up with the demand for training.” That was when we decided it was time to offer Camp Logos as a video course. I know it is not the same as a live class with live discussion, but it is the next best thing and you can go over each section at your own pace—as often as you want.
Camp Logos Live is a DVD-ROM that plays on your Mac or PC. Grab your laptop, put on Camp Logos Live, meet Moe, and enjoy learning how to get the most from Logos Bible Software.
Want to see Morris in action? Check out this video:
Preaching. When it’s great, you never want to go home. When it’s poor, your mind wanders and you day dream and suddenly develop keen insights into why so many people skip church.
I often ask, “Does your pastor preach well?” I often get the answer, “My pastor has a real heart for ministry and is a kind and compassionate person.”
This is good, but at the heart of the matter a preacher needs to be skilled at preaching. It is a New Testament prescribed method for building our faith by understanding God through his Word. Everybody knows that good preaching is a good idea, but few make it a priority.
I can think of no single thing that would have greater impact in the local church than absolutely great preaching during that single hour when the majority of the church members are present. With this in mind, I want to endorse Morris Proctor’s practical course on sermon preparation, the I-Beam of Message Building.
Whether you have been preaching for years and just need to revitalize your sermon prep or whether you want to be a better teacher, or perhaps you feel called to ministry but realize you will never be able to go back to school, this is the tool for you.
I would love to have been there when Alexander Graham Bell experienced his great “a-ha” moments. His first “a-ha” might have gone something like this, “Oh no. . . I gotta make two of these things!” Can you then picture Al showing off the first pair of telephones to friends and dignitaries who ask the questions, “Do you have to have two phones and a different set of wires for each person you speak to? Where are you going to run the wires? What do you mean, ‘switchboard’?”
Recently I was speaking with a friend who likened Logos Bible Software to the Amazon Kindle and the Sony e-Reader. His point was that we all represented similar abilities to read digital books. Our new iPhone app reinforced his analogy. I pointed out that his perspective was only true to a point. E-book readers have much in common with printed books: They are convenient, hand-held, self-contained, and portable. They are little more than a book that runs on batteries. They go beyond the printed book by serving as vending machines for additional books. But while they have some endearing features, they still only represent basic paper book utility: reading words on pages. With Logos Bible Software, reading words on pages is just the beginning.
Just as the utility of a telephone increases relative to the number of other telephones it is connected to, the value of each Logos book increases relative to the number of books and data sets it references. Logos books are worth more than 100% of the paper book utility. The quantity and quality of explicitly “tagged” links along with word, phrase, topic, and reference links and the sheer size of the Logos Bible Software formatted book count create a network effect dramatically superior to the utility of any individual or collection of stand-alone digital books. Stand-alone digital books are the raw ingredients of Logos Bible Software, not the end product.
A commentary linked to a Bible, linked to a dictionary, linked to an atlas, linked to each of the other books in the library offers a multiplier network effect to the value of every single book. Every combination of books is greater than the sum of the books. The network effect is seen clearly in telephones, radio, TV, Facebook, the human genome, and yes, Logos Bible Software.
Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2). . . . Metcalfe’s law characterizes many of the network effects of communication technologies and networks such as the Internet, social networking, and the World Wide Web.
And I would suggest it also applies to linked books in the Logos Bible Software.
Let x equal the value of one book. Linked together in a network,
Two books = 4x
Three books = 9x
Four books = 16x
A thousand–volume Logos Bible Software Library has the utility of a million stand-alone resources and the convenience of your desktop, laptop, or your iPhone/iPad!
Today’s guest blogger is Dale Pritchett, vice president of sales and marketing for Logos. Aaarg! Captain Moe, you didn’t mention that it rains in Alaska.
While the rest of the country experienced record heat, Captain Moe and the crew of the first floating Camp Logos sailed north, one mouse click at a time, through rain, fog, and cold seas. What a great time we had. Nearly eighty people participated. The camp was both longer and more personal than a normal Camp Logos. Confined to a ship, everybody enjoyed the opportunity to share meals and to get to know each other better and the evening informal discussions were great. Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed spending our time with real Logos users. We also got a lot of great ideas and suggestions for future versions of Logos.
We can’t wait to do it again and we will! Moe is already arranging another cruise. Details will be announced soon. I understand the next cruise will be to the Caribbean.
While the weather was challenging, it did nothing to dampen spirits. It was a real time of refreshment and encouragement for us all. Moe says there will be two hundred people on the next cruise. Let’s take over the whole boat and close the casino! Maybe someday we will.
Our guest blogger today is Dale Pritchett, co-founder of Logos Bible Software. And my father. But not in that order.
When I got back from the SBL meeting in Philadelphia I had this sense that Logos Bible Software had changed in some substantial but indefinable way. The demonstrations and conversations were of a different nature than the past. We have always demonstrated new titles and new features at conferences but yet somehow this year felt very different. As more and more people asked about my experience at the conference I began to sense why this conference was different. We at Logos had taken our first “space walk”.
Logos Bible Software has changed a lot over the years but it has always followed a simple formula of better and better computer enhancement of familiar manual tasks. You work with a paper library, you work with a digital library; familiar tasks refined and enhanced through innovative software. And now there is Logos Bible Software 3.0 and suddenly it is like “Star Trek” going where no man has gone before. It is like the first time man walked in space. There was no earthbound walking experience with which it could be compared. Space walking is a whole new experience with its own rules, equipment, challenges and rewards. This is the analogy I was looking for. Logos Bible Software 3.0 is like your first space walk.
For the first time, the software is not mimicking a manual process. There is no print-based equivalent to our new syntactical databases. There is no published printed edition of a Greek, Hebrew or English text with every clause identified and tagged. There are no preachers, teachers or Bible students searching for “functional” relationships as opposed to “form or morphological” tags. We have never had the ability to look up in a book, or for that matter, a Bible software program, the answer to the question, “Who or what is the object of God’s love?” Not only is such a functional search now possible, the results, though derived in the original languages, may be displayed in English as well as Greek and Hebrew. The amazing thing to me is that the most complex linguistic functionality that has ever been featured in Bible software will have immediate practical value to the English Bible student through the use of reverse interlinear Bibles which allow Greek and Hebrew search results to be accurately displayed in English, Spanish or any Bible for which we have a reverse interlinear edition.
This is a space walk.
The challenge ahead will be to describe the new features in Logos Bible Software 3.0 without the comforting analogies to manual systems. In trying to explain syntactical data bases to a user the other day I suggested that viewing syntax was like seeing the Bible in sentence diagrams with exposed subjects, verbs, objects, indirect objects, etc. Searching syntax would be like having the ability to circle a section of the diagram and look for other matching structures with or without the words attached to the diagram. That’s my best attempt so far in describing the concept. I will keep looking for analogies that help. This is the problem of space walking.