Sir, I can’t accept that donation; please put your money away!

This summer I travelled the country for a month or so in our 37-foot “Bible billboard” with Kendell from the Ministry Relations department. As you can imagine, it is hard to miss a massive blob of fluorescent green that’s 37 feet long and 12 feet high with “Bible Study” written all over it, so it is no surprise when people walk up and start a conversation.


One Sunday when we were attending services at John Piper’s church, a member of the congregation walked up to us with his checkbook in hand and offered to donate to our ministry. I spent five minutes trying to convince him that I could not take his money, and even if he sent us a check we wouldn’t have anything to do with it. We simply don’t take contributions.
In the last fifteen years or so, this conversation has been replayed many times over. We continue to get calls or letters from individuals that want to make a donation and we explain we don’t take donations, don’t want their money, and encourage them to give to a worthy ministry elsewhere.
As you can imagine, the flip side of the contribution question comes up regularly here as well. While there are many people that want to donate money to us, there are many more that want us to donate money or software to them. I have always wished there were a way to connect people on both sides of the equation and make everyone happy.
Logos creates powerful tools for ministry, however we are a corporation and not a ministry. Even if someone could make a donation to us it would not be tax exempt. If ministries that were already out there caught the vision to increase the study of God’s Word with Logos Bible Software, we would love to connect them with the people who contact us for the giving and receiving of our products.
What if we could take donations?
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to change our business model. We have no plans to start soliciting donations, or reorganize as a 501(c)(3). If we never heard from another interested donor we would be perfectly fine and content, but this whole idea got me thinking about what could be done if all the like-minded individuals got together and worked toward a common goal.
Taking the concept above one step further, today’s modern philanthropist thinking outside the box could see the benefits of a new form of partnership between a donor who understood the time and money saving benefits of using the latest technology, a commercial enterprise with a product and heart for God’s Word, and a ministry that shared the vision of all three.
This new form of partnership would address the concerns of many modern donors.

  • Tax deductibility
  • Responsible use of funds
  • Clear focus on God’s Word
  • Maximizing the benefit of the donation
  • Exploiting technology to exponentially grow their contribution
  • Highest percentage of their donation going to their “cause” and not administration and overhead

By forming a three way strategy for spreading God’s Word and better access to it, contributions could be tax deductible, funds could be assured the most responsibly maximized “best and highest use”, technology would be used to ensure not only the most time savings for the recipients, but to also reduce the costs of the content distributed—and since the tools are already produced, 100% of all donations could be used for the stated purpose.
With the three way strategy in place, a specific cause, mission agency, country, or group could be identified, and charitable contributions could go further than anyone ever imagined possible. What if instead of funding construction projects that can only be accessed by a few local individuals, money could be earmarked for equipping missionaries, pastors, teachers and preachers with better access to the Bible so that more of God’s Word could be shared with the world?
Leaving a legacy
Let’s say for a moment that someone catches this vision in a big way. Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist have a heart for Africa and want to see God’s Word preached throughout the continent. For a few million dollars they could make sure that every missionary in Africa had their own copy of Logos Bible Software.
Which would leave a more lasting legacy? A nice new building in the States, or a massive army of proven, experienced missionaries all empowered with the most powerful tool on the planet for studying, preaching and teaching God’s Word—in the field where they are already planted?
Stretching your donation dollars
Let’s take this one step further and look at the multiplying effects of this one donation. Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist get their favorite mission agency and Logos together and outline their plan to supply 2,000 missionaries with Logos Bible Software. The missionaries benefit, the people under their teaching benefit, Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist get any applicable tax deductions, the mission agency outfits their missionaries, more of God’s Word is understood and preached, and Logos funds research & development, programming, and production of great new resources, texts and tools to help everyone study the Bible better.
There are not many guaranteed results from charitable contributions, but equipping missionaries, pastors and teachers with the Word of God and better access to it is about as close as it gets. If you are still reading you are probably reciting the scriptures I am thinking about in your head right now, you know as well as I do how God feels about the power and importance of His Word. I don’t have to convince you.
We are still not asking for donations
Please understand, this is dream world . . . thinking out loud . . . wondering “what if” . . . . We are not soliciting donations, we are not asking for money—we still don’t want it and can’t take it! We are just putting some ideas down in writing to paint a picture of how technology has not only impacted the study of God’s Word but has opened up the doors for creatively being better stewards and returning to an emphasis on Bible study, preaching and teaching around the world.
We know there are many faithful and generous individuals who already regularly purchase our packages just to bless others, and we know how powerful, time-saving and money-saving our tools are (not to mention cheaper than print books to ship to the mission field). We also know that there are people all over the world who would love to have our tools but can not afford them, and people who love God’s Word, love Logos Bible Software and want to be the best stewards possible while giving in this area of personal interest. We would just like to find a way to connect them all.
If you have ideas or dreams of your own about finding a way to leave a legacy and impact the world with something that you can be guaranteed will not fail, wither, return void, pass away . . . but will stand forever, give me a call.
-Dan

Blogging the Code

Want to get technical? Want a really early preview of upcoming versions of Logos Bible Software? The software developers here at Logos have started a new code blog at code.logos.com. You’ll find code snippets, technical discussions, and even some developer introductions.
We get a lot from other technical blogs, and our team wants to join the discussion and contribute what we have learned. With our move to new technologies like .NET 3.5, WPF, and WCF, there’s a lot of ground to cover!
To get a taste of what’s coming, check out our recent applications: NoteScraps, Shibboleth, and Logos Global Bible Reader. All three are .NET WPF applications that we built to explore new technologies — and to do cool things!

Update to Libronix DLS 3.0e

The latest version of the Libronix Digital Library System, 3.0e, is available for download. If you haven’t already updated, you should do so as soon as possible so that you have all the latest bug fixes and improved functionality.
Here are some of the new features that you will get:
Shell

  • Improved speed of opening the Search menu for the first time.

Bible Tools

  • Added missing homograph numbers to GRAMCORD™ lemma list.
  • Remote Library Search
  • Changed format of citations exported from Remote Library Search (for better interoperability with other programs).
  • Export Citations dialog in Remote Library Search remembers the last citation style that was used.

Resources

  • Added 2 Corinthians and Galatians to Lexham SGNT.
  • Added Louw-Nida numbers to Lexham SGNT.
  • Updated version of Lexham Syntactic Greek NT including Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Sermon File

  • Topics in Sermons and Illustrations resources are found by the Topic Study on the home page.
  • “Topics” and “Illustrations” sections in the Passage Guide list topics from the Sermons and Illustrations resources (respectively).

Syntax Tools

  • Added arrows to indicate immediate child vs. any descendant in Syntax Search results.
  • Syntax Search results highlights different terms with different colors.
  • Added “Group” and “Unordered Group” constructs to Syntax Search dialog.

Windows Vista

  • Added high-resolution application icon (for Windows Vista).

For a list of bug fixes visit http://www.logos.com/support/article/1240.
Keep in mind that all new books require 3.0e and that you’ll need 3.0e to use the updated version of many old books as well.
If you have a slow connection, you may want to order the new 3.0e media, which is available on DVD-ROM or CD-ROM.

Refer a Friend—You Both Save!

Many people become Logos users through the encouragement of a friend. I bought my first Logos package several years ago in seminary thanks to the excitement of a fellow seminarian who had just become a Logos user. He was convinced that Logos was the best Bible software available. In just short time he had persuaded me, and I was an owner of Scholar’s Library: Silver, the top end base package at the time.
It wasn’t long before I too was spreading the word to friends of mine, several of whom also ended up buying one of the top end base packages. No doubt many of you are users today because of an enthusiastic friend, and many of you have in turn been responsible for introducing others to Logos. It’s for enthusiastic users like you that we created the Refer-a-Friend program.
Refer a Friend!
The Refer-a-Friend program a great way for both you and your friends to save money at Logos.com. When you use the Refer-a-Friend program, your friend will save 25% on any of the base packages. If he purchases one, you will receive a $25 gift certificate that you can spend at Logos.com.
If you own one of our base packages, sharing the love is an easy three-step process. Make sure you’re logged in to your account, go to www.logos.com/referafriend, and you’re ready to get started.
Step 1
Enter your friend’s email address and name (last name is optional). Your friend’s email address is safe with us. We won’t share it with anyone, and we’ll send him only two messages, which you will be able to review before they are sent. Click “Next” to go to step two.


Step 2
Review and customize the first email that your friend will receive. Here’s the default text, which automatically includes both your name and your friend’s name:
Hey Joe,
I was just surfing the Logos Bible Software website, and I saw a feature that lets me send coupons for their new Bible software to my friends. I thought you might want to check it out, because with the special coupon code you can save 25% off any one of their new base packages right now.
So keep an eye out for the fancy email from Logos Bible Software; it should be there soon.
In the meantime, watch the video demo at: http://www.logos.com/demo
In case you don’t get the fancy email from Logos, or if you are ready to buy right now, here is the coupon code to use at checkout after you add a package to your cart: XXXXXXXXXXXXX
If you have any questions, just let me know. I have been using Scholar’s Library: Gold – Logos Bible Software 3, and it is great!
-Phil Gons
P.S. If you buy a base package from the Logos website using this coupon code, I’ll get a gift certificate. So please be sure to place your order at the Logos.com website, not by phone!

After you’ve reviewed the email and made any changes, click “Next” to proceed to the final step.
Step 3
Finally, choose a collection to recommend to your friend. You can recommend the one you own, or you may want to recommend another package if you think it’ll be better suited for your friend’s needs. Before you click “Send,” feel free to preview both emails that your friend will receive. The preview will appear in a pop-up window, so make sure to disable your pop-up blocker or add www.logos.com to your list of approved sites. Once you’ve reviewed the emails, click “Send.” Your friend will have the emails in no time. Repeat this process as many times as you want.


View My Referrals
To see if any of your friends have placed an order yet, click on “View My Referrals” at the top right side of the page.

Your Gift Certificate
As soon as one of your friends orders a base package, we’ll send you an email with a gift certificate that you can use on your next Logos.com order. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered if you lose your gift certificate email. All of your gift certificate codes will be listed on your My Referrals page as well.
So keep on spreading the word to your friends about how much you love Logos Bible Software, but make sure to use the Refer-a-Friend program so you can both enjoy the savings!

More Jobs at Logos

Last week we mentioned that Logos is growing and that there are several job openings. Since then we’ve added even more new positions to the jobs page.
Here are the ones that are currently listed:

Head on over to the jobs page to find out more, like qualifications, responsibilities, and how to apply. If you know of someone who would be a good fit, let them know we’re hiring. Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Internships in Software Development

Can you help us find interns?
Logos Bible Software offers 12 week internships in software development all year round. Most join us for the summer, though, and we’re looking for this year’s team right now.
We are looking for people who love to write code, who want to work with the latest technologies, and who share our excitement about putting the best tools and technology possible into the hands of pastors, scholars and Bible students around the world.
We’re fun and we pay well.
Students can learn more at www.logos.com/interns or by contacting me at bob@logos.com or 800-875-6467 or 360-527-1700.

Show Us Your Syntax Searches

The Logos syntax databases and resources have revolutionized advanced searching and analysis of the Old and New Testaments in their original languages. As with most powerful tools, there is a bit of a learning curve to using them effectively. One of the best ways to learn how to use them is to reproduce the searches of others. This is easiest to do by seeing a series of screenshots or watching a video.
Learn by Example
To help you learn the ropes, we continue to provide you with blog posts and videos that discuss and demonstrate syntax searching. If you haven’t been over to the video tutorial page at Logos.com recently, there are dozens of syntax videos that you can watch. I just updated it to include all of the syntax-related videos that have appeared here on the blog, so go take a look! If you have a slow internet connection, you may want to purchase the Syntax Demonstration Videos on CD-ROM.
Work Backwards
Another great way to learn how to perform syntax searches is to work backwards from one of the syntax resources.

This is the method I used to perform my first successful syntax search (i.e., the Holy Spirit communicating). I (1) found a passage of Scripture that had something I wanted to search for (Acts 13:2), (2) looked up that passage in the OpenText.org Clause Analysis resource, and (3) reproduced it in the syntax search. This method will involve some trial and error, so most users will want to watch several of the demo videos before trying this.
Show Us Your Syntax Searches
We love to see the ways you are putting the syntax tools to use. I stumbled across a blog post where one of our users creatively used the Anderson-Forbes Syntax database to locate all of the occurrences of bears in the Old Testament. His search missed one (Pr 17:12, where the gloss was “she-bear” rather than “bear”), but it was an excellent example of how syntax searching can be a very quick and simple way to access a list of data that would have taken longer to find with an English search or a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic morphology searches. Nice work, Mike!
If you blog about creative ways to use the syntax resources, send an email to blog@logos.com and let us know. We’ll add a link to your post below. If we think it’s really cool, we may even take a whole post to show off your syntax skills! Just a hint: it should probably contain screenshots or video. (Check out Jing if you don’t know how to capture video on your screen.) We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Call Logos and Get a Human

Technology is great. Our slogan here at Logos is Advanced Technology for Eternal Truth, and we’re sponsoring BibleTech:2008, a conference that explores the intersection of biblical studies and technology. Obviously, we love technology and are convinced that it can be immensely helpful—especially for things like Bible study. But new technology does not always result in a better way of doing things. People can still do many tasks more efficiently than machines—like answering phones.
Someone shared a link at the office yesterday for a website called the gethuman 500 database. It lists phone numbers that will get you a human on the other end of the line for over 500 businesses. About 10% of the numbers will take you directly to a human. Most require you to push a series of numbers to get a human on the line. For example, to talk to a human at Ford, you would need to call 800‑392‑3673 and then “press 0; at prompt press 0; at prompt press 0; at prompt press 1; at prompt press 0″ to finally get to a human.
We’ve all had bad experiences with automated answering services. Most of them take forever, and the ones that require you to speak your information into the phone don’t work very well. It’s refreshing to get a human on the line who can quickly connect you to the right person or give you the information you want.
One of our highest priorities at Logos is to provide you with top-notch customer service. That’s why we put 800-875-6467 at the top of Logos.com. You don’t have to go to a website like the gethuman 500 database to find out how to contact us. And you don’t have to press 0 four times either. When you call Logos on Monday–Friday between 6 AM and 5 PM PST, a pleasant and knowledgeable human answers the phone and promptly directs your call to the right department—and that’s the way it should be.

Logos Is Growing

People carrying around computers and desks has been a common sight in the office recently. Our software developers and web developers, along with the Ministry Relations department and a few other individuals, have been in the process of relocating right down the street to a new office space in order to give our Electronic Text Development department the necessary room to continue growing. Training started today for a new group of book designers, and they are still looking to hire up to a dozen more. So if you live in the Bellingham area or are willing to relocate to this beautiful part of the country like I recently did, head on over to the jobs page, check out the job description, and send in your résumé.
As a result of this growth, you can expect to see tons of solid new Pre-Pubs coming down the pike in 2008. So be sure to keep your eye on the Pre-Pub page or subscribe to the Pre-Pub feed to stay up to date!

Crocodiles, Mummies, Homer’s Iliad and a Seminary Library

Those who have been Logos customers for awhile, those who follow our every move, may remember a blog post from over 2 years ago on a robotic book scanner. This is the APT Bookscan 1200; we’ve even got another web page describing it, with a video of the machine in action.
Many of the books that we put up on our Community Pricing page (to explore and see if there is enough interest in them as Logos books to pre-pub them) come from page scans that the book scanner made.

Don’t worry, we’re getting to the crocodiles. And the mummies. Actually, we’ll be getting to crocodile mummies.

Really! Just please be patient; there’s a lot of background to go through first.

But we do something else with these images. We have all of the books we’ve scanned up on a subscription service (targeted toward college/seminary use by students and faculty) called SeminaryLibrary.com. What is SeminaryLibrary.com? Here’s the about blurb:

SeminaryLibrary.com is the perfect desktop companion to your present Bible software and print library. SeminaryLibrary.com is a good place to go for the books you don’t already own in print or digital form. Think of SeminaryLibrary.com as a collection of over 6200 8000 books you would love to have access to but are not likely to purchase or keep at your finger tips. These are the books for which you would plan a trip to the library or the books you would look up on microfiche. These are the valuable, but less frequently used books. They are too valuable to take out of circulation but too costly to reprint. These are the books that cause institutions to build large buildings just to house these titles for future generations. Unless you live near a large seminary library, you are probably not even aware of most of these titles and will never have an opportunity to view them or use them, until now.

I poke around SeminaryLibrary.com with some frequency. (Here’s a recent example of other content I found in SeminaryLibrary.com)
I did some “poking around” awhile back, looking further into what kind of papyrological resources were available in the library. I just searched for where “papyri” occurred in book metadata (title, subjects, etc.). Yes, this is all “rabbit trail” stuff; but I still think it’s pretty cool, and a pretty decent example of Facilitating Serendipitous Discovery. Here’s what happened:

  1. Search SeminaryLibrary.com for “papyri”.
  2. Come across the Tebtunis Papyri volume. Cool! Read the front matter. Realize that these are papyrus fragments retrieved from cartonage of crocodile mummies! (really, see a picture of them!)
  3. Still paging through book on SeminaryLibrary.com. Wow, there’s a fragment from Homer’s Iliad (Book II) that was stuffed in crocodile mummy cartonage? Check it out:
  4. Search Google for more info on “Tebtunis”.
  5. Come across The Center for the Tebtunis Papyri at the Bancroft Library at Berkeley.
  6. View the webcast “Ancient Egypt and the Tebtunis Papyri” (look for item at 2:20 PM) and learn even more.
  7. Poke around Tebtunis Papyri site. Whoa, this stuff is catalogued in APIS! (Advanced Paprylogical Information System). That means you can search the catalogue!
  8. Search the APIS catalogue for where ‘Homer’ occurs in APIS items associated with Berkeley. There are 24 entries from Berkeley that reference ‘Homer’. Some have images. Here’s one that is pretty cool and actually has rather readable images.
  9. Even cooler: Here’s the catalogue entry for the item referred to above (P.Tebt.1.004) which aligns with the volume/numbering in Grenfell & Hunt’s volume. From here view images of the papyri themselves! (Make sure to zoom in to see the lettering)

Admittedly, this is a bit of a rabbit trail. But I thought it was interesting, and that it showed some of the usability of SeminaryLibrary.com. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the serendipity and perhaps have learned a few things to boot (Crocodile mummies? Yes!).
But all of this going-on about crocodile mummies really does have some applicability to Biblical Studies. One of the Tebtunis Papyri (P.Tebt.703) has some relevance to New Testament epistlography; particularly when considering the genre of First Timothy and Titus. I blog more about that over on PastoralEpistles.com. Had I not explored the SeminaryLibrary.com papyrological resources and dug a bit more into what the Tebtunis Papyri were all about, the references to P.Tebt.703 in several of the recent commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (Witherington, Towner, L.T. Johnson) and introductions (Carson & Moo, plus Thielmann’s NT Theology volume) would’ve fallen on deaf (or at least somewhat hard-of-hearing) ears.
Don’t worry, I’ll return to blogging about stuff like Greek syntax shortly.