Logos Culinary Secrets Revealed!

As Bob has mentioned and as regular blog readers know, from time to time we love to do some cookin’ here at Logos.


Bradley Grainger preparing some condimentsfor his 2006 Curry Cook-off entry

When we have cookoffs, we usually post winning recipes on this blog.

If you’re interested in some of the winners, try searching the blog using the search box on the sidebar for the word recipe. Or just click this link.

Who knows, you could find something you’d like to make for dinner next week!

Eliminating Bible Study Obstacles

Tools like the Passage Guide, Exegetical Guide, and Bible Word Study Guide search a huge digital library and return neatly organized reports that kick-start your Bible study. From nothing more than a verse, or the name of a Bible story, or a single word, these reports generate both visual and textual overviews that link deeply into your Bible reference library.

These reports eliminate obstacles to Bible study because they are more than just simple search tools. They not only save time, they answer the question “Where do I start?” Each report is designed to facilitate a specific step in Bible study, and it has embedded in it specialized knowledge about the process and books involved.

Logos Bible Software also features specialized tools like a Bible Reading Scheduler and a Prayer List manager. Like the automated reports, these tools are time savers that eliminate paper handling and help users get into the Word.

The sheer bulk and weight of paper Bible reference books is another paper handling obstacle. It can keep people from following a cross reference, checking a source, or digging a little deeper on a topic.

I have visited many pastors and professors in their offices, and the one thing found in every office is a lot of books. It is fascinating to see the breadth and depth of many of these collections, often neatly organized and cataloged. But it is also interesting to see that within nearly all of these large collections there is a much smaller collection: “books I use all the time”. This handful of books can usually be found on the shelf directly behind the chair, just below sitting eye-height. (If those books aren’t already strewn across the desk.)

Because no matter the breadth or depth of interest or scholarship, very few people have the time to regularly find and consult even the hand-picked books in their personal library. And even less time to visit a bookstore or physical library for the obscure titles they find referenced in every footnote and bibliography they encounter during their study, no matter how useful they might be.

Electronic resources are easier to use. And when resources are easier to use, they get used more often. We want to free our users to consult their whole library regularly – not just the books they can reach from their chair.

We also want to make available as much source material as possible. Everyone may not want to check textual readings in the papyri, consult Josephus in the Greek, or search for parallels in the Ugaritic literature. But having access to the early sources (in the original languages and scripts, as well as in transliteration and translation) is necessary in order to do so. Ready access to these sources is useful for less scholarly users as well. It allows them to check citations, to read and explore on their own, and to gain confidence in the integrity of our historical understanding.

Logos Bible Software offers a massive digital library. But we aren’t adding titles to win some book count competition. We simply want to make the books in your library easier to use. We want to make it easier for everyone to consult source material. And in doing so, we eliminate even more obstacles to better, deeper Bible study.

What is Logos Bible Software?

I recently returned from the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Once again I had a great time meeting and talking with so many of our users as well as many students, pastors, scholars (and pastor-scholars!) who are looking for new resources.

It was interesting to see how different people have different impressions of Logos Bible Software. Some only know it as the software they use to access a single electronic book, like the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. Some see it as a specialized Bible search engine, particularly if they only discovered it in the context of our new Hebrew and Greek syntax databases. Others see Logos as nothing more than a huge bucket-o-books, an overstuffed electronic library with a search feature.

The Libronix Digital Library System, the technology underneath Logos Bible Software, is not a single piece of software. It is more like a box of software parts that can be assembled in various ways – like digital Lego bricks, if you will. It can function as a search-and-display tool for a single book or as host for multiple document editors and specialized search engines. This modularity lets us deliver exactly the right tool for many different users. It is the right tool for the devotional user who wants just a Bible and commentary. And it is the right tool for the scholar who only wants to run complex queries on ancient language texts.

The modular architecture is a great asset. But it can make it hard to see the big picture of what Logos Bible Software really is.

Logos Bible Software is an obstacle eliminator for Bible study. It is a combination of technology and resources designed to eliminate every bit of time-consuming paper handling that could get in the way of Bible study.

The Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it should be at the center of every Christian’s walk, and that it speaks powerfully to the hearts and minds of unbelievers. But we can’t make people study it. We can take away excuses for not studying it, though. We can make Bible study easier to begin. We can remove every impediment of page turning and paper handling. We can make digging deeper irresistibly easy.

Back in 1991, the very first Logos t-shirt design consisted of our logo and the phrase “Get into the Word!” in large, red type. Fifteen years later we are still building tools to help you do just that.

What’s with all the crock-pot photos?

Crock Pot

There is a hidden message in all the photos of crock-pots you see on the Logos Blog.

Everyone understands why we post about product features and special sales and Greek syntax, and even the design of a Ugaritic font. But maybe the pictures of cook-offs and frisbees and coffee and decorations are too subtle.

There is a reason we post all that Fun Stuff:
It’s fun.

Okay, there’s another reason, too: We want everyone to see what a great place Logos is to work. We know that before an interview every (smart) job candidate pokes around our web site and blog. We want them to discover that we’re a place they really want to work.

We also want you, our regular blog reader, to (when you’re not thinking about Greek syntax searching) take a moment to think, “Those folks at Logos must be having a blast! And they eat well! I need to take a look at www.logos.com/jobs and forward the link to the smartest people I know.”

Finding and attracting great people continues to be the key to our success. If “we” are going to keep building great Bible software for you, “we” needs to get bigger and better. Maybe you should think about joining us? Maybe you have a gifted friend or relative who is looking for something new? Maybe they just need to know about a fun, growing company where a bunch of great people are working together to build tools to help you study the Word?

Let them know about www.logos.com/jobs. (Especially if they can cook.)

Christmas Specials!

If you’ve been to Logos.com recently you’ve seen that we’re offering Free Shipping on web orders through the end of December. But we’ve also created a special edition, Christmas 2006-only collection of books called Library Builder: Volumes 1-3.

Together, the three discs will get you more than 330 books, worth some $4,500.00 in print editions, at 90% off list prices for the equivalent print editions. So essentially it’s the “base collection discount” on books that are (largely) not in the base collections. As you might guess from the ribbons and bows…this is our Christmas present to you!

In fact, the 19-volume College Press NIV Commentary Series: New Testament (current sale price: $349.95), the 18-volume IVP New Testament Commentary Series (current sale price: $269.95), plus 16 volumes of Warren Wiersbe’s Old Testament “Be” Series of commentary—all of which are included in the 3-disc Library Builder set—alone make the Library Builder an incredible bargain!

Big Discount on Theological Journals Bundle!
I also want to draw attention to the new Complete Theological Journal Library Bundle.

This bundle represents the best discount ever offered on the Theological Journal Library products from Galaxie. With more than 450 years’ worth of journals that would cost something like $15,000 in print, you could think of it as a scholarly booster pack for your digital library.

Merry Christmas from your friends at Logos!

The Dangers of Dabbling in Greek

Some say you must learn Greek and Hebrew before you can truly read the Bible as it was intended to be read. Others warn that a little knowledge can be dangerous…better to trust the opinions of others than dabble in the languages oneself.

Here at Logos, we’ve always been pretty open about our intentions to help regular, everyday Christians study the Bible at a deeper level. And that meansletting even “untrained” folksget their hands on Greek and Hebrew resources.

We’ve built tools like the Bible Word Study report, Exegetical Guide, and Reverse Interlinear Bibles that make Greek and Hebrew more accessible to the layperson. We include high-end, seminary level texts and tools in our most popular packages, which helps move such resources and knowledge beyond the seminary walls and directly into the pulpit and pew.

Are we guilty of helping spread to the masses those resources once reserved for the elite few?

Let’s just say Logos once had t-shirts printed up with the famous quote from Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type: “Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them.Let us break the seal which binds these holy things…”

In Defense of Dabbling

In the preface to the print edition of the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear, editor John Schwandt includes an insightful discussion that covers the purpose and benefits of a reverse interlinear but also has a section entitled “Overcoming the Objection of the Dangers of Dabbling in Greek.”

John seriously and thoughtfully addresses the dangers of dabbling in the languages, particularly when it comes to wrong or ill considered motives such as an attempt to unlock the “true meaning of the text” that has been lost in English translations.

He also enumerates some of the very practical and real benefits to be gained by the student who is willing to work at learning the languages. Even dabblers canlearn to observe”structural patterns and word play,” and repetitions in tense, voice, or mood, he says.

John’s essay is well worth the read, and I hope it encourages you to ignore the cynics and go right on dabbling. Who knows, you might evenget a taste for Greek or Hebrew and go on to proficiency!

Related Links:

Reaching a Critical Mass

Today’s guest blogger is Dale Pritchett, vice president of sales and marketing for Logos Bible Software.
User Mark Alison wrote in the Logos Newsgroup, “I don’t think Logos or anyone else will ever have rights to every publisher’s works.”

While this is certainly a true statement, at Logos we continue to pursue rights to as many books as we can in the field of biblical studies. It is our fond hope that one day we might include works from Zondervan, and the denominational publishers now unavailable to us.

We are running as fast as we can. We have two full-time publisher Reps, plus support staff, licensing new books every day. We have thousands of contracts to be maintained and reviewed, royalties to calculate, technology licenses to execute and data processing projects to specify, key, tag and proof.

We process millions of pages of data annually and yet feel the pain when a simple typo is reported. We work in both modern and ancient languages. We employ approximately forty people in-house who are on digital book design and production. All of these efforts are directed toward the single goal of creating digital books to reach a “critical mass” for biblical studies.

It is not about building a monopoly. It is not about favoring a particular theological school or doctrinal position. It is not about favoring one publisher over another or refusing to work with other publishers. It is not about greed or competition or pride of accomplishment. It is about “critical mass.”

There is no such thing as a digital library alternative for biblical education until and unless there is a digital library for biblical studies sufficiently extensive to enable meaningful work in the field. This is the key. It is like saying there can be no alternative to the railroad until there are sufficient airline seats to carry the passengers. It is like saying television will never be as popular as radio until everybody who owns a radio can afford a television.

Logos is about realizing the dream of a portable digital library that makes biblical publications accessible and practical at any point on the planet. This is our passion, our dream and our daily work.

It will not be accomplished until there is a “critical mass” of books in the digital library. Look at
how many digital library initiatives have failed because they had wide breadth but insufficient depth to do real work.

We publish more digital books than all the others in our field combined. This is a simple statement of fact. Among the reasons we have been able to accomplish this are a clear focus on the task and a clear understanding of the special technical challenges involved in dealing with biblical reference works.

The task required us to define a new digital publishing standard in which we could display, search and link all kinds of books, with all styles of organization in all languages from all publishers. To accomplish this, we set a hard course for ourselves that involved doing things the “hard way” demanding attention to detail that could only pay off in the long run with a very large, cross-linked library — critical mass. It has taken a long time to reach the point where the critical mass shows off the benefits of those years of detailed effort. This whole end result usually translates into a simple user comment like, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Thank you. We share your thoughts.

If we are ever to have additional titles from Zondervan, Eerdmans and others it will be because of simple statements like this, “I would really prefer to own the book in Libronix format.” Believe it or not, publishers hear you. They really do care.

Postscript: What is Critical Mass?

While there may be many answers to this question, we basically think in terms of book replacement. Critical mass is a sufficient volume of titles to represent the equivalent number of volumes in a corresponding paper-based library. On this basis, critical mass may be different for a pastor’s library and a Bible college or seminary library. In time we hope to have sufficient digital resources to equal a large seminary library. When that time comes we will be able to think in terms of “brick and mortar” replacement or real estate savings.

What Happens When You Steal a Bible

There are some business advantages to serving pastors and Bible students. In conversation with other business people I have observed that we have less theft, piracy, fraud, and credit-card charge-backs than most businesses. Our customers pay their bills. Our product isn’t the theft target that music and sneakers are. Unfortunately, there are still people who, for reasons both selfish and self-righteous, don’t seem to mind stealing Bible software.

The anti-piracy features in Logos Bible Software aren’t super-secure. Serial numbers, registration, etc. are more for letting us restore lost licenses than for locking down users. We want enough security that stealing the software requires conscious, deliberate (and usually pretty technical) effort, while creating the minimal inconvenience for honest users. But for the determined thief, there’s no lock that can’t be picked and no software that can’t be copied.

In this week’s mail I received an envelope from a professor, obtained from one of his students. It contained a home-made DVD-ROM and instructions on installing a pirated version of our software. Step 2 in the detailed instructions installs the stolen licenses. Step 5 encourages the thief to “Study to shew thyself approved ;-) (2tim 3:15)”.

It is always disappointing to see such deliberate piracy. But years ago we decided that we weren’t going to get too upset about it.

Because if you want to steal the Bible, we want you to have it.

Because if you read it, and apply it, and let it change your life, you might write a letter like the one I found in the same stack of mail:

The writer confessed to having purchased and returned a copy of Logos Bible Software v1.6 in order to use the sales receipt for a discount on upgrading to Logos Bible Software v2.0. Back in 1995.

And now, 11 years later, he feels convicted about his dishonesty, confessing it as part of an old life style of stealing, shop-lifting, etc. He enclosed a check for the value of the returned software, plus interest, and asked for our forgiveness and blessing.

What a blessing it is to be building tools to help people study God’s Word. And to be in a position to see, side-by-side and on the same day, such evidences of our sinful tendencies and of the power of the Word to convict us of them.

National Bible Week Essay Contest (cont’d)

This year’s National Bible Week Essay contest has been a resounding success!

Nearly 200 essays have been submitted and dozens of Logos users have opened their email inboxes to find they have won. Take a look at some of the winning essays to get some fresh inspiration for your own Bible study.

Although all of the essays are centered around the general theme of “Bible study” the diversity of content has been remarkable. Who knows? Maybe there will be an essay that jump starts your own Bible study or reveals an approach to Bible study that has never occurred to you:

Do you often feel you need to make more time for Bible study? Here is an excellent solution!

Do you want to take your Bible study to the next level, but don’t know any Original Languages? Find some encouragement here!

Are you looking for an interesting book of the Bible on which to focus your Bible study? Try Deuteronomy!

Or read an honest (and inspirational) reflection on how Bible study has helped this reverend mature in his faith.

Each selected essay has earned its author $30 of unlock credit to be used towards purchases from Logos.

In total, we have doled out almost $1,000 in unlock credits and more essays are being selected every day.

If you have not submitted one yet, your window of opportunity is shrinking as essays will only be accepted through Friday, December 1. To submit an essay go to www.logos.com/nationalbibleweek (and don’t forget to read the official rules before you send your entry).

Giving Thanks for Another Great Year

It’s been a great year for Logos in so many ways. We’re thankful for the enthusiastic response to the Logos 3 release, safety on the Bible Road Trip and a warm reception wherever we travelled, strong sales growth,deepening relationships with key constituencies, and a great team of people to work with here in Bellingham and around the world.

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

If you’re a regular reader of the Logos Blog, you know that we love to eat. So it’s no surprise that Logos does Thanksgiving in style. Bob hasturkey, stuffing and gravy catered in, and we all bring sides and drinks—good old church potluck style.

Here’s a little video I put together of the Thanksgiving feast we had last Wednesday: Thanksgiving2006.wmv (Windows Media Video, 1:37, 6MB).

I also snapped a few photos, trying not to get anyone with their mouth full. Though after yesterday’s photo of the SBL team asleep in the van, maybe I shouldn’t have worried about it.

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