Getting You from Point A to Point B

Guest bloggers Johnny Cisneros and Steve Runge pull back the curtain on a new addin coming soon from the Logos “skunk works.”

Many of us know that we have the resources within Logos to do good exegesis. However, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the process. You may not know where to start or where to end a study. How can you make sure that you’ve made the most of the resources available to you within your digital library? A new feature will assist users, veteran and new alike, with just that.

The Study Tools addin will guide you through the process of Bible study from exegesis to application. This helpful addin ties together many of the powerful tools in Logos into one convenient template. Such a template provides an organized structure to guide you through each step of exegesis. It saves you time by creating links to a variety of Bible tools pertaining to each one of the steps. It conveniently provides you with the ability to make your own notes as you go. The template is especially useful for sermon preparation. Outlines can be prepared under the ‘Application’ section of the template.


Screenshot of a study document (beta version, subject to change)

The Study Tools addin offers something for everyone. Existing users will find a new way to utilize the powerful resources within Logos in their study and sermon preparation. New users will find a way to become familiar with the many resources available in Logos.

Update 2/13 – If you can’t wait to try out the addin, you can download a beta version that unlocks the Study Tools addin for a limited time. Once you have it installed, create a new study document via the File | New menu. Please route your feedback on the addin to the beta newsgroup.

Interview with Bob Pritchett: Looking Forward

This isthesixth installmentin a series of video blog posts (introduced here) sharing the story and culture of Logos Bible Software. Other posts in the series are archived in the Video category.

The video interview was shotduring the final days of 2006. Scott asked Bob to summarize the highlights of the year and take a look forwardto some of the exciting things coming during 2007. Enjoy!

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.

Labor and Delivery with … Logos?

Yep, that post title is correct.

Lord willing, my wife Amy is due to deliver our first child in mid-May.** (Insert applause here, Amy really is fantastic!) As many first-time parents-to-be, we’re reading a lot and researching the whole process.

We’ve got books on all sorts of stuff, which is par for the course for this bibliophile Daddy-to-be.

One very helpful book has been The Christian Woman’s Guide to Childbirth by Debra Evans and Ingrid Trobisch. It was published by Crossway Books (which is where the link goes) but it is unfortunately out of print, so you’ll have to find a used copy somewhere. We found ours on Amazon for five bucks.

One of the things that Amy and I love about The Christian Woman’s Guide to Childbirth is that it has a great Scripture reference index, and each chapter also lists a number of references having to do, in one way or another, with the basic content or thoughts in the chapter. Good stuff for focusing our minds on our Lord and Saviour and his gracious provision and comfort through the traumatic and uncertain (yet joyous!) time before us.

So to take those references into the hospital with us, we’re starting to use the Verse List feature in Logos Bible Software. We’re making a verse list for each topic, then we’ll just print them out so we’ll have ready-reference during labor and delivery.

How do you make a verse list, you ask?

  • File | New
  • Select Verse List from the New Document dialog
  • Click Add button. Use the dialog or point to proper source.
  • Voila! Use the Preferences button to give the file a name, but the system will prompt for that if you close the document without providing a name.


Printing is pretty easy too. Just open the verse list (either through File | Open or through the Open Document button on the toolbar), then export or print.


** We’ve decided to be surprised, so we don’t know the sex of the baby and don’t plan on finding out before the big day! At the time of this post, Mom thinks it’s a boy and Dad thinks it’s a girl. Either way, we’re greatly blessed!

Interview with Bob Pritchett: Innovation at Logos

This isthe fifth installmentin a series of video blog posts (introduced here) sharing the story and culture of Logos Bible Software. Other posts in the series are archived in the Video category.

Bob is asked to choose the top innovations Logos has offered the world, describes his role in the development of Logos Bible Software, and discusses some of the ways ideas become product features. You’ll also hear how Logos appropriates the best research and technology from other fields such asgene sequencing visualizations and applies it to the task of digital Bible study.

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.

Getting More from Library Builder, Part 2

Arecord number of customers took advantage of the insanely great “Library Builder” Christmas special this year and added 330+ books to their library in one fell swoop, so we’re taking a look at how to maximize the value of those new books. Even if you don’t own the Library Builderproduct, this series will help you get the most from the books in your electronic library.

In Part 1, I encouraged you to begin exploring the new books added to your library and pointed you to a few tools that assist in said exploration. We also paused to think about some of the helpful things you didn’t have to do…because the digital library did them for you!

Now I want tofocus on a few different categories of book that arrived in your library via Library Builder, and consider how you will encounter individual books within those categories in the course of your study.

VIP Books

Some categories of book enjoy a “privileged” status within the Libronix DLS. They are privileged because we have built specialfeatures or tools that help you get the most value from them. A few examples are commentaries, sermonillustrations, music, maps, and devotionals.

Today I’ll focus on commentaries. The Logos Bible Software homepage has a feature that enables you to open a favorite commentary and Bible directly to your desired passage. And Passage Guide is programmed to find all the commentaries that address your passage. We’ll look at how these features work, a few tweaks to optimize things for your owen preferences, and pause to discuss a few individual books along the way…

Commentaries on the Homepage

Remember the list of Library Builder contents on the wikimentioned inPart 1? A quick glance at the list shows that Library Builder included three single-volume commentaries:

  • Evangelical Commentary on the Bible
  • Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
  • The 365 Day Devotional Commentary

I like to specify a single-volume commentary as my preferred commentary on the homepage. To change your preferred commentary to one of the new commentaries in Library Builder, just click “Customize View” on the homepage, then select from the list. Walter Elwell’sEvangelical Commentary on the Bible would be a fine option.

If you also check the box next to “Show Study Options” you will now have a “Bible and Commentary”option on the homepage, in the Study Passage section.

Now when you select Bible and Commentary, enter a passage, and click “Go!”, your favorite Bible versionand Evangelical Commentary on the Bible will open straight to your passage. Simple. Quick. Smooth.

Commentaries in Passage Guide

Commentaries also show up at the top of the Passage Guide report. Library Builder included one OT commentary series (Wiersbe) and four NT series: College Press NIV Commentary Series, IVP New Testament Commentary Series, Crossway Classic Commentary Series, and Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament.

You would expect these commentaries to automatically appear when you run Passage Guide, and they do. But you may notice some pleasant surprises as well…

The pastor of the church I attend is currently preaching through Revelation, a book that could be described in terms borrowed from Winston Churchill: “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

When I run a Passage Guide report on Revelation 2:13,in addition to all the expected commentaries that appear, two in-depth studies on the book of Revelation show up: Back to the Future – A Study of the Book of Revelation by Ralph Bass and Revelation Explained by Lerry W. Fogle. I’m grateful that my digital library summoned these books in response to my passage search, because I might never have thought to look for them.

Passage Guide was smart enough to find two other books that are not traditional commentaries but rather brief surveys, organized by passage, and intended to provide “helps” to the ordinary reader or the pastor who needs information fast.

The People’sNew Testament , written in 1891,provides a sentence or two for each verse…like a margin note to provide background on people and places, or help interpret easily misunderstood phrases.

The Bible Guide , published in 2001 by Augsburg, is a fantastic resource for concise comments on a given passage of Scripture. Its commentary on the letter to church in Pergamum in Revelation 2 begins with a description of the city that makes it seem like an actual, living place:

Pergamum is an important city — not for trade or beauty, but as a seat of government (2:12–17). It has been the capital of Asia for nearly 400 years — ever since the break-up of Alexander the Great’s empire, when it became the centre of the Seleucid kingdom.

Pergamum has a famous library of parchment scrolls, and parchment gets its name from the ‘Pergamene sheet’. The culture and religion is strongly Greek, with an emphasis on the worship of Asklepios, a god of healing. His temples are something like hospitals. For many people Asklepios is the saviour. Also at Pergamum is a huge temple dedicated to Zeus. It is built on three sides of a square, to make a giant chair or throne.

Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, Includes index., 1st Augsburg books ed., 697 (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001).

You can be sure that I’ll be returning toThe Bible Guide as my small group works through Revelation.

Bonus Tip #1: Show More Commentaries

In Logos 3, Passage Guidelists only 15 commentaries when the report is first run. To see more commentaries, click the “More >>” link.

Bonus Tip #2:Cream the Commentary Crop

Sometimes you want to see fewer commentaries in the Passage Guide report ratherthan more. Or more precisely…you want to see more of the commentaries you use most and fewer of the ones you use least.

Logos 3 has a nifty feature that keeps track of how many times you use each commentary and promotes the most used commentaries to the top of the list. Notice in the screenshot below the space between A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory… and The Apocalypse of St. John. The Passage Guide report has grown smarter over time and now reserves the top 5 slots for my most-used commentaries.
Honestly, how cool is that?

If you prefer your own smarts over the built-in smarts, you can always create a defined collection of your favorite commentaries (learn how!)and then limit Passage Guide to searching those commentaries. Once the collection is created, simply click the Properties button in the Passage Guide report, and select your collection from the list.


Looking Ahead

Today we focused on your new commentaries to see where they show up in the library,get some pointers on how to promote the ones you like best, and introduce a few of the new titles on a first-name basis.The nextpost in the series will look at books in other categories such as illustrations, music and devotionals. In the meantime…happy exploring!

The Serendipity Curve

Note: Creating Passionate Users is a secular blog, unrelated to Logos, and as such may use terms or images we wouldn’t choose.

Creating Passionate Users is a seriously smart and interesting blog on user-oriented product design. A recent post on the site entitled “Add a little more random to your product” encourages product designers to consider ways to boost the serendipity quotient of productsby adding randomness. Give users more opportunities to be surprised and they will enjoy the product more.

The article uses the example of the iPod Shuffle, which forces users out of a listening rut and exposes them to more of the songs they own.

Think about all the music on your (non-Shuffle) iPod, computer, or vintage CD rack. Now think about the subset you actually listen to regularly. For most of us, it’s a pathetically small set. By literally forcing people to listen to randomly-chosen songs, the Shuffle was constantly delighting, surprising, rewarding, stretching users. And users loved it.

Here at the Logos Blog, we’ve shared some of our thinking on this very topic, encapsulated as “Facilitate Serendipitous Discovery.”

F-S-D serves as a description and guiding principle for the way we design Logos Bible Software to invigorate, refresh, suprise and inspire users in theirBible study.

F-S-Dalso speaks to the approach we take to ensure that users receive more value from their electronic library…even as the number of books in that library grows into the thousands. That is, we design features and automated reports that help people find information they didn’t even know they were looking for…often in books they didn’t even know they owned.

Now I’m eager to hear feedback from you, the Logos user…

  • Do you have a story to share about your own serendipitous discovery?
  • What’s your favorite serendipity-producing feature in Logos?
  • Have you used or seen someone using Logos in an unusual way?
  • Where does Logos fall on the Serendipity Curve?
  • How could we boost the serendipity and randomness of Logos in ways that would make you happier?

Using Reference Search With Lexicons

One feature I use frequently is right-click reference searching within a lexicon (specifically, within BDAG). I typically keylink into BDAG and note the sense under discussion, usually by a reference citation (which in my setup is highlighted by the Active Bible Reference visual filter, which maybe I’ll blog about in the future). From there, I right-click on the reference and search the active resource for more instances of that reference.

In lexicons, this generates a list of all articles that contain a direct citation of that reference, which can come in handy when working through a reference. Since this is hard to convey in writing, I made a video.

Oh, yeah. This works for all reference citations, not just Bible references. So you can right-click on an Apostolic Fathers reference, do the same exact right-click functions, and find all the places that the Apostolic Fathers reference is cited as well.

Or a Josephus reference. Or a Philo reference. In any resource. At any time.

How cool is that?!

Interview with Bob Pritchett: Creating a Digital Library

This isthe fourth installmentin a series of video blog posts (introduced here) sharing the story and culture of Logos Bible Software. Other posts in the seriesare archived in the Video category.

Logos Bible Software pioneered the digital library concept. In these video clips, Bob describes the original vision for a “massive” 12-volume digital library, explains how new content and book-specific features drove platform redesign, and answers the commonly posed question, “Where did the name ‘Libronix’ come from?”

Note: All videos are in Windows Media format. Mac users may need to download the free Flip4Mac plugin for playback within QuickTime.

Windows Vista Keyboards for Ancient Languages

The Logos Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Transliteration Keyboards have been updated to run on Windows Vista. Follow the link for more information and installation instructions.

General information on compatibility between Logos Bible Software and Windows Vista is at this link.

Converting the Pastor

I received the following story from Rob Suggs, a reviewer and enthusiastic user of Logos. I share it with Rob’s permissionbecause of how well itillustrates the “aha” momentwe love to provide for new users.

If you want an easy way to help your friends and family discover Logos Bible Software, check out the Refer a Friend program. –Daniel Foster

I’m attending a Saturday morning meeting of Bible study leaders. Since the topic is biblical interpretation, I’m planning on taking my laptop and doing a Libronix System X demonstration. I had lunch today with my pastor and told him my plans, asking, “By the way, are you a Logos user? What do you use to prepare a sermon?”

He gave me rather a blank look and said, “[Major Bible study site]on the Web.”

I said, “No kidding. How is that working out for you.”

He looked a little embarrassed and said, “Well, I click the passage, then wait for it to load. Then, if I want to compare another translation, it takes about six more clicks and waits to get to that screen . . .”

I said, “No kidding.” This pastor is not a remnant of the old days—he’s younger than I am.

I began to tell him about Logos. He asked, “Is it a Web site?”

I said, “No, it’s right on my hard drive.”

“Wow!” I’m seriously trying not to laugh here. This is my pastor.

I spent about ten minutes describing the things that take place within ten or fifteen seconds on my Libronix desktop; the quick reports and passage studies; the quick links to original language research. I happened to know that he studied at Trinity and his mentor was D. A. Carson. “Logos has a whole disk of D. A. Carson resources,” I said casually. “Most of his major writings, all of them searchable and fully integrating with the rest of your 25 or 30 Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, and other resources.”

By this time there was a serious line of drool extending from the lip of his mouth almost to the surface of the table. Other diners were beginning to stare at us.

As we left, he said, “Bring your computer. Show it all to me. I’ll bring my credit card.”