. How to Choose Your Top Bibles in Logos

How to Choose Your Top Bibles in Logos

One of the most frequent things I do in Logos—and I’m betting you do the same thing—is search for a specific verse or group of verses. My searches can seem pretty random, like the time I looked for every time the Bible talks about “war.”

Searching for “war” in all your Bibles is easy:
It’s also a bad idea—not because Logos lacks power; precisely the opposite. Search all your Bibles and you’ll be overwhelmed with hits:

Some translations may use the word in places where others don’t. And if you could see the tiny print, you’d see that the two darker columns on the right are actually German Bibles. War is in them, too—but it means something completely different. You don’t want those hits.

You don’t usually want to search “All Open Bibles,” either, because the assortment of Bibles you have open at any given time is either pretty random or very limited (the ESV and the SBLGNT, if you’re like me).

Usually I want to search just my “Top Bibles.”

But how?

“But how?” you ask.

Thank you for asking that question.

  • Open up your Logos library (click the book icon in the menu bar or do what I do: hit Ctrl+L in Windows or Cmd+L in Mac OS X). Then click “Prioritize.”
  • Then go through your library and find your top Bibles (use the “Find” box to get to them quickly).
  • Then drag them over into the “Prefer these resources” column, one by one. The top 5 will become your “Top Bibles.”

I suggest the ESV, KJV (or AV), NASB95, HCSB, and NIV.

But why?

“But why?” you ask.

Thank you for asking that question.

Because. Because these are the standard evangelical Bibles, and more than likely you’ll be using one of them, or comparing all of them. I usually search the Bible not because I’m ignorant of what it says but because I know what it says but don’t know where it says it. I’m most likely to find a specific search phrase—like “declared to be the son of God with power”—in the Bible translations I’ve actually used and read over the years. (I also like to cover the continuum from dynamic to literal.)

My search history tells me that I searched in the last month for many random things, including “Jezebel,” “<Person Apollos>,” and “all the people.” For those searches, too, I want to search my top Bibles—because I don’t (usually) want to waste time or screenspace with search results from obscure (Darby, Wycliffe) or non-evangelical (Douay-Rheims, New English Bible) translations I don’t tend to use.

If you, dear reader, have reasons to pick other top Bibles, by all means do so.

Next week

Come back next week and I’ll give you a tip about “Top Bibles” that you will want to share with your friends, a tip that may finally put the spring in your step and turn the half-in-half in your coffee into whipped cream. It’s that good.

But first, go right now and pick your “Top Bibles.”


mark ward
Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.


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Written by
Mark Ward

Christian, husband, father, writer, ultimate frisbee player when possible.

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  • The advice stops short of explaining how it works. How does it know that the resources chosen are to be Top Bibles. It didn’t work when I tried it. Chose my standard ones and they just didn’t all show up. How does this feature relate to the text comparison feature? How do you edit the list?

    • I added one importantly clarification to the post just now: “The top 5 Bibles will become your ‘Top Bibles.'” Does that help?

      If not, send me a screenshot here.

  • Thank you Mark for taking time to show us this wonderful feature. I really enjoy seeing my search results with specifically using my “top 5” bibles. I look forward to your next tip! Blessings!

  • Thanks Mark! This worked for me. Wondering if Logos will add the KJVer (easy reader) at some point? I’ve recently begun a personal review of this bible and it appears to be a great bible that those who prefer the KJV can use but in an easier to read format, and without alleged doctrinal changes that other translations get blamed for doing.

    • I’ll pass this on.

      A comment: there are dozens if not hundreds of English translations of various portions of Scripture. The successful ones, the known ones, the ones that get bought and/or read, have to win a difficult battle for readers’ trust. Most Christians, of course, can’t read Greek and Hebrew—so they have to trust respected authorities to tell them if a Bible translation is good or not. A successful translation, therefore, simply has to sign on trustworthy names as endorsers, and it has to appear to have a fairly wide reach. I’d love to see a KJVer take off, but every one I’ve seen (with the possible exception of the NKJV and the MEV) has failed to get together the coalition of endorsers necessary to see the translation take off.

      Perhaps I’m missing an example here, though.

      • Thanks Mark,

        I understand what you are saying and agree. That might be what fails this Bible. Many of the KJV-Only crowd may never endorse it because they love their good ol’ KJV and see any deviation from the poetic (archaic) wording as untrustworthy. They consider Bibles such as the NKJV as a untrustworthy translation. However, as the Whitaker House website states, “The KJVER is not a translation but a replacement edition.” They describe it as, “The King James Version Easy Read (KJVER®) Bible uses the original 1611 King James Version text (based on the Textus Receptus—nReceived Text—rather than the revised 1881 Greek and Hebrew text), but it updates the language for the modern reader.”

        So it stays true and is easier to read, but only time will tell if it gets the endorsements needed to succeed. As a KVJ-Preferred pastor I like it and have begun implementing it into some of my teaching, and have our Wednesday evening kids club using it. And since I cut and paste many of the verses I use to my Word docs and to Power Point, it would make it easier if Logos had it available.

        Thank you, Robert

        • Without reading it at some length (and probably having some knowledge of the track record of the people who did the updating) I can’t comment on the KJVer’s quality, but in general I can say I hope it succeeds where others have failed. I don’t hold out much hope, however, because I consider it unlikely that we’ll ever again have a Bible translation that’s a “sleeper hit.” A new translation, or even an update, needs to achieve some pretty serious market share right off the bat, some true critical mass, before it can catch on.

      • We would love if Logos or another company made a digital version as this would be the best bible for us to read. any updates on the KJVER?

  • Mark, thank you for your posts. They really help me use my software, now if I only had more time to practice using it, I might remember more of it.

  • Trying to do this in Windows 7–but I don’t see the screen the same way you are showing it. Also, can I do this on a table?

    • Katie, I don’t have access to a Windows 7 machine… They stopped making them before I was born, I’m afraid. =)

      To be clear: top Bibles and/or Bible Priority cannot be set or configured on iOS or Android tablets using our Mobile apps. But if you have a Windows tablet, it should work.

      If I were you I would call customer service (800-875-6467). Setting your top Bibles is pretty important to using Logos. If you can’t call, send me a screenshot of your library window here.

      • I found out what happened. I thought the instructions applied to when I was actually online (logos.com). I went into the desktop application, and there were my top reference books.

        I do wish that I could have that function on a Kindle Fire, though.

Written by Mark Ward