. How to Search Your Highlights inside Logos

How to Search Your Highlights inside Logos

You can search for just about anything inside—or near or not near or intersecting or before or within four words of—just about anything else in Logos. You can even search particular highlighting styles.

I’m becoming a broken broken record record record, but Logos is for people who don’t just read their libraries but use use use them. And searching highlights is a good example of why I keep harping on this. I stumbled into a simple highlighting system many years ago, and for about the last ten years I’ve been consistently using Logos highlights as part of that system. Because Logos makes it so easy, I added just a few little refinements to it—extra colors and symbols like a bright red highlighting style that includes three question marks.

I call the highlighting style “Question Marks,” and I use it, as I explained in a recent post, for the important scholarly purpose of scrawling my disapproving emotions all over things I don’t like:

(I also use this style for marking something I’m simply not sure I agree with, or something I don’t quite understand.)

I was using my Logos library to write—graciously, delicately, and fairly, I hope—about a few things I disagree with among the writings of fellow Christians. I did not and do not buy books only by those who think agree with me in every detail. In order to find examples, I turned to the searching power of Logos. I searched for all my red highlights with question marks. Like this:

{Highlight Question Marks}

In one moment I gathered together specific results from thousands of hours of reading over the course of a decade. Apparently I’ve questioned 38 statements in my Logos library in 20 different resources, and I found precisely the examples I needed.

Preaching and rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, and though on the authority of the Bible I refuse to trust in rhetoric to persuade people (2:1–5), I also on the authority of that same Bible make sure to give thought to the rhetorical shape of my written or preached words. The very Paul who insisted that he didn’t use “lofty speech” or “eloquence” has become one of the most persuasive writers of all time in part because of his rhetoric—especially his passionate logic. He just didn’t look to the rhetorical shape of his words to persuade others but to the power of the God about whom he was writing.

So I feel not just free but bound, out of service to the sheep I shepherd when I teach the Bible, to be on a never-ending mission to gather illustrative material, one essential aspect of real-life rhetoric. I could gather all that material together into topical illustration files—as SoundFaith.com so helpfully does if you subscribe. But I read so much stuff all the time that topical filing would be burdensome. Instead I save illustrations in notes tied to individual Bible passages—and I carefully highlight anything I think will prove useful to me.

Like I’ve shown you in this post.

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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Mark Ward

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

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  • Hello,
    After reading your article, I wonder why Logos did not develop an easy way to book mark, simple like the highlighting system. You know, something like Kindle. Just click on the book mark icon and bang. . . a bookmark. I’m sorry, but I find it to be a related topic about finding a particular place of reading.
    Logos has a complicated method of bookmarking: it takes more than one click. Any suggestions…?
    Thank you.
    Al Sosa

  • As I go through my “Read the Bible in 1-Year” reading plan in the NET Bible, I’ve been highlighting in orange the things I didn’t understand or want to research later. Using this marking plan, I pulled up my NET Bible and click on the search icon. Then I type in ” {highlight orange} but I didn’t get any results. I was expecting a list of the orange passages. Perhaps this is just for multiple resources?

    (I just downloaded the free ebook. Dr. Ward uses such practical methods.

    • Glad you’ve enjoyed my ebook!

      Try “{Highlight Orange Highlighter}”

      There is an “Orange” highlighting style and an “Orange Highlighter” highlighting style. Note that the search is case-sensitive.

      • I still can’t get this to work. Using the general Search, I have “Search All Bible Text, in All Passages in the NET Bible.” (I also clicked on “All Text” to select “solid colors in the drop down box and I selected Orange). Using the Search in the NET Bible, I have “All Bible Text in All Passages.” In both cases, I was searching Bible and not Basic. I tried your suggestion “{Highlight Orange Highlighter}” with and without the quote marks. I did a copy and paste to avoid typos. Any other suggestions?

        Have I told you how much I enjoy your blogs? They are always so practical. I like the way you highlight so it’s not just a jumble of colors and designs.

        • Thanks for the kind word. Now let’s see if I can justify it with some help…

          I suspect that you’re searching for the wrong orange highlighter. Uncheck “Orange” in the dropdown box and just search for {Highlight Orange}. That gives you the solid color highlight. {Highlight Orange Highlighter} gives you the orange highlighter that looks like a real highlighter. Make sense?

          If this doesn’t work, send me a screenshot, if you would, of a passage you think your search should find, one that is highlighted in orange (you can do so here). Extra points if you can send me a shot of the exact search you ran.

  • I see that my reply is “awaiting moderation.” I have no idea what that means. I suppose I’m to do something to moderate something. What does this mean?

    • “Awaiting moderation” is standard on WordPress blogs and means that you are waiting for the blog author to approve your comment. In this case, you commented while I was asleep at 5 am; I’ve only just gotten into work on the West Coast. =)

  • Is there a way to search the Community highlights in the Logos library? I tried it in Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, but I did not see that search field. Thank you.

Written by Mark Ward