The difference between this . . .
. . . and this . . .
. . . consists largely in the skill with which the latter photographer used the complicated tools on his SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera—and the complicated software tools used for post-production.
Likewise, the difference between an adequate sermon or Bible study and an excellent one may come down to the time you put in understanding and using the tools you have—including, preeminently, Logos Bible Software. Here are five ways you can begin to master Logos features so you can move from Logos novice to Logos pro.
1. Use “auto mode” until you need to do more
I happen to have an SLR; I’ve even made enough money to pay for it several times over by taking photographs at churches and a few weddings (I’ll never do the latter again—too stressful!). And I have a secret I am revealing publicly for the first time: I never leave auto mode. To use auto mode is not an absolute shame. It is a rational response to the complexity of the SLR and the time and mental energy I have.
There’s an “auto mode” in Logos, too. Any time you want, you can just type a Bible passage into the Go Box on the software home page and click “Go.” Logos will look up commentaries, cross-references, and parallel passages. It will open up the passage in your top Bible—and, in a “Text Comparison” window, in your top Bibles, plural. Then you can just start clicking and see what you find:
It is not a shame to use “auto mode” in Logos. But, as with an SLR, auto mode has distinct limitations. If you do Bible study and/or sermon preparation more often than I take professional photographs (and I sure hope you do), you should go beyond the Go Box.
2. Poke around avidly
Maybe you should use my own method of learning any software program: I poke around avidly. I usually can’t help myself. I look at every menu item, I right click everywhere and see what options I get, and I start to build up an awareness of what my new app can do. In two months I might not remember precisely how to do everything I learned during my avid poking, but I do tend to remember that the program can do those things, and I become proficient at the things I do regularly.
3. Ask a friend (perhaps on the forums)
Most top-five lists on the Internet deal in platitudes, but I still wonder if my third point is truly as commonplace and obvious as it should be. Do you have a friend who can answer quick Logos questions? One of the things I still do, even as a Logos Pro, is watch the way other people use the software. They’re always coming up with great ideas.
The forums are full of people like this. And let me let you in on another secret: the people on the forums are crazy about Logos. Legend has it there are several people—we call them Forum MVPs—who can exegete two different Bible passages at once, one with each eye. Make sure you’re logged in to your Logos account and go check out the forums. Post a good question and the forum participants will be all over it.
4. Go to Camp Logos
Especially if you are the kind of person for whom avid poking around always ends in frustration, Morris Proctor is your guy. His Camp Logos goes at a pace suited for people who often feel like they’re all thumbs on a computer. He also provides many training resources you can use right in Logos.
Morris is upbeat and encouraging; he trains pastors (and others) to use Logos because he was so helped by using Logos himself when he was a pastor. And he has massive experience: he has been training Logos users since 1998.
5. Take our free 10-day training course
For the first time in history, there is an entire team of people with academic biblical studies training and ministry experience who are dedicated to putting out free training materials for Logos Bible Software users.
Cue stirring musical score . . . We’re called the Logos Pros (echo, echo, echo). And we have an entire page of free training videos available to help you become a pro, too. I have done a lot of Bible software training in my time. I have used all the major platforms and trained others to do the same. And one thing I realized a long time ago was that it is a lot more enriching and useful for trainer and trainees to cover real-life use-cases rather than simply ticking off a laundry list of features.
So that’s what our videos do. They aim at some kind of theological or exegetical pay-off along with teaching whatever Logos tool they’re focused on. If you watch the video on the Psalms Browser tool, you’ll learn something about the Psalms. If you watch the video on the Text Comparison tool, you’ll gain an insight from the contrasts between different Bible translations.
The best thing the Logos Pros have done for Logos users—and the very best way I know for you to take your use of Logos to the next level—is the 10-Day Bible Study Challenge. It’s free, it can be delivered to your inbox daily for a month, and it takes you through the inductive Bible study stages of observation, interpretation, and application as you study a portion of Matthew 4.
You can still get a lot out of auto mode, poking around, and asking friends. But I promise you will learn something new and useful if you sign up for the 10-Day Challenge. You can’t know what you’re missing in your Bible study until you try.
Learn more about the Logos Pro’s free 10-day training course or sign up below.
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.