How to Use Logos Like a BibleWorks Pro

My first serious Bible software program (December, 2002) was BibleWorks, and as soon as I got it I was hooked. I persuaded dozens of others to get it, and I even became an unofficial BibleWorks trainer for about ten years. I taught multiple whole-Saturday sessions on the software. I still use BibleWorks for one ongoing project. Everyone I knew from the company was a true Christian brother and a class act. I’m genuinely sad to find out that BibleWorks is closing up shop.

I brought my BibleWorks sensibilities to Logos when, before I came to the company, I began replacing the former with the latter in my workflows. Here are some ways that I have made Logos work like BibleWorks. Those of you who have taken lots of notes in BibleWorks, in particular, will want to read on. We at Faithlife/Logos are working to help you with Bibleworks closing.

Three-Panel Layout

I still love the basic three-panel BibleWorks layout. It makes eminent sense because it represents the most basic Bible study workflow. You’ve got 1) search results on the left, 2) a “text comparison” window in the middle, and 3) the “auto-info” window providing lexical and parsing information on the right. (On wide monitors I would often use the fourth panel, which became available a few versions back. I tended to keep the “Use” tab open—like a permanent Bible Word Study in Logos.)

Logos doesn’t have permanent panels like BibleWorks (though we have pre-made layouts and you can save any number of your own custom layouts), but the basic thought-flow/workflow can be the same as BibleWorks: do your search on the left, have multiple versions open in the middle, and set up the Information pane on the right.

Another way I like to do something like BibleWorks is to use the Text Comparison window linked to my open Bible so it will update automatically (see on the left below). This tool shows me multiple Bible translations—which was always my favorite thing about BibleWorks—and has had a profound impact on my Bible study. I can put a full Bible in the middle for context; and I can keep the Information pane open, too, for original language info. (Parsing is available in a tooltip when hovering over a word, much like BibleWorks.)

Logos provides a lot of flexibility, but I find myself defaulting to the same simple layouts—inspired originally by BibleWorks.

BibleWorks Notes

I have BibleWorks notes on 4,383 separate verses, taken over many years. And many of them are long: they’re full of illustrations, sermon notes, exegetical thoughts, articles, book excerpts, and random comments from professors. I converted them to RTF a few years ago with some nerd-magic, and I now use NVAlt to access them all. There was no way to get them all into Logos without a lot of evenings spent copying and pasting, an activity my wife does not enjoy doing with me, I discovered.

But I have been granted permission to tell users that Logos is working on a plan to help you preserve your notes and data. Details are not set, but we began the discussion no later than 8 a.m. Pacific Time on the morning the BibleWorks announcement came out.

Now, BibleWorks the app isn’t dead; as long as it continues to run on your computer you’ll be able to see your notes. But I’d encourage you to go right now into your BibleWorks notes and save a backup. By default, they’re in Program Files/Bible Works 10/notes (in Mac OS X, you open Terminal and do this). You can also set BibleWorks to save your notes to a Dropbox folder to keep a running backup—that’s what I always did. Just open up the Notes tab and find the “Choose Notes Directory” button, and change the directory to something in Dropbox or another cloud service.

No matter what your future is with Bible software, do something right away to protect your notes: you don’t have to lose them. I will personally answer emails from people who need help with this. I don’t want you to lose your investment in those precious notes! I’m at mark [dot] ward [at] faithlife [dot] com.

Logos does keep notes tied to each verse, just like BibleWorks. I made a Notes file called “Wide-Margin Bible” for recording such notes. And though I never did find the time to transfer all my notes from BibleWorks (I’m really excited to see what our devs will come up with!), I type up new notes and save them in that “Wide-Margin Bible.” Just right-click on a verse and add a note.

The Command Line

I’m a nerd: I like command line interfaces. Logos tends to focus more on the graphical user interface side of things, but we do have a powerful command bar that I sense not enough users know about. I’ve written a little

But for years now I’ve been using the Bible Word Study in Logos to perform the same basic task. Admittedly, it isn’t as fast as the Use tab—because it’s doing more. But the more is precisely what attracts me to it. Of course, the Bible Word Study tool gives me easy access to all the instances of the lemma. But it also

  • tells me at a glance how a given word, such as δικαιοσύνη, is translated in my preferred Bible;
  • tells me at a second glance what other Greek words those English renderings are used to translate;
  • tells me at a third glance what Hebrew words are rendered by δικαιοσύνη in the LXX;
  • tells me what other GNT words are built off of the δικ- root;
  • links me to commentaries, which discuss the word; and
  • gives me clickable links for searching the LXX, the NT, the Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, and Philo.

And that isn’t even all. Every task the Bible Word Study tool performs for me is something I used to have to do separately before I got Logos—and a few of those tasks are only possible in Logos because only Logos has tagged the original languages of the Bible with clause information, for example. I loved the BibleWorks Use tab, and it’s what led me to appreciate the Bible Word Study.

Thank you, BibleWorks

Every time I was at a conference representing Logos Bible Software over the last few years, I snuck over to the BibleWorks booth to chat with the guys there. They were always gracious to me. One of them shared the name of a major linguist in biblical studies—he knows who he is, and I wish him the very best in using his gifts for the church. We’re all here to serve the church. And we all feel a loss: BibleWorks brought some unique strengths to the table, with its speed and its focus on a command line interface. Many Logos users have also been BibleWorks users. I’m one of them and will continue to be as long as BibleWorks works on my computer.

For specific questions about how Faithlife is seeking to help BibleWorks users preserve their data and their investment, watch the forums.

Written by
Mark Ward

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

View all articles
  • I really appreciate Logos tipping the hat to BibleWorks for the work they have done in creating software that would shape the future of how we do Bible Study. I never owned it but I did own another Bible program designed just for the biblical languages. And as a note, I never really cared to look up words, except how Mr. Ward does, especially how an author uses a work in a particular book. My goal has been to figure out how different words work with other words to create meaning.
    One of those issues is in Eph. 2:8-9 where And the question of the pronoun in v.9 arises. Is the antecedent “faith” or is the antecedent “salvation”? Is faith the gift of God, or is salvation the gift of God? As one advances in their knowledge of the biblical languages, they will learn more about the rules that govern language, but the structure of the Greek is necessary to find in other passages in order to see how it best functions. And Eph. 2 is a great example of this.
    Unfortunately, Mr. Ward never addressed looking up specific word structures, and I am curious if Logos had updated a necessary program in NT studies that allows the exegete to set their parameters specifically to a string of specific types of works, such as:
    “art. + nom. fem. noun sg. + present act. part.”
    in a book or a series of books? I have yet to find it, but if you have it then Logos will surpass all Bible programs. Gramcord was great with this but could not keep up with the technological advances. Does Logos provide a platform like that of Gramcord?

      • Ok, that’s great. But where do we get a list of all the search parameters that Logos incorporates into their search engines, whether it be Basic, Bible, Media, Clause, Morph, or Syntax? I have used Logos for 7 years and this is the first time I saw this; and I took a college level Logos class, and these search parameters were never discussed.

        • I do myself have to use the wiki sometimes to remind me about how to run specific searches. The ones I run regularly I have memorized. The page you want is linked to from every search panel you call up:

  • I also appreciated the acknowledgement by Mr. Ward of BibleWorks10. I’ve been a user since BW4.0 and have come to rely on its resources for some time. I have been able to customize layouts within Logos 7 that also approximate my settings in BibleWorks. The example shown in this blog was interesting but did not quite rise to the level of my own settings.

    BibleWorks10 Display settings:

    I’m hoping that my google drive shareable link will display on this post.
    That is the kind of resources I’d like to be able to display in Logos 7

    If the image does not show, I’ll have to describe verbally what is there so here goes and hoping that the link will display properly.

    • Scott, Logos works a little bit differently, but basically this can be done. We’re talking here about doing a little more to help users approximate BibleWorks with a layout. I’m not sure what form that help will take, but stay tuned.

  • Mr. Ward,
    Is there a plan to provide a crossover package? I’m likely to buy Accordance within days, otherwise. I know many BibleWorks users like me would like a straightforward way to purchase a comparable Logos package, and are waiting for you guys to provide one. You’d have me (and many others) as instant customers, who might later add larger libraries as we need to, if you’d give us an easy way to migrate without spending double or triple what we paid for BibleWorks, with tons of resources we don’t want.

  • I used BibleWorks throughout seminary and it helped me to develop a passion for the study of Sacred Scripture. I transitioned to Logos/Verbum about 4 years ago, which has been wonderful. I’m grateful to BibleWorks for getting me started with biblical research, but just as grateful to Logos for continuing to challenge me.

  • Hello! I’m just testing Logos out as a long-term BibleWorks user. How do you get the view you have in the second image there – with multiple versions shown in the same window? I’ve been grappling for a while with no success yet…

    Thank you!

    • That’s the Multiple Resources tool, and this is how you turn it on. Open a Bible and do this:

      There’s also the Text Comparison tool, which you get to through the Tools menu.

      • Excellent, thank you, that’s really helpful. That Multiple Resources tool doesn’t seem to exist in Logos 7 Basic (which I guess is the free trial version essentially?) but I suppose it would in any version I purchased…?

Written by Mark Ward