Considerations and Hints for Getting Started with Logos

by | May 23, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

TLDR;

  • Consider how you plan to use Logos regularly.
  • Consider how different Logos platforms will support your reading, study, and research objectives.
  • Consider the Logos library size needed to support your reading, study and research objectives.
  • Hint 1: Watch (the rewatch) the QUICKSTART videos.
  • Hint 2: Get familiar with Logos terminology.
  • Hint 3: Know where to find help.

Logos Bible Software is a tool that combines a digital resource library indexed to an integrated set of tools and features that support the study of scripture, theology, biblical events, places, and things, and original languages.  Its broad functionality and potential cost can be intimidating.  One of the most common questions we see on the Facebook Group Logos Tips and Tricks is from overwhelmed newcomers asking:  When getting Logos, where do I start? 

In the diagram below, I attempt to visualize how Logos can progress to your preferred level of use.   While the program supports anything from basic, personal study to dissertation-level analysis, their graduated list of features can blend with a tailored personal library to match your specific needs.  Most of us live in the first three stairs and depending on how far you want to progress, you can tailor your features and resources accordingly.

Three Considerations for Using Logos

As you start on your own Logos journey, I have three (3) considerations that will impact how you use and leverage Logos for your particular needs followed by three (3) tips to quickly get started. 

First, consider your plans for use

Logos is designed to support anything from basic, personal study to advance original language research and seminary analysis – in a way that can save you time in Bible study.  For those that would just like an interlinear translation (e.g. modern language translation keyed to the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts), Starter and above Logos packages provide a nice integrated toolset that maps language to commentaries, lexicons, Bible dictionaries, and other translations. 

Basic Study Objectives

If you have very basic study objectives, a preferred bible translation and the Faithlife Study Bible will easily get you started.  Logos adds to this set by making it easy to open/compare different translations and linked access to the baseline Lexham Bible Dictionary.  The Logos 9 expanded Factbook Tool also represents an excellent feature to easily drill down on details related to biblical persons, places, things, and events.  A basic set of resources will provide background on most topics, but the level of detail or getting different perspectives will be limited.    If you are brand new to the bible, then the Bible Study Guide is one of several structured workflow tools that guide you through a traditional study process and link you to applicable Logos features related to a specific passage. 

Group Teaching and Lesson Development

If you are teaching a small group or larger bible study, plugging into multiple translations and several solid commentaries will help with the efficiency and quality of your preparation.  The Passage Study Guide is a helpful aid to organize your personal library and display relevant material against a passage in a matter of seconds (commentaries, word usage, cross-references, harmonies, etc.).  Additional guides associated with theology, exegesis, word study, and topics are also available and can assist in more in-depth study.   Base package options now become more important given the need for additional depth of study available through these more robust libraries. That said, you can still target a small set of high-quality resources with a smaller library if you know exactly what you need.

More Advanced Study and Research

For original language study, you don’t have to be a seminary professor or pastor.  Anybody can study the underlying Greek and Hebrew language details with resources and tools available for Logos.  The Bible Word Study is under the Guide menu and can also be accessed with a right-click on a specific word (that brings up a tailored Context Menu).  Selecting a word and initiating the Bible Word Study enables in-depth details of individual words and their use.  Advanced search features also allow you to filter, tag, and assess the contextual use of original language elements.  The Text Comparison tool shows multiple versions of the same passage to quickly see how different translations cover a specific word or verse. 

Second, consider how the different Logos software platforms will support your reading, study, and research objectives. 

After considering your plans for Logos, the next issue should be what platform can facilitate your goals. 

Desktop vs Web-based Option

The desktop application provides the most powerful means to efficiently access Logos as a study tool.  For taking sermons or conference notes, I use my Microsoft Surface Pro.  With desktop functionality, my verse references allow me to quickly jump to that location or hover over the hyperlink to see the full verse in my preferred bible.  Right-click access via the Context Menu gives quick access to verse, word, and search options. 

While I prefer the Desktop, I’ve been amazed at how the web-based application (https://app.logos.com) has progressed over the past four years.  For my basic, daily study it more than meets my need to access my preferred bible, daily devotional, prayer resources, and a personal prayer list.  Commentaries are easily accessible if I decide to look at one or several different exegetical or application perspectives. 

Mobile Options

While mobile device options continue to grow and give me access to my entire library along with popular features, I most efficiently navigate Logos for serious study by using the desktop application. My iPad does provide an excellent tablet option for reading and highlighting individual resources, but lacks the full feature set and easy menu access.  Mobile options continue to expand with more training and videos to support their use.  I don’t preach, so I can’t comment on use as part of sermon prep and delivery.

Third, consider the appropriate size of your library

Library size will determine the extent and diversity of your study.  The power of Logos lies in the ability of software features to access, sort, and organize the details associated with your indexed personal library.  With Logos, you can quickly dive into a detailed theological topic or biblical passage study in seconds—allowing you to efficiently scan a broad range of material and focus your study.  

Do you need a big library?

Does Logos need thousands of resources to be useful?  Not at all, but it will limit the depth and range of your indexed results for passage and themed study.  Don’t be afraid by getting started small and looking for tailored resources that fit your interest and study goals.  I’ve built my library based on package discounts, monthly sales, and selective purchases—often purchasing a deeply discounted book that is part of a series.  I normally add 30+ resources to my library each year just by taking advantage of periodic free offerings of Logos resources and Faithlife eBooks from recurring giveaways. 

Which base package level should you buy?

It really depends on what you would like to do with Logos.   For a diverse and robust library, I think a generic Silver Package is a solid option and you can expand.  The Gold package will include the full feature set.  The feature set details and how you plan to use the software will really drive the final decision.  I would consult with a knowledgeable person who understands Logos and your specific goals to drill down on comparison options. 

Three Quick Hints for Getting Started

OK.  Now that we’ve talked about considerations related to your planned use of Logos, the different platforms available, and the issue of library size, the question of getting started is next.  This topic deserves its own article to discuss basic functionality, essential elements, and cool features.  For now, I have three recommendations for getting started for new Logos users. 

First, watch—and re-watch the Logos QUICKSTART videos

The Morris Proctor QUICKSTART video series are short video starter sessions produced by Morris Proctor and are available in all Logos packages.  QUICKSTART is the BEST way to initiate your use of Logos.  This 90-minute series won’t cover all the Logos desktop details but is an excellent overview and a great choice if you need a refresher I would recommend you try to duplicate the exercises and re-watch the videos to reinforce popular tools and features You should also consider signing up for Moe’s monthly webinars.  Available free of charge, these live sessions cover a specific topic and are made available for a limited time for anyone that registers.  They are excellent.  I personally subscribe to MPSeminars for access to hundreds of Moe’s videos and recordings of weekend live-training sessions

Second, get familiar with the Logos terminology. 

Find and review references that help get familiar with the Logos views, icons, and menus.  I could not find a good comprehensive review of Logos terminology, so I built my own notes and published a video.  The Logos 9 Getting Started – YouTube is a quick introduction video that reviews jargon associated with the instrument panel (main menu), the Logos 9 panel menu, and their embedded icons.  Please continue to get familiar with the terms by watching this video or other Logos training options. QUICKSTART also uses the same terminology, so those videos reinforce the use of terms and features. 

Third, tap into your own personal helpdesk.  

For Facebook users, consider joining the Logos Tip and Tricks group (Logos Bible Tips and Tricks | Faithlife | Facebook).  This group has over 10,000 members and is an awesome place to ask both very basic and extremely advanced questions.  Don’t struggle for 30 minutes to find a very basic feature when folks are happy to answer questions on this page.  I’ve been part of the group for four years and it is a terrific helpline—a community of believers helping each other with topics ranging from the very basic to Greek geek speak.  Can’t figure out what you did to turn off your resource scrolling feature? In a couple of minutes, someone will tell you to look at the column setting in the panel menu. 

I hope you have found these considerations and hints helpful as you are getting started on your own Logos journey. Logos is an amazing tool to support biblical literacy and spiritual growth, but like any capability with extensive capabilities, you need to get familiar with the functionality, be comfortable with the terminology, and patiently practice using the tool.

Kirk Streitmater

Kirk is a retired Air Force officer and 2021 graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary. He became an avid Logos user while completing his MA in Christian Leadership at the Washington DC campus.  During the height of COVID, he developed and taught a Logos introduction course and continues to coach those seeking to learn and leverage the power of Logos.  He personally uses a Gold+ package heavily augmented with seminary resources and also maintains a basic package profile for training new Logos users.  He’s made several YouTube videos and posts much of his own personal Logos training material on the hagiazo.net website. 

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