How I use Logos

The most efficient way to study Scripture.

Rather than just discuss the new features in Logos 9, I thought you might appreciate knowing how I use Logos for researching the kingdom of God.

To be honest, I don’t use most of the features in Logos, just as you don’t use most of the features in Microsoft Word. I use a simple layout with everything at my fingertips:

  • The left pane is the Scripture I’m studying, with a tab for each translation. They’re linked so they scroll together (indicted as Set A on the tab).
  • The next pane has another copy of the Bible, not linked: I use this for comparing other Scriptures, parallel passages, OT allusions/quotations, etc. It also has tabs for a Greek New Testament and a Hebrew Old Testament, linked to set A.
  • The narrow pane on the right has the Info tool for showing information on whatever word I mouse over, and the Copy Verses tool for copying a passage to paste into the Microsoft Word document I have open on the other monitor.

Next time I start Logos, it opens this layout to whatever Scripture I was studying last time. This is already faster than opening paper books.

See the parallel passages under the heading in the NIV above? Pausing the mouse over Mark 11:1-10 displays those verses. Pausing over the footnote in verse 5 displays Zechariah 9:9.

Right-click any word (e.g. Hosanna) for a myriad of options such as opening a dictionary or a lexicon. Naturally the choices available depend on what books you’ve bought.

Because you can find and open the lexicon in a fraction of a second, you do. An hour or two in Logos could be the equivalent of a day’s work with paper books.

In fact, the software opens up possibilities that have never existed before. Logos can search my entire library (around 40 bookshelves) for a phrase such as kingdom of God in a similar time it would take you to search one page manually. That opens up ways to identify cognate expressions and then compare/contrast how different groups have understood the kingdom in different eras: Judaica, church fathers, middle ages, reformers, enlightenment, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, … What would have been years of research could be a few mouse clicks today.

The software gives answers, but it cannot tell you the questions. That only comes from immersing yourself in the literature so you can hear what was being said in their culture, in their world, with their questions. Only then are you read to translate those answers into our time and our culture. The software isn’t a substitute for hard work; it just multiplies the effectiveness of your hard work by orders of magnitude.

After translating, I want to understand what others say about this text. You could use the built-in Passage Guide, but I created a Collection of commentaries on Matthew, sorted by how I rate them. Clicking any entry opens that commentary to the text I’m working on, or I can search the collection for a phrase such as “suffering Son of Man”.

I also have a Collection for journals I find helpful for exegetical work, so I can search for journal articles that refer to a passage such as <Matt 21:1-10>. Where Kindle would return only an exact text match, the tagging in Logos means it recognizes 21:9 as in the range:

I’m seeking to recover understandings of the kingdom that have been lost over time, I want to find intertextual references in the ancient literature, the church fathers, and Jewish sources. The Ancient Literature Guide helps me find these:

At this point, I’ve spent a couple of hours translating, understanding the words in their world, checking the commentaries and ancient sources. Now I’m ready to prayerfully digest what God said, finding the language to express what the King has said in ways that communicate to our time and culture, so we can live as his kingdom people today.

That’s just one example of how I use Logos on my computer every day. At the same time, I have several books open on my phone, reading them when I’m not at my desk.

Summary

I use Logos because nothing else stacks up. There is no better library available. There is no other way to take 40 bookshelves with me each time I enter a classroom, an office, or a plane. There is no other way to instantly search those shelves of books for a specific phrase or Bible reference. One hour of research in Logos lets me explore questions that would literally have taken weeks in previous generations.

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview College Dean

One thought on “How I use Logos”

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