Do I Really Need a Logos 9 Base Package?

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Review

I’m an admitted double-minded waverer when it comes to Bible software. I recognize the convenience, the power, and the cost benefit. But I like the comfort of tangible books. Software feels ephemeral and transitory. Here today, gone tomorrow. You just never know what could happen. Am I right? Books are safe on my desk and shelves. At least, until my office floods or some disaster occurs. And I’m not easily excited by trendy stuff like “Dark Mode.”  

That’s not to say I haven’t used Bible software for years. I’ve picked, chosen, and bid my time making purchases out of opportunity and necessity. Overall, my caution has steadily decreased in time. I’ve no-doubt purchased several thousands of dollars worth of resources. But where I have held out is in moving beyond the free Logos package to a paid package that offers all the promised functionality the platform has to offer. As my former landlord used to say, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you find yourself asking, “Do I really need a Logos 9 base package?”

To my great surprise, Logos kindly gave me a review copy of the Standard Logos 9 Gold package. And I’m giving you my honest thoughts in this review. Other bloggers have posted excellent reviews on Logos 9 (Joel Arnold’s and Phil Long’s are both superb). But here’s one from a skeptic who didn’t think they would ever use a base package. Of course, I’m going to say nice things about this product. I’m a huge fan of Logos! But I will tell you what I didn’t even realize I was missing out on and how I truly believe Logos 9 will enhance my capabilities to study God’s Word. 

After downloading everything, I watched a video by Morris Proctor explaining how to use some of the features. It was amazing how his voice drew my three four kids down into the office. 1The original version of this post incorrectly stated the number of my children. They watched the video with me for fun. You would have thought we were watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but instead we were learning about the sermon manager, the sermon guide, passage guide, and how to categorize resources into helpful little folders. As busy as any of us might be, it ultimately saves time to learn how to better harness the power of Logos instead of bumbling through haphazardly. 

The Guides

The biggest game changer for me is the passage guide. To my thinking, this makes a base package worth it. You will instantly have a well-stocked library connected with all the powerful linking and searching goodness this platform can provide. This tool not only saves time, but it brings data to your attention that you would probably miss otherwise. Right now, I’m preparing a sermon on 1 John 5:1–5. By plugging that reference into the guide, Logos generates links to the specific location I need in all my commentaries, intentionally selected related passages, quick links to Bible Word Studies on key terms, relevant ancient literature, sermons others have preached on this passage (Augustine of Hippo and John Piper), and even some recommended songs that might work well in a worship service with this text. The Passage Guide is where I will go from now on once I translate and diagram my text. The Exegetical Guide does some of the same work, but also pulls in results from all your lexicons. You’ll want to experiment with the different guides to see what works best for you.    

An example of the Passage Guide in action

Speaking of guides, here’s another I wanted to comment on: The Sermon Guide. In order to get a true sense of what Logos could do, I threw caution to the wind. I decided to produce a sermon completely in the Logos ecosystem. This is not how I typically do things, but instantly creating slides within the guide has the potential to save me a ton of time on what is usually a tedious task. With this guide, you can easily create slides with Scripture references and key sermon points. For some reason, the generated slides themselves don’t always appear in the guide, at least, until I restart Logos. This could just be a bug that needs to be ironed out. There are lots of backgrounds to choose from that I can actually see myself using. And I can export straight to PowerPoint. (Maybe there will eventually be an option to also export to Keynote?) At this point in time, I don’t think the guide is where my sermon will start. I don’t see an option to search within my document and I don’t see a spellcheck function. It does make good sense to me to paste my sermon into the guide from Google Docs, where I normally write, and then I can take advantage of easy slide creation while also maintaining a record of my preaching in the Sermon Manager. It was impressive how seamlessly the manuscript I wrote on my computer could be sent to my tablet to preach on Sunday morning. And having the little timer at the top ticking off the minutes was also quite handy. 

An example of the Sermon Guide in action

The Factbook

My first test run of the Factbook quickly gave me exactly what I needed. John is talking about believers abiding in God in 1 John 4:15–16. As I was studying this passage for a sermon, I read a commentary explaining how John isn’t espousing pantheism. My average understanding of pantheism is probably enough to get by on Jeopardy, but that’s about it. So I keyed it into the Factbook to dig a little deeper. It didn’t generate a bunch of data, but it did just what I needed it to do. It directed me to a helpful article in the Lexham Bible Dictionary. I quickly found reliable information without even having to take a trip over to Wikipedia.

The Factbook entry for “Pantheism” 

Faithlife Greek Grammar Ontology

There is just so much good stuff packed in here. I’m still uncovering resources to add to my utility belt. One such nifty resource is the Faithlife Greek Grammar Ontology. James Parks went to what must have been a lot of effort to collate the coverage of Greek grammars. Arranged by term, I can get a definition and links/references to where said term appears in the grammar. If I’m craving some Aktionsart action, Parks offers a definition (see below) with locations in eleven different books that discuss the topic arranged under the headings of Beginning Resources, Intermediate Resources, and Research Resources. 

Image from Faithlife Greek Grammar Ontology

All of my Greek grammars aren’t in Logos. They’re on my top shelf at the right side of my desk. I own many of the grammars Parks cites such as An Introduction to Biblical Greek along with Mounce, Wallace, and BDF, but they are in hard copy form. Thankfully, in this digital resource, they are usually listed by entry term, chapter number, page, or section number so you can reference them in physical copies you may own.

Greek Prepositions in the New Testament

Michael and Rachel Aubrey, the linguistically motivated duo, wrote a book on Greek prepositions. And, as of right now, I’m pretty sure the only way you can get it is through Logos 9. (I tried and that’s what they told me before they gave me a review copy of Logos 9). This is a resource I plan to make regular use of. It came in handy last Sunday during my exegesis of 1 John 4:15–16 where John is talking about believers abiding in God. How do we abide in (ἐν) God? The article on ἐν covers this type of usage occurring with the verb μένω (“to remain”) and speaks of “control and influence” which makes sense in explaining what John meant. 

Image from Greek Prepositions in the New Testament: A Cognitive-Functional Description

How Does It Run?

I’m working off of a 13-inch MacBook Pro with 1.7GHz quad-core 8th generation Intel Core & processor connected to a second monitor (27″). It loads quickly. It runs blazing fast. I’ll also mention here what a benefit it is that I can sync up with my iPad. I regularly read commentaries off my iPad and highlight them, knowing that all that carries over to my computer where I can pull up those same commentaries. This isn’t a new feature, but it’s another one of the many benefits of using Bible software.

Conclusion

I don’t think I can exhaust the riches Logos 9 has to offer. There’s plenty more to explore—like the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament, Social and Historical Approaches to the Bible, and the mind-bending amount of stuff Rick Brannan produced: Research Lexicons for GNT, LXX, and Hebrew Bible plus Manuscripts of the GNT, LXX, and Hebrew Bible?! Not everyone will want these specific resources, but there is plenty that will appeal to any pastor or researcher. The platform is powerful. I’ll still use books and other resources, but I rely heavily on Logos Bible software. It’s always open on my screen since I use it for at least several hours every day. Although I’ve cobbled together my resources over the past four years, I wouldn’t advise anyone else to go that route. Start with a base package and add from there. Logos 9 is the place to start.

Purchasing through this link will give you 15% off the base packages plus five free books for first-time Logos 9 purchasers.

If you’re considering the purchase, do your research. Read other reviews. And watch this video from Faithlife summarizing the new features the latest version has to offer.

Thank you to Faithlife for providing me with a free review copy of Logos 9 Gold. I don’t think this influenced the thoughts and opinions I’ve expressed in this review. As a member of the Faithlife Affiliate Program, I also earn a commission on Faithlife purchase referrals.

Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Associate Pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.

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