Logos Bible Software

Since 1994 I've done sermon prep' and personal study with books piled high on my desk. Various Bible translations, a Greek text, systematic theologies, Bible dictionaries and other study aids would clutter my work space leaving me with just enough flat desk area to write. I liked that aesthetic and experience. It made me feel like I was putting in the time and effort needed to get somewhere in my study. But now Logos Bible Software has come into my study and with one big sweep shoved most of that stuff off the desk-- and int0 my Mac. I'll cut to the chase and say what you probably already know I'm going to say. I love Logos Bible software. It's easy to use, it works well, it's quick, and they have an unbelievable amount of amazing resources to add on. I have the Scholars Library: Gold edition (check out the resources here) and added on John Owen's 7 volume commentary on Hebrews. I was preaching through Hebrews at the time. Now, I've had Owen's mamma-jamma on Hebrews for over 10 years, but having it synced into my Bible Study software along with the more ciritcal commentaries like NIGTC on Hebrews made me a little giddy. But what I love the most is that it saves me time,  by giving me something like an assistant, so that I can devote myself to the more important, and harder work.

Let me explain it like this. Logos takes care of the time consuming work of pulling great resources and collecting relevant materials and affords me more time to spend on the much more difficult work of thinking. Honestly, for many it's easy to feel like we're getting somewhere in our study just by virtue of opening books, sticking in post it notes, pulling quotes, etc. But that's not the hard part. It's just time consuming. The hard work, the real work, is meditating on, and thinking and praying through the biblical text. It's weighing the arguments of other authors. Logos gives me more time for this harder and more fruitful work.

So, yes I love my Logos Scholars Library: Gold. It doesn't do the hardest work for me. I still have to wrestle with the text. I must continue to labor in heart and mind with what God has revealed and other men have written. But Logos gives me more time for that.

Now that I have told you that I love it and you should buy it, I should also tell you that there is one major problem with the software. No, I'm not talking about the fact that the Mac version doesn't have every single feature the PC versions have. I'm not even talking about the price. (Boom.) I'll deal with these things. The worst part of Logos Bible software is the overly long, heavenly/tinkley piano music that plays when I launch the program. It's like 20 seconds of what I imagine a Thomas Kinkade painting would sound like, if it could make music.

Seriously, check out Logos Bible Software. You can also check out Ed Stetzer's more thorough review at his blog.

EDIT: I forgot. Looks like something cool for the iPhone is on the way.

Driscoll on Bible Study

Bible Study MagazineBible Study Magazine has a great story on Mark Driscoll, founder and Preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The article focuses on Mark's thoughts on Bible study and it's worth a read.

Mark believes that bible study should not only happen at Mars Hill, but that anywhere people are willing to listen and dialog it's appropriate to open the Scripture and get to work. This approach has led him to a lot of places many would fear to go - and some would object to.

I’ve preached and led Bible studies in all kinds of places. I’ve even preached in bars. I preached at happy hour one time in the University District of Seattle. The bar owner asked me to come and preach to all the college guys drinking beer, so I did. I did a short sermon. Then I did q & a with a bunch of drunken frat guys, which was fun. I’ll preach anywhere, anytime. If it’s a round trip ticket to preach in hell, I’ll take it—as long as it’s round trip. I’ve preached at cult meetings. I have taught and answered questions at all sorts of bizarre churches. I’ve sat down with Native American shamans. I’ve done a Bible study with witches just to answer their questions.

For the record, I think we should be willing to go wherever we can get a valid hearing. Mark is a good example to us all here.

Mark goes on to share some of his thoughts on Bible study, and how to get the most out of it. He encourages others to:

1. Use the right tools: a good translation for primary use, additional translations, concordance, Bible dictionary, commentary, etc. 2. Learn to make the connection to Jesus: All of Scripture leads us to Christ. Mark says the difference between Bible reading and study is making this connection. 3. Examine yourself: Bible study should impact mind, heart and attitude. It is not about accumulating knowledge. 4. Draw application to real life: Much of the bible is written from and addresses times of suffering as well as joy. Drawing relevant application from the truths and principles of Scripture requires some Q&A both internally for the individual and verbally for the community. This is why Mark began Mars Hill with Q&A built into the worship service. The church still manages to pull this off, but via text messaging due to size and multiple campuses.

It's a good article worth reading. Check out Bible Study Magazine here. You'd also do well to read Mark's books. Be sure to check out Vintage Jesus, Death by Love, and Vintage Church.