Pastors are sometimes forced to squeeze their sermon prep into odd time slots, but that’s what lay leaders must always do. Lay leaders work full-time jobs and have families. I’ve been on both sides of the altar; I know the pressures.
I have stayed up till 1:00, sometimes 2:00, on Saturday nights preparing; I had a good friend who for years got up at 4:00 a.m. on Sundays to prep for his class. Needless to say, I rely heavily on my Bible study tools—and I want to lay out the basics of what Logos can do for the 1:30 a.m. Bible student.
Before I tell you three things Logos 8 does for lay-level Bible teachers, I have to clarify something. I’m assuming here that you’ll get the Silver package, which, as I’ll explain in a moment, is what I recommend as a starting place for people who teach the Bible but aren’t pastors.
Now the three things Logos can do for you:
1. Logos gives you one good evangelical commentary on each book of the Bible.
Study Bibles are great, and you get the Faithlife Study Bible with the Silver package, but commentaries are what you really need for answering questions and finding insights. I helped a little bit with the formation of the packages, and one of my goals was to make sure that the Silver package had one good commentary on every book of the Bible.
It does: the Tyndale Commentary set. This is an excellent set, highly ranked on bestcommentaries.com, and it doesn’t require Greek or Hebrew knowledge. My favorites are the volumes by Kidner. I never fail to get understanding and insight, and even a quotable line from him.
The best price I could find online for both sets new was $360 for the OT and $280 for the NT. That’s $640 (Amazon was noticeably higher), and that’s actually within striking distance of the cost of the entire Silver package.
There are other commentaries in Silver that are worthwhile for the Bible teacher: Barclay’s New Daily Study Bible is one. And I personally have profited multiple times from two volumes on the Psalms from Waltke, Houston, and Moore, both of which are in Silver.
And don’t forget to factor in the value of flexibility and portability: a commentary is worth more to me in Logos because Logos flips its “pages” for me automatically to the spot I want, and because all my commentaries are available to me anywhere I go on my mobile devices.
2. Logos gives you the Bible reference works you need to be a responsible teacher.
I don’t pretend to know something if a student’s question stumps me. Here’s a real-life question I was asked that I thought I should know but didn’t: “Is Baal one god or were there lots of Baals?” If I get a question like this, I say, “I’m not sure, but I’ll look it up.” But I try to preempt those questions by looking things up in advance.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary is a massive resource with 7,000 useful articles full of links to more information. It was specifically designed to contain a sort of abstract, an editor’s summary, at the top of each entry for quick reference. The Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels is a brand new resource which provides expert help on geographical, physical, and cultural features of ancient Israel which illuminate passages in the Gospels.
People don’t only ask questions about Bible facts but about Bible words. I generally have Logos with me for all my teaching, and if someone wants to know what a given word (in English, Greek, or Hebrew) means, I’ve got easy access to answers. I can use dictionaries from Merriam-Webster for English to the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament for Greek and Brown-Driver-Briggs for Hebrew.
I can also run a Bible Word Study on any word in any of those languages. This gives me usage information I can use to make my own observations.
(Oh, and by the way, the answer to my student’s question was basically that there’s one Baal with various local manifestations. Here is what the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary says.)
3. Logos gives you powerful search functions so you can really use your library.
I have Kindle books and print books and iBooks. I’ve had friends with Nook books and Kobo books and even one with the Rocket eBook, released in 1998, which could store a whopping ten volumes readable on an LCD screen. To my knowledge (though I can’t check up as well on the technologies I haven’t used personally), you can’t search your whole library in any of those formats. You can search only one book at a time.
Think how limiting this is if you’re studying the Bible. If you want to study Habakkuk 2:4, it’s laborious if you have to search one book at a time for mentions of that passage. It’s easier than easy with Logos, because the Logos Passage Guide searches your books for you—whatever passage you’re teaching on, type it in and Logos runs around your library gathering everything relevant for you.
Searching the Bible is, of course, very important, too. And there’s no denying that Google already does a good job. It finds words in Scripture, across translations, very well—just like Logos. But there are at least two reasons Logos is a better tool for a serious Bible student.
First, Logos can find more than just words; it can find concepts. It can find meaning. Search for “Eve” online and Google assumes you want to know about a rapper and an online game more than you want to know about the Bible character. It also can’t find places in the Bible where Eve is referred to as “the woman” or as “[Adam’s] wife.” Logos can find all these. Logos can also find “Peter” near “Jesus” rather than just right next to it. Logos searches carry precision power.
Second, what can you do with a verse once Google has found it for you? Not much. But in Logos you can right-click and run a word study, glance at the information window for word definitions, start up the exegetical guide for word-by-word information, pull in visual filters to show off figurative language, and compare your favorite translations.
Powerful tools for busy people
Teach one poorly prepared lesson and, most likely, the faith, hope, and love of your Sunday School class will not be shattered. A single “bad” message from an otherwise faithful teacher is unlikely to do much harm (though please don’t test my hypothesis on purpose).
But even a single sound, well-studied biblical message can do great good. It has for me anyway, and all my close friends.
Logos can’t make you love God or neighbor, can’t give you wisdom to choose the right illustrations, and can’t decisively answer every question you ever have or receive. But if you teach the Bible, even if you’re not a pastor, Logos can assist you to speak with confidence and from a well of knowledge (cf. Rom 10:2). Logos gives busy people the best and most powerful tools for Bible teaching.
Ready to go deeper with your Bible study? Check out Logos, a powerful, professional Bible study platform fine-tuned to take you from the initial spark of insight to sharing biblical truth with others. Discover how Logos will transform your Bible study—visit our website or call (888) 670-3148 to get a personalized recommendation today.
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