On November 2, 2012, Logos Bible Software announced the release of version 5. I've had a few days to explore all of the new features in the latest upgrade and get acquainted with the resources in the newly revamped Gold package. I'm delighted to report, with Logos 5, studying God's Word is more exciting than ever.
I have been a Logos Bible Software user for more than four years now. Before 2008, most of my Bible study and research was done using a variety of printed and online resources. While a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor, it was quite time consuming, often tedious and cumbersome work, not to mention rather expensive.
Now Logos Bible Software is the starting point for all my Bible research and writing for About.com. The enormous digital library gives me one-stop, instant access to such a wealth of resources, I wonder how I managed without it before.
This review will concentrate primarily on what's new in version 5. Therefore, to gain a general understanding of the software, including pros, cons, features, and the reasons why I've given it a 5-star recommendation, I strongly suggest reading my previous review of Logos 3, and this look at What's New in Logos 4. These two documents provide an extensive outline of the great tools and rich resources available in Logos Bible Software.
Current Logos 4 users are not likely to experience a learning curve, as Logos 5 looks familiar and operates much like the previous version. Upgrade pricing from version 4 is based on your current library, so you'll only pay for the new features and books you choose. If you log into your account at Logos.com and go to this upgrade page, you can see your custom upgrade price options for the different base packages and books you can choose with Logos 5. For the new release, Logos is offering a 15% discount to all current Logos customers.
Further down, under the "Logos 5 Base Packages" section, I will discuss pricing and discounts for new customers.
What's New in Logos 5
TimelineIf you're like me and need to see events in Scripture chronologically, you'll love the new Timeline tool in Logos 5. No matter what book of the Bible you're studying, or what event you might want to place in history, the Timeline tool encompasses biblical, church and world events. You can create filters to see just the events related to your study, or you can view the full scope of time and events. Many of the resources in your digital library are flagged with Timeline links, allowing you to quickly access the tool. Likewise, by clicking on Timeline events you'll see linked resources that provide more information. You'll never be disoriented in your studies again.
Topic GuideOne of my favorite features of Logos is the Passage Guide. The new Topic Guide may now be equally valued. In my writing for About.com Christianity, I often feature articles on what the Bible says about important issues, like church discipline or suicide, for example. In a matter of seconds, the Topic Guide does the hardest part of the research for me, automatically.
If you enjoy doing topical Bible studies, this feature will dazzle you as it brings together Bible dictionary definitions to explain your topic, key verses related to your topic, other interrelated subjects in Scripture, and profiles of biblical people, places and things connected to the topic. Basically, everything in your digital library pertaining to the particular topic of study comes to your fingertips in the Topic Guide. You can even create your own notes with each topical study and save them in your documents for future reference.
Clause SearchClause Search is a new search option that helps you find exactly what you're looking for in Scripture. If you're not familiar with clause searches, you will probably want to watch theClause Search Training Video on this page. One of the cons I mentioned in my earlier review of this program is that some of its complex features get overlooked by not-so-tech-savvy people like my pastor. He admits to only tapping into a small portion of the software's capabilities. Logos solves this problem by offering great video tutorials.
I'm not ashamed to admit that to get the hang of clause searching, I had to watch the video. So, let's say you'd like to find every verse in Scripture that mentions Moses' family members. The Clause Search tool makes it easy. Likewise, a search of "Judah" by "place" will pull up every city or place associated with Judah. A search of "Judah" using "person" shows you all of the people connected with Judah. And a search of "Jesus," selecting "every reference to him" will pull up every mention of Jesus, even when he's referred to as "Christ," "Son of God," or even just "him."
Bible FactsThe Bible Facts tool is new in the sense that it pulls together into one location the previously separated Bible People, Places, Things and Event features. Using this tool is a quick and easy way to find extensive information on biblical people, places, events, objects and artifacts.
Sermon Starter GuideBased on the topic or passage of Scripture you search, the Sermon Starter Guide will present you with an array of themes and thematic outlines for preaching and teaching. It also presents related verses, commentaries, illustrations, and visual aids. While I'm not in the habit of writing sermons, this new tool seems like a handy virtual assistant for any pastor or teacher.
Bible Sense LexiconThe Bible Sense Lexicon is meant to help you better understand the meaning behind biblical words in the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages. It is concerned primarily with semantics, context, and the different nuances of meaning to biblical words. At this time, my feeling is the tool is still in development, as it only analyses nouns. I hope Logos will produce a video at some point to help users like me make better use of it. Presently, this is the only new tool I'm not sure how to integrate into my study and research.
BibliographyThe new Bibliography tool is one I find quite useful in the type of research I do for About.com. If I spend a couple of hours researching a particular topic and then decide I want to list these sources or cite them in an article, Logos 5 recalls each book I've browsed in my digital library and will create an instant bibliography from my browsing history.
Search SuggestionsThe Logos Search feature, already outstanding, is now even more intuitive. When you select the Search tool, Logos suggests a number of query options to help you perform a more targeted search.
Scripture Memory ToolI've only looked quickly at this tool, but it appears to be a fun way to learn God's Word. Once you've created a Passage List of Bible verses you'd like to commit to memory, Logos 5 will help you memorize them through a series of practice exercises and quizzes.
This review originally appeared at About.com. Used with permission.