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Christian Computing Magazine, August 2004

Scholar’s Library Goes Silver 

by Terry Wilhite

Typically when I talk about “Bible software”, the response I get from many people reminds me of a remark one of my first bosses said to me when I asked him to consider purchasing a computer to do corporate desktop publishing, which was a breakthrough idea 20 years ago. “Wilhite,” this grey-haired gentleman said to me quietly, responding to my proposal, “I have no doubt that this computer can do everything you say it can do. But the question is, can you make it happen with this computer?”

When it comes to hearing all the things Logos’ Scholars Library can do, a similar question comes up: “I hear what you’re saying about all of these fancy tools, but is this software simple enough that I can use it?” My answer: absolutely yes – with no problem! Let’s be frank. You could own all of the Bible resources on the planet, but they will do you no good unless you can access them and integrate them into your normal study and work flow. In my opinion, that’s Logos’ greatest strength, providing extremely powerful tools, yet simplifying the interface by which they are accessed.

Logos’ Scholars Library has long been the high-water mark in Bible teaching and pastoral resources, but with its new upgrade Scholars Library Silver Edition, this product hands you the key to the seminary library. Scholars Library is the ultimate in what Logos calls its Series X lineup, which with Silver now includes seven different products. The lowest priced in the lineup is Christian Home Library which lists for $149.95 and the heftiest is Scholars Library Silver which is $999. At www.logos.com you will find a very nicely done comparison grid for all the Series X products.

While not cheap, with Silver; you really can’t dream of owning anything more, although amazingly Logos continues to produce a steady diet of books and resources that can be purchased and easily installed into the software. Logos reports that there are now more than 4,000 compatible books available, and in Silver alone there are about $8,000 (in print equivalent dollars) worth included.

If you’re presently jumping between multiple Bible software programs that you own, I can’t stress enough how nice and convenient it is to have everything under the Logos’ Libronix operating system, which is now at Version 2.1b. (If you have this product and have not upgraded the OS lately, it’s something that I highly recommend. The upgrade is free and can be done via the Web, if you have reasonably fast Internet access.)

While talking about Scholar’s Silver is akin to the rat in the cheese factory (it’s difficult to know where to begin, much less where to go next) – it’s my opinion that the interface, much like an Internet web site, really is a non-issue. It’s clean, simple and easily navigated. The books are cleanly presented, just as pristine as their printed originals. But unlike their paper cousins, there’s far more power electronically because in Logos’ format, links are included in abundance that will send you scurrying in many different directions, chasing down good information. The search engine is powerful, yet offers easy-to-use advance search features that can keep your query focused. It’s also easy to create, group and file research notes for a particular study or research task that you initiate.

You’ll find that you can customize this software for your own preferences, even to the point of saving your workspace layout just the way you like. Here are some of the other features that I like:

The Word Study Guide report reads the Bible passage and generates a word-by-word guide to the passage with the underlying Strong’s number. Greek or Hebrew root-word (in script and in translation), and links to dictionary and lexicon entries for each word.

The Parallel Bible Versions report lets you display a specific passage in as many Bible translations or versions as you’d like with the results in a verse-by-verse grid for easy viewing, printing, and comparison of different translations. Passage in All Versions is a quick tool for showing a specific verse or passage in every Bible version you have.

The powerful Auto Lookup report scans the article you’re viewing, looks up all the Bible references, footnotes, etc., and collects them into one easy-to-read report. Verse List performs a similar function on web pages, compiling into a single report all Bible verses referenced on any HTML page anywhere.
You can save your workspace (including all open texts and windows) when called away, and restore it upon return. This feature also lets you manage multiple studies at once, quickly returning to where you left off in each one. An automatic History feature lets you see where your current study has taken you and quickly jump back to anything you’ve seen.

If you prefer one version of the Bible to another, you can set your preferences to favor that version. Popup windows will show biblical text in that version and searches will give it first priority. You can also list reference works (concordances, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.) in order of preference to regularly bring favorite resources to the forefront when searching.

Powerful annotation capabilities let you take notes on any part of a book. Notes can be organized automatically or you can choose to sort them yourself using the built-in outliner. You can use notes to highlight texts in various styles—glow, highlight, underline and colors.

The Exegetical Guide is a powerful tool for working with the Greek or Hebrew scriptures. It generates a custom report with roots, parsings, English glosses and more for each word in a passage, listed in passage order, creating a convenient, ready-to-print report that organizes dozens of resources around the passage you’re studying. The Lemma Report is an automated research tool that pulls together everything you want to know about a single Hebrew or Greek lemma, including relevant entries in all original language reference works and a comprehensive list of occurrences in the Bible, fully parsed. Being one who enjoys good graphs and graphics, I really like Scholar’s ability to diagram, illustrating the similarity of translation wording between Bibles in a given language fro a specific passage. The “Bible Verse Difference Rivers” report displays the difference of each version from a “base” version as it varies over the passage. (The thicker the line, the more the version differs from the base.) it is easy to graph the number of times a word occurs in a verse, chapter, book or translation, and just about any other imaginable occurrence. I found it nifty to be able to export my findings to an Excel spreadsheet.

“Verb River” lets you quickly see tense changes. The sentence diagramming function is useful and the word puzzle builder is a lot of fun. The puzzle component allows a user to construct word puzzles in multiple languages, including Greek and Hebrew, based upon a particular passage.   

It is stunning to see just how many tools and resources you get with this software. I’ve not even started to list them, so a check of this company’s web site is a must. I’ve found the Help Menu valuable, but I really haven’t had to use it often. Logos does provide DVD tutorials and working with Proctor Morris, you can take advantage of day-long seminars.

If you want to know about what I think about Scholars Library, it’s the one.

I recommended, and our church purchased for our senior pastor, as part of gifts for his 20th Anniversary with us, the Scholar’s Library and has used it just about every day since.

© 2004 by Christian Computing Magazine. Used by permission.