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Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, September 2006

Review of Scholar's Library: Silver - Logos Bible Software 3

Excerpt
"There are many Bible research programs available today and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.  One of the tremendous strengths of the Logos products is the incredible number of reference works available either in a package like this one or in separate products that can be added to one’s library.  No other program comes close to providing us with so much valuable (and searchable) material.  Anyone who spends much of their life studying, teaching and preaching the Bible will want to have this program or one of its sisters (the Scholar’s Library or Scholar’s Library Gold).  Such programs are rightfully becoming an essential part of any preacher’s (or scholar’s) tool kit."

There is far more that could be said about Logos Bible Software’s new Logos 3 and about the contents included in the newest version of the Scholar’s Library: Silver than there is space for in this review.  It comes with 520+ titles and hundreds of features that could be mentioned.  This review will limit itself to highlighting some key features of interest to pastors and preachers.  See www.logos.com/silver for the complete list of contents.

Twenty English Bibles or New Testaments are included (among them: KJV, NIV, NLT, NASB, ESV, NET, CSB, NRSV, NKJV) as well as a variety of Hebrew and Greek texts (including the NA27 and BHS) and interlinear and reverse interlinear texts to help those with limited or no knowledge of the original languages.  There is a “Bible Word Study” feature that lets one go from an English word to the Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic words that it is used to translate and from there to a wealth of information found in various resources in the Logos library, including a list of the places where those words are used in the Old or New Testament (with texts are shown in the original language and translation).  Numerous Bible dictionaries, lexicons and theological dictionaries (including the full and abridged versions of TDNT) are also included.

The program comes with a variety of search options, from simple quick searches to much more technical and advanced analyses, including new programs and databases for searching for parallel syntactical structures and words used in specific syntactical roles.  Those interested in learning or refreshing their knowledge of the biblical languages will find several Greek and Hebrew grammars to help them.

It comes with a number of commentaries, including the New American Commentary series (31 Volumes), the Bible Knowledge Commentary, Keil & Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament  (10 vols), The Pulpit Commentary (77 Volumes), The Teacher's Commentary, the New Bible Commentary, and commentaries by Matthew Henry, J. B. Lightfoot, and Warren Wiersbe. 

There are numerous books on virtually every imaginable aspect of pastoral ministry, such as preaching, prayer, administration, finances, worship, etc. (including, for example, the entire Leadership Library Series).  There are books of quotations, illustrations and sermon starters, as well as a variety of devotionals.  There are also useful books on biblical and systematic theology as well as apologetics.

There are tremendous advantages to having access to all of these works through the Logos Libronix system as opposed to buying or reading hard copies of the books.  The text size can be adjusted to suit the reader’s needs, so that any book can be seen in large or small print depending on your preference.  One can easily copy and paste from any of these works into sermon or lecture notes.  Finding favorite passages is not usually a problem since all the volumes in one’s Logos library can be searched, individually or in customized collections (e.g., your favorite commentaries or dictionaries), for words, exact phrases or more complex searches (including searches for particular topics or scripture references).  Notes and highlighting may be attached to any passage you want, and then they can be changed or deleted later if you change your mind.  Try that with a regular book! 

The user interface is fully customizable and you can have several books open at the same time, layered on top of each other with tabs at the bottom, allowing one to choose which resources should be on top at any given moment.  Different books can be linked together so that they all move along with you as you scroll through one Bible or commentary.  Key Link associations can be set up so that, for example, one click on a Greek or Hebrew word will automatically bring up the entries on that word in your favorite theological dictionaries and lexicons.

The books included within this package include both cutting-edge research tools and commentaries and some old and outdated materials (including books that are over 100 years old).  Books from the 19th century may still have some value to preachers today, but they should only be used with caution and their understanding of the biblical text should be compared with more up-to-date resources.

When deciding whether to purchase one of the Logos 3 base products (e.g., Original Languages Library, Scholar’s Library, Scholar’s Library: Silver or Scholar’s Library: Gold) it is important to consider the contents of each product that you are most likely to use and the price difference between the products in light of the cost to purchase the different desired elements piecemeal.  Some of the contents included in this Silver edition that are not found in the more basic Scholar’s Library (or the Original Languages Library) include some special morphologically tagged New Testament texts, Keil & Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary series, the New American Commentary series, The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, the English translation of the early Church Fathers (37 vols.) some systematic theologies and four volumes of sermon starters by Spiros Zodhiates.  The list price for the Original Languages Library is $419.95 and the price for the Scholar’s Library is $629.95.  The list price for the Scholar’s Library: Gold (which includes a number of commentaries and other academic reference works) is $1379.95.  Students and professors may be able to arrange academic discounts on this and other Logos products.

There are many Bible research programs available today and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.  One of the tremendous strengths of the Logos products is the incredible number of reference works available either in a package like this one or in separate products that can be added to one’s library.  No other program comes close to providing us with so much valuable (and searchable) material.  Anyone who spends much of their life studying, teaching and preaching the Bible will want to have this program or one of its sisters (the Scholar’s Library or Scholar’s Library Gold).  Such programs are rightfully becoming an essential part of any preacher’s (or scholar’s) tool kit.  

Roy Ciampa, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
South Hamilton, MA

© 2006 by Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society. Used by permission.