Today is the big day that many have been waiting years for. (Logos version 4 L4) has been released along with new collections of resources, including a new Platinum collection that will have many salivating! In today’s review I want to focus on Galatians (of course) and show you what is new with the program and some of the new resources. I will assume that all of you are familiar with Logos version 3 (L3). If not you’ll just have to jump in. Logos 4 is a completely new version from the ground up and can be run on the same computer as L3. For now you will want to run both versions because some of the features of L3 are not yet available in L4.
I first draw your attention to the new layout. You can see that it is quite different. The whole thing has a dynamic layout that will change daily, highlighting new content. In the example picture you can see the various articles and pictures that they place on it. Note that this is page 5/6 so there is a lot of material. Also note the ribbon at the top which scrolls sideways. In the example it has yesterday’s lectionary reading followed by preferred Bibles and reading lists. It is quite customisable and many things can be added there. My shout out to Galatians is the Outcome to the Jerusalem Council excerpt. All of the pictures, excerpts and devotionals are clickable and will take you to the book.
The next picture shows you the new (unfinished) Lexham English Bible which Logos has created. It is a fairly “literal” translation edited by W. Hall Harris III. You can also see the new interlinear feature which appears at the bottom of the page and can be toggled on and off. Everything you need (and more) is included there. Of course, Bibles can be scrolled simultaneously just as in L3 and notes appear in pop up windows.
As in L3 right clicking on a word will bring up a number of options that you can chose. The example below shows the word “law” in Galatians 3:19. You see it provides morphology and links to a number of books that might be of help (including TDNT and BDAG if you own them) This also provides a short cut to search, which we will look at next.
The search ability of L4 has been much improved for those of you who enjoy searching your entire library for a subject. For example, it took less than two seconds to find over 60,000 instances of “Galatians” in my entire library. Obviously that is somewhat overwhelming! You can also search more specifically. For example, “Galatians AND Antioch AND Peter AND Barnabas” will narrow the focus down somewhat.
Of course you can search all of your Bibles for any word or string of words either one at a time of collectively. Here is an example of a search for “Antioch” in all Bibles displayed as a grid. You can also display it as a list of verse by translation or as an inline concordance.
L4 allows you to search based on morphology in either Greek/Hebrew or those English Bibles which have reverse interlinears (ESV, LEB, NASB, NKJV, NRSV; Logos LXX, LXX). These searches are quite fast.
The fourth type of search available in L4 is the syntax search. Andersen-Forbes is available for the Hebrew and Opentext.org and Lexham for the Greek along with their new Cascadia Syntax Graphs. Here is a syntax graph (not a search) of Galatians 3:20 in Cascadia. If you don’t understand what all the letters stand for, don’t worry you can hover over them for a definition.
The focus in L4 seems to be on making the Bible more visual. We have already noted the home page. Several new features have been added which provide new visuals and make it easier to view existing visual resources. There are three tools for accessing such information: Biblical People, Biblical Places, and Biblical Things. If you want to see maps of Galatia you would look under places and it would provide a listing of all resources that have been tagged in this manner. I am currently getting six maps from Logos, Baker and Tyndale. It also provides a list of passages related to Galatia and links to dictionary articles on Galatia that are available in your library. Hovering over the link will bring up the beginning of each article as can be seen in the following picture.
Logos is also quite proud of their new Infographics resource which provides information in graphic form. This includes basic things like measurement conversion and comparison of Goliath’s height to ordinary people to more complex drawings of Jacob’s well and the tabernacle and its articles.
Bible Word Study
A powerful tool in L3 is the Bible Word Study. This has been improved in L4 and is even more powerful and visual. When you study a hapax legomena the results are not very exciting although they do confirm its rarity.
Put in a more popular word such as “law” and suddenly the excitement begins! It shows all the Hebrew words translated as nomos in the LXX as well as the relationship between nomos and other words. It also graphically shows preposition use and clicking on a preposition will bring up all the relevant passages.
Notice that at the bottom it lists the number of times nomos appears in the LXX, Fathers, Josephus and Philo. L4 does not yet have the ability to provide results from the OT Pseudepigrapha so you will have to continue using L3 for that.
L4 keeps your Logos installations synchronised. For example, if you change the settings on your office computer your home computer will be automatically updated to the same settings. This is very handy for those who make modifications to their favourites, reading lists, etc. Logos really wants to make it easy for users to make use of their library on more than one computer. I’m no user of Apple iProducts but it looks like L4 will also be able to sync with your iPhone.
All of this is great stuff and reason to take a look at Logos. However no software is perfect (yet) so it would be remiss of me not to mention a few things where Logos is making improvement but things aren’t yet perfect. As a beta tester I have seen a lot of improvement in these areas and expect them to continue to do so.
L4 was pushed out the door in order to be available for the SBL meeting, among other things. Therefore it does not yet incorporate many of the features from L3 such as a PBB reader and the sermon add-in. They have promised that most (but not all) will be available in the near future. You can check out the list of missing features here.
As mentioned, L4 will index all resources on your computer and provide very fast searching. However, searching for a single word in a Bible or all Bibles will take much longer than L3, ranging from seconds to quite some time depending on the speed of your computer.
Before L4 can search your library with lightning speed it must index all of your resources. This could take a very long time depending on the size of your library and the speed of your computer. Mine currently takes about five hours but some have reported times twice that. As things currently stand adding a new resource will cause it to create a supplementary index but to include it in the main index everything must be redone. The index also takes up substantial HD space. My library consumes 14.8 GB and my index is an additional 5.62 GB. This means I cannot install it on my work computer because it simply doesn’t have enough room.
Although the focus in Logos4 was to make it more visual to get the most out of the program you will have to memorise long lists of esoteric commands to enter into the Command/Shorcuts bar. For example if you want to view the English Bibles in your library you need to enter “type:Bible lang:English” before it will display (only) those. Once you memorise the list of types this will be a powerful tool. Or you can guess that “type:dictionary” will list all your dictionaries and you would be right. Logos obviously wanted to produce a clean interface and they succeeded, but at the cost of users spending a lot of time looking at the help file to get started. It is well past time that Logos provided purchasers with a user guide again. Version 2 came with a paper one but that is ancient history and surely Logos could produce a digital version.
Is Logos4 worth upgrading for? You don’t need to wait because as with all Logos Bible Software the program itself is a free upgrade. Given that it it totally independent of L3 you would be crazy (or short on HD space) not to download the new version. Get on over there! You only pay if you want to purchase new books in the packages that they offer. You can click through the link to see how the new packages line up with what you currently own and enter your user ID in order to see how much it will cost you to upgrade.
In the interest of full disclosure as a member of the beta team I received an upgrade from my current base package to the newer corresponding L4 base package. But like you I will be looking over the resources in the new Platinum package and counting my pennies to see if it is worth upgrading. I write this on Saturday evening and as I have moved and won’t have Internet until next Wednesday I can’t yet tell you if I have upgraded to Platinum. If Logos’ past offerings are anything to go by you will want to jump on this if you are a Bible college or seminary student or if you are in pastoral ministry or teaching. I just spent two days carrying books as I moved and my back thanks God for Logos! Seriously!!
P.S. Here is a stock shot provided by Logos to bloggers or their new tab feature listing resources for Galatians 3:1-29. Way to go Logos!