Logos 9! New features, new books. Enough for an upgrade?

Logos 9 is out! What are the new features? What improvements have been made? Is it worth upgrading? Read the review and judge for yourself....
Introducing Logos 9

What can you expect in this weblog?

In this weblog I will describe the main features that are new in Logos 9 and give a rating of Logos 9 compared to Logos 8. These are the highlights: 

  • Logos 9 focuses on pastors, pastors and pastoral care providers; 
  • Logos 9 now has some long desired features (including dark mode, images in your notes and a sermon manager);
  • I make you an offer with a nice discount

1. What is Logos Bible Software?

Elsewhere on this website, we have Logos detailed description and in a short video summarized. But in short, it comes down to this. Logos is one of the most advanced Bible software in the world. The computer program is designed to provide you, you and me with everything we need for a thorough study of God's Word.
For a proper understanding of the marketing around Logos, it is good to distinguish between a) the software, and b) digital books.

A. Logos Software

First of all, we talk about Logos as a computer program, which, by the way, is also available online and mobile. It works with the platforms Windows, iOS and Android. Unfortunately not yet (properly) with Linux.
As a software, Logos offers countless tools and features that help you study the Bible, prepare a sermon, as well as do scholarly research in the field of theology and biblical studies. Here is a small selection of features that make Logos my favorite Bible program. It helps, speeds up, or simplifies:

  • the compare translations;
  • creating and easily retrieving your Bible Notes;
  • consulting the Biblical (Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic) root text, even if you have no knowledge of Biblical languages;
  • finding relevant information for studying a Bible passage or a Bible topic;
  • Understanding biblical time and culture, through high quality infographics and other visual media;
  • simple or extremely advanced searches (see example);
  • preparing a sermon;
  • doing thorough word studies;
  • etc. etc.
See here a beautiful overview of most functions From Logos.

Let's face it: many people prefer a real, physical book to a ditigal one. But let's face it: when studying the Bible, how much valuable time is not lost browsing and looking up word meanings, background information, explanations, etc.? Or you pick up a book, look for the relevant chapter, only to conclude that the book doesn't answer your questions. Huh, another few precious minutes! 
Logos Bible Software does most of the looking up for you and allows you to focus on the studying itself. 

Study more efficiently
Studeer efficiënter met Logos 9
Study more efficiently with Logos 9
Numerous variations of basic packages

B. Logos Library

In addition, Logos also represents a huge collection of books in the field of theology and biblical studies. These digital books are Faithlife's main revenue model. You can buy them buy by piece, but you often get a very big discount per book if you buy them in a bundle or as a basic package purchases. That way, you can sometimes buy the best theological books for as little as $1 per book! The basic packages are pretty broad in the sense of being spread across different subject areas. As a result, even with the smallest package, you still get a pretty broad collection of books. And if you want, you can also basic packages choose those that are more appropriate to a specific denomination. The prices of the basic packages range from free until 10,000 euros Or even more!

Actually, Logos Bible Software cannot be properly summarized. It is the program of choice for all your Bible study, sermon preparation and theological study. If you want to try it out for a while, start with the free version of Logos 8, or get 50% discount on Logos Fundamentals.

In conclusion
What is also important to know is that the free version Logos Basic already has an awful lot of functions. But if you want to take full advantage of the power of Logos, then all the functions are already available from Logos Silver.
It is also helpful to know that there are not only standard packages, but also packages by "denomination" or church movement (such as Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, etc.). 

2. What is new in Logos 9?

This review is based on a Logos 9 Gold base package, provided to me as a partner of Faithlife. Should you decide to purchase a Logos product based on my recommendations, there is a triple win:

Below we will briefly describe the main new or improved features found in Logos 9. 

A. Dark Mode

The first new feature actually speaks for itself and was one of the most expressed wishes for Logos 9: the dark mode. When you install Logos 9, Logos immediately opens in dark mode. If you don't like that, you can easily change it in Tools -> Program Settings and then the first setting at the top 'Application Theme'. Or - even faster - via the three dots at the top right of the screen. 
The dark mode is soothing for many people, especially at night when you are bothered by that bright, blinding computer screen. There are three different modes: light, dark and system. With the last option, Logos adapts to your computer's system settings. 
Click on the image below to enlarge the screenshot. 

For me personally, the dark mode wasn't a big deal. But now that I've been using it for a while, I'm actually starting to appreciate it more and more. And I know there are some people for whom the dark mode is already enough of an improvement to switch to Logos 9!

B. New Factbook

An advancement for all users of Logos-and especially for first-time users-is the updated Factbook. According to Faithlife, the Factbook has now become the starting point for a quick overview of information on a given topic. With 10x more information than was the case in Logos 8. 

On the right you see a screenshot of a collapsed Factbook about the Name and Person Jesus. If you click on the image click, you'll see the same Factbook overview, but unfolded with all the information.
As you can see, the Factbook already provides an awful lot of relevant information. And that's why, especially for novice Logos users, the Factbook is a perfect starting place. 

Three smart tips related to the Factbook are particularly worth noting. You can use the Factbook:
  • very quickly from the Go Box. For example, type 'Titus' and select 'Open Factbook to Epistle to Titus'.
  • use for the introduction questions to a book of the Bible. Click on the image to see the Factbook unfolded. 
  • now also use it to get an explanation of a Greek grammar term. Try it with the word genitive absolute.

And all of this is available not only on the desktop version of Logos, but also in the web version and even in the mobile apps on your tablet or smartphone!
I think there is still some work to be done from Faithlife in perfecting the Factbook. For example, it is unclear to me how the 'Books from Your Library' are selected. And I get the impression that sometimes the result is far from complete. 
But that does not change the fact that the Factbook has moved significantly into the top-5 Of Logos' arsenal of instruments.

C. Sermon Manager

Preachers and pastors and others who regularly preach sermons, or give lectures, are going to love this: the sermon manager! A central place where you can store, organize and schedule all your sermons and/or lectures. Two screenshots make it clear, with a white mode for a change. 

Sermon Manager

As you can see, you can sort, categorize, filter, etc. your sermons in the Sermon Manager. Of course, you can also effortlessly find that one sermon from three years ago. And take a look in the 'Passages' column: does it appear that you have a preference for certain Bible books? Or are there Bible books you never preach from? Do you perhaps already have a sermon for that particular situation? 

And when it comes to planning your sermons throughout the year, Logos offers a beautiful graphic sermon planner in the form of a radial calendar. 
That way you'll never forget those special holidays, or that sermon in that other congregation. 
Along with the Sermon Builder (see below), the Sermon Manager is a huge advance. 

Preek Planner

D. Counseling Guide and Information

If you are a pastor, pastoress, or pastoral worker, you will probably start using the Counseling Guide and Biblical Counseling Keys a lot. Again, a screenshot may speak louder than a thousand words. Click on the image for higher resolution.
Biblical Counseling Key

Logos 9 Gold has Biblical Counseling Keys for no less than 102 subjects. 
A Biblical Counseling Key provides an effective overview of all biblical information on a particular topic, which you can use in pastoral counseling. 
Above (left) you see an example using the subject of death. 

Counseling Guide

Above (right) you see an example of the Counseling Guide. It first gives a summary of all kinds of aspects to "death" from a counseling perspective. This is followed by an overview of related topics (on which you can click through for a new Counseling Guide). 
Some key texts and related books from your library close it out.  

It is important to realize that having these Counseling tools does not make you a counselor. But if you are dealing with counseling or pastoral care, these tools can help you tremendously and save (research) time. 

E. Images in your Notes

With Logos 9, it is finally possible to insert your own images into your notes. Personally, I think that's a great advancement. 
Here you see an example of a note on Gen. 5 with a homemade canvas infographic that I inserted. Before Logos 9, you could only links to an image.
Now you can insert the image yourself AND it syncs perfectly with your smartphone or tablet! Thank you, Faithlife!

F. Reading schedules by chapter

Reading schedules were already known in Logos 8, but when creating a reading schedule for a regular book, we ran into a problem. Namely, you could not make a reading schedule by chapter. The boundaries of the piece to be read sometimes just stopped in the middle of a chapter. Hugely annoying of course. 
In Logos 9, that problem has been fixed and you can now create a reading schedule based on chapters. Then you select the days you do or do not want to read and ... read it, on your tablet!

G. Comments Guide renewed and expanded

As in Logos 8, Logos 9 has a number of guides: the Exegetical Guide, the Passage Guide, self-made guides, etc. And because many Logos users have so many comments, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. And to accommodate them, Logos 9 now gives you the ability to sort the Bible commentaries in your guide: 

  • on prioritization
  • by series
  • by author
  • by denomination (e.g., Reformed, Anglican, Catholic)
  • by type (e.g., focused on application, or just exegesis)
  • by era (e.g., Niceens, Reformation, Modern, or of this time)
Also, there are now icons of the book cover to make it easier to identify the books. Click on the image for a higher resolution. 

H. And more ...

In this review I have briefly described most of the new or improved features, but there are many more. For some people these will be marginal improvements, while for others it will be an (additional) reason for an upgrade. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I would like to briefly mention them. Click on the links to see a screenshot.

  • App Toolbar: there is now quick access to the following functions: program scaling, switching between different accounts, and switching between light/dark mode. 
  • Bible Books Explorer: an interactive visual tool that quickly provides insight into genre, author, dating, number of chapters and verses, etc. of a book of the Bible. 
  • Charts: bring you searches in a visual way in the picture.
  • Document Info: now has an info screen with meta-data about the document; in addition, you can now share documents with others much more easily.
  • Pulpit Builder: the former Sermon Editor has now been converted into Sermon Builder and now has an improved layout, a sermon data panel, a word counter and timer, an outline view of your sermon (based on your headings), sermon templates, and much more.
  • Search function: The search function in the mobile apps have been improved: there is now a search icon in the bottom navigation bar, and you can now search from the reference box!

3. Is an upgrade worth it?

Of course, this question is difficult to answer in general. For some, this feature is a fantastic asset, while for others it doesn't have to be. I do have the impression that this upgrade is really designed with the pastor / leader / pastoral employee / counselor in mind. Therefore it might be useful to make an overview of new or improved features that are especially interesting for this category of Logos users. And next to that an overview of functions that are relevant for a wider audience. 

Specifically for pastors, etc.
  • Sermon Builder
  • Sermon Manager
  • Sermon Mode
  • Counseling Guide
  • Counseling Resources
For a wider audience
  • Dark Mode
  • Enhanced Factbook
  • Images in your notes
  • Sorting options for comments 
  • Charts tool
  • Improved reading grids
  • Document info / sharing
  • Improved app toolbar
  • Improved search features in mobile app
Is everything beautiful and wonderful?

Apart from the many nice improvements in Logos 9, I am also a bit disappointed. Because many features also have Logos 9 not extracted. A Wishlist was kept up on the Logos Forums for Logos 9 and this perhaps created too high expectations. 
Some features that really should have been improved, and that you would think would not be difficult to implement, are: 

  • more intuitive way of prioritizing, because it is very complicated for most users; 
  • the program is still slow, compared to its competitor Concordance; 
  • Add page numbers to quotes in clippings;
  • Use of headings in Notes. 
And, especially for Dutch users: it is still an English language program. You can change the language of the program (the interface) to Dutch, but unfortunately the translation is not yet complete. Also, there are still few books available in Dutch. So if you don't speak English, Logos unfortunately can't do much for you. 
We at Faithlife are lobbying for Dutch product support, as is available in Spanish and German, for example. And I'm told that the Netherlands is high on Faithlife's priority list! 
Final Assessment

For a final assessment of whether an upgrade is worthwhile, it is best to distinguish between different users: 

  • new users: If you are not already a user of Logos, then with Logos 9 there is even less reason to wait. Especially if you preach or lecture regularly, Logos 9 is a tool not to be missed. 
  • existing users: If you are someone who preaches or lectures regularly or is involved in counseling or pastoral care, then Logos 9 is definitely worth your time. 
  • existing users: Do you not belong to the previous two categories? Then it depends just on your personal preference whether the new features and improvements, as they are described above, are worth switching. 
Personally, I am very happy with Logos 9 Gold and know by now that I will be using the following features a lot: Sermon Builder / Manager, Factbook, images in Notes, the counseling guide and resources, and possibly even the dark mode!

4. Offer

Are you planning to make the switch? Either from nothing to Logos 9 or from an earlier version to Logos 9? If so, I'd like to make you the following offer:

Are you still in doubt, or don't know which basic package suits you best? Send me a message, describe your situation and then I'll be happy to give you tailored advice. Not everyone benefits from a Portfolio package ;-).

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