I haven't used Logos until the newest version, Logos 5, came out. Completely new to me except for the time I saw Logos explained at a conference years ago.
I've experienced two main feelings as I've learned how to use Logos 5: overwhelmed & excited. First, I'm overwhelmed. The power of Logos sounds amazing and yet I didn't find it simple. But I'm learning more each time I use it and I'm finally getting to that place where I know what to do. I've not only learned how to use it in a basic way, but I'm also learning how to use a few more advanced features and realizing the potential of having a large library within Logos. That's why after a little work I'm really excited to own Logos. This may be the best tool not only for studying the Bible but for studying any number of topics in theology and even culture. I'm excited because with further investment it can be a significant replacement of much of the research section of my library, making those resources far more useful than when owned in paper.
Here's how I got started with Logos and a few things I've learned about this great tool.
Early Mistakes -- I've made two big mistakes starting out. First, in the last few years I've created two different Logos accounts. I didn't realize it since I only created them try out the free app. I was logged on to one account on my MacBook and the other on my mobile devices, which made my library available on mobile but not on my MacBook. But one call to Logos for help and they had it fixed quickly by merging my accounts. Helpful, personal service.
My second mistake was trying to "wing it" with Logos. I'm sure there are some who have learned to use it by just sitting down and figuring it out, but it wasn't working for me. I needed help.
Starting With Videos -- Logos offers a number of videos on YouTube, of which I've viewed several. Most are very short and to the point. There's also help on Logos community forums, which I've used a few times. But the best starting place for me and I assume for everyone is the 13 minute "Getting Started" video on the Logos website. I've watched it more than once. It's an overview of the program with what to do as well as what to do when you don't know what to do. Playing it and pausing to try out Logos worked well. Next for me will be watching Advanced Training videos.
Things I Love About Logos...
Basic Features -- I'm not going into this too much because there's so much I could talk about. Watch a Logos 5 introduction to get a better explanation than I can give. What I will say is that there is so much Logos can do. I'm still only scratching the surface. Because of the kind of preaching I do I've used the passage searches more than topical. But the topic guide is a nice feature.
I really like the Bible Timeline tool where you can see on a timeline what happened in history alongside biblical history, when biblical books were written, and so forth. What I'm usually scouring for in commentary introductions on one timeline.
Look at the most interesting and helpful features in Logos 5 here.
Resources -- There are many great resources available for Logos. The first four I searched for are Grudem's Systematic, IVP Essential Reference Library, Tyndale commentaries set, and the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis. All there. But Logos isn't just books converted to digital. You can also get resources like Tim Keller's library of sermons to search through. That's pretty amazing.
Bible Reading -- I've just started a Bible reading plan through Logos - 21 Days on Faith. Logos is one of the most complex and complete ways to study the Bible, as well as a way to read the Bible devotionally. There are adjustments than can be made to plans, they can be made into group plans, etc.
Important Questions & Concerns About Logos...
What's the Cost? -- I encourage you to look over the Logos 5 Base Packages. Logos as a whole isn't cheap and buying digital resources isn't like buying Kindle books, where you almost always can spend a few dollars less (sometimes far less) for a digital book. Not the same for individual books on Logos. The paper and Kindle copies of Grudem's Systematic are both under $30 and Logos lists for $40. Yet I've seen some sets that are significantly cheaper to get as a whole on Logos (49 Tyndale commentaries for $225). The question is really how you will use these resources and what makes the best use of them.
I thought about Logos like I thought about most Bible study software, that I'm paying for the ability to study the texts, original languages, etc. It's much more than that and the costs I believe are worth it. I'll say more about that in a little bit.
Let me add that Logos gives away a book every month and regularly has other giveaways. I just entered one today. There's also community pricing, pre-pub specials, and more.
Logos is Slow? -- I've seen people say (and at times felt myself) that Logos is slow. And to be sure...upgrades, downloads, and indexing take some time. But every moment of "slow" is speeding up something else. You get to search those books and have more resources to use in less time than it takes to look up each paper book. Those things that take time are necessary to create one place to conduct one search and have every resource listed. You can always pause indexing and such for a time when it works better for you. The tradeoff is one of the best tools you could have for Bible study. I'll take that tradeoff.
Paper vs Screen? -- I'm a huge fan of paper books. I'm also a big (and growing) fan of iPad and Kindle for books. While I don't ever see me replacing paper books completely, the helpfulness of being able to search a library is too good to pass up. Sure if I want to read a book from start to finish I'll often get paper or Kindle. But I can already see doing the majority of any prep work for teaching on Logos and the need to begin adding collections to my base package of resources.
I have a big personal library with many physical resources for sermon prep and Bible study and I just can't search through every book I'd like to for every sermon. I can see replacing large sections of my library with Logos. It makes each resources much more useful.
Logos vs Other Digital Books? -- The crucial difference between Logos and other searchable, digital formats is that Logos indexes your books for one big search of your whole library. This is why a Logos book is worth more. You will use books more and at times you may not consider its usefulness because searches will find things you will never think of looking up in a number of your resources. It's hard to explain the full value of this.
Let me put it this way: Every book you own (paper, Kindle) is searchable by you. Paper using an index, table of contents, looking up highlights, or oven using a filing system by which you record helpful passages by topic. With Kindle you can search for words. But with Logos its one search through every resource at once, do more complex searches, etc. It's not even comparable as far as ease of use, time consumption, or getting best use of a resource. With my 2,400 volume library I essentially have 2,400 books I can search individually. Now imagine one search through 500 or 1,000 of the most key resources with one results list. I can imagine it, and I want it. I've only gotten started.
Conclusion -- I'm a big fan of what Logos is doing and what it can do as I continue to add resources. I encourage you to look deeper at Logos. Compare cost to things like time, fuller usefulness of resources, and similar judgments and I think it's well worth the money. I love paper books too, and how they feel in my hands and how they smell. But what I like best about books is the content and Logos makes the most of it. See more at Logos.com.