In the past few years writing for Core Christianity and working with the team, I have received emails from readers and now listeners of our Core Christianity Radio Program that challenge me, inspire me, puzzle me, and force me to think about God and the Bible in ways I haven’t. And through sharing their lives and hearts with their emails and questions, many have helped me to keep my faith from becoming stale. If that is you, thank you. Today, I want to share with you something I recently received in my inbox from a man who found himself in a situation where he was leading a Bible study. He wrote,
My wife and a close friend of ours shared my desire to get into the Scriptures, so we decided to start our own bible study. Other friends have since joined our little group and we meet regularly to discuss the passages we have read, sharing insights, questions, troubles, or concerns. Somehow, I have become the de facto leader of this merry band. It is more to me the questions are posed than to the group. It has fallen upon me to soothe troubles and explain away concerns. It seems, or at least it feels so to me, that only my insights are being shared. Moreover, it is to me they look to piece it all together into a comprehensible whole. And this terrifies me.
The email ends with asking for advice on a key issue: “I only wish to teach His words and to convey His meaning. How can I know when I am speaking more from my ego than from His heart?”
This is so common. I remember the first time I was asked to lead a Bible study. My tongue felt like it swelled. I mumbled my words as my tongue flopped around in my mouth trying to voice my thoughts. Sweat poured down my face. The worst part was being asked questions. There was so much to study, so much I didn't understand. I felt so new to teaching. Later, through seminary, I had more experiences of fumbling around teaching what I knew I didn’t fully understand whether in children’s Sunday School, a Bible study around a kitchen table, or a Sunday sermon. There is no way to avoid the challenge of teaching and sharing the faith, and there is no way to avoid the challenge that comes with being asked or called to teach. To teach is to learn. To learn requires the discipline to study.
This email about leading a Bible study reminded me that my struggles are common. This is why whenever I have been asked about teaching, my advice is never about the act of teaching alone. My advice always includes the process of preparing to teach and the discipline of study. This is where most people—even gifted communicators—struggle most.
Today I want to share with you a tool that I think can really help people who want to develop the discipline of study, people who want to learn and grow in their faith, people who are not seminary trained or particularly academic but have a burning desire to know God and to share his word. I want to recommend Logos Bible Software. I originally had my doubts because I love the feel of an actual book in my hand and want to resist the idea that we should ever give up on reading books for the digital alternative. Well, my resistance was futile. After using Logos 8 and thinking about all the time I spent without this valuable tool, I want to share with you what makes Logos 8 helpful and worth the price for anyone who wants to study the Bible and grow in their knowledge of God.
1. Logos will help you to actually study the Bible.
Sometimes when I pick up the Bible—and I imagine this true for lots of people—I flip around to read a few passages and put it back on the shelf forgetting what I read and doing little to make sense of how what I read applies to my life. It’s hard to avoid this undisciplined leisurely reading of the Bible, and though it can be valuable and good to casually read the Bible, that sort of reading is completely different from studying the Bible, and it’s studying that most people really struggle to do.
Logos 8 has an amazing tool that can guide you through the process of study, slowly improving your reflexes and disciplining your thought patterns through the workflows and study guides features. I find these to be invaluable. Using them, I had the most fun studying the Bible in a long time. The workflow feature sets up what feels like a list of tasks that lead you through the process of study. There is an exegetical guide that helps with going through the text in the original language for people who teach and preach regularly. There are guides for inductive Bible study, devotional reading, and Lectio Divina. Using the workflow feature can draw you into hours of study and reflection upon the Bible and the study guide feature will help you to draw upon the reference works, devotional books, and commentaries in your library that will help you to learn all sorts of amazing truths about the Bible and the gospel.
2. Logos gives you a great library for a great price.
I used to think Logos was expensive. Yet after years of buying books through seminary and into the present, I could have saved a lot of money through a Logos’ base package. Each base package provides a wealth of resources whether you are a working pastor, father, mother, or college student seeking to learn more about the faith. The library comes with many resources that I would just rather have in digital form. Encyclopedias, commentaries, dictionaries, theology books, devotional books, and you can even add sets like the Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing. None of these digital books take up shelf-space in my apartment and are much cheaper through Logos either in a base package or as sets then they are to buy as individual hard copy books.
3. Logos is great for continuing education.
They have courses and great books that will challenge you to learn and grow in your understanding of the faith. You can create a custom reading plan for you any book in your library. This is especially helpful for those longer books that you want to take bit by bit through the span of several months to a year. For example, you can take a classic work like St. Augustine’sConfessionsand decide to read it over 16 weeks or a larger work like John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion to read over a year. And you can buy courses with quality Christian professors like Principles of Bible Interpretation with Craig S. Keener, History of the Doctrine of the Trinity with Fred Sanders, Law and Gospel: The Basis of Christian Ethics with Michael Allen, or Book Study: Paul’s Letter to the Romans with Douglas J. Moo.
4. Logos 8 is intuitive and surprisingly fast.
I have been impressed with how easy it is to use Logos 8. I tend to be the stubborn type who tries to figure out how to use technology without reading manuals or going through tutorials. I was surprised by how much I could do with little to no help and I was impressed with all the help available. There are tutorials that can teach you how to prepare Bible studies and make the most use of the impressive library. I have only scratched the surface and have already dug up some gold. And the gold I have dug up, I obtained quickly because the program is fast. I worried that after waiting almost 5 hours for Logos to install, that it would take it almost as long to do basic searches. It didn’t. I’m impressed and feel like I have been driving the Ferrari of Bible software.
We at Core Christianity has partnered with Logos Bible software and we have a discount code. You can get 10% off a base package (25% for upgraders) plus 5 books (up to $175 in value). To get these discounts and free books, purchase your package or upgrade through our partner page and enter coupon code CORECHRISTIANITY8 at checkout. Click here to get your discount!