Theotek Podcast #021: Our Favorite Software

Ministers use a lot of software in their ministry so we talk about our favorite tools and apps. We don’t include Bible software since we talk about that all the time.

Check out lists in the comments of the YouTube video above. As always, we hope you will subscribe on YouTube, iTunes or Stitcher Radio using the links in the menu above.


Theotek Podcast #020: A Lot of Nice Toys Here

If you didn’t think we were a bunch of gadget freaks and geeks, you would after this week’s Theotek Podcast #020:Gosh, You’ve Really Got Some Nice Toys Here (Blade Runner reference intended). Each of team members talks about the tools, toys and gadgets they use in their lives a church and Bible tech geeks.

Here’s the list of toys we each use and listed on this week’s Theotek Podcast

Rick Mansfield’s List

  • 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina – 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, 750GB SSD and Yosemite 10.10.4
  • Acer Aspire R7-572 – 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and 1TB spinning hard drive and Windows 8.1
  • Toshiba Encore 2 Write (click for his review) – 8-inch model with 1.33GHz Atom, 2GB of RAM and 64GB SSD and Windows 8.1.
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad Air
  • iWerkz Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air
  • Microsoft Lumia 635 phone running Windows 10 Preview
  • Apple Sport Watch space gray on order
  • Surface 3 on order
  • Fujitsu Scansnap Scanner

Antoine Wright

  • Samsung Chromebook 11
  • iPad mini Retina
  • LG Google Nexus 5
  • Samsung Gear S Watch
  • Tronfy Bluetooth headset
  • Nokia Lumia Bluetooth headset
  • Pencil by FiftyThree

Antoine forgot to mention a few he uses including …

  • Tronsmart T1000
  • Google Chromecast
  • Polar M400 fitness band
  • FitBit One

Kevin Purcell

  • Acer Aspire R13 notebook (on loan from Acer)
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13 with Retina
  • iPad Air first gen
  • Surface Pro 3
  • Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10-inch version
  • Logitech K811 keyboard
  • Logitech MX Master Mouse
  • Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse
  • Insignia Mousepad reviewed by HereOnBiz
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4

 Wes Allen

  • iPad Air first gen
  • Nexus 7 Tablet
  • Samsung Galaxy Nook Tablet
  • iPhone
  • Nikon D7000 connected to Nexus 7 Tablet for photography
  • Textblade Keyboard
bibleworks 10

BbileWorks 10 Arrives – Get a Free Book

BibleWorks, one of the best scholarly original language Bible study tools available, got a big update to BibleWorks 10. The company is also partnering with Crossway to give away a free book for people who order in the first wave.

bibleworks 10

BibleWorks puts the Bible at the heart at its user-interface. They give users a quick way to view Bible content with powerful searching features and excellent original language study tools. The program includes almost every popular modern Bible translation. You also get the best Greek and Hebrew tools including access to NA28.

What’s New in BibleWorks 10

bibleworks 10 epub reader

One of the most exciting new features is the EPUB reader. If you own books in EPUB format, the new BibleWorks 10 will read these books opening up your BibleWorks library to more than just the books that BibleWorks sells.

bibleworks 10 screenshot


The new BibleWorks 10 user-interface will let the user customize, not only the window layout as always, but also the color.

bibleworks 10 colors

With BibleWorks 9, the program could show four columns, but now the user can close a column easily. The person can also change the color of the borders. Plus, customize the tabs easily.

bibleworks 10 mac

Mac users will get a better installer and the screenshots make it look more like a native Mac app that earlier versions.

A few other awesome new features include…

  • Colors for Morphology – tag a word with a color based on the morphology
  • Screen Scaling – looks better on different screen resolutions
  • Leningradensis Codex Images – high-resolution images of the OT texts
  • Essential Biblical Hebrew, Jan Verbruggen – a Hebrew Grammar text in digital form
  • User Lexicon Tab – this lets users create their own lexicon by adding notes to any word and notes show up when we mouse over the word
  • Fuzzy Search – search for a word like love and it gives us many forms
  • Holy Land Pictures Database – high res photos from the Holy Land

bibleworks 10 pictures database

Get a Free Book from Crossway

People who order BibleWorks 10 before May 3 will get free copy of Interpreting the New Testament Text. You can also get half off any ebooks bought from That’s a nice perk considering the great library available through Crossway.


Theotek Podcast #019: Can You Do That Online?

As I posted late last week, Logos launched a new service called Logos Now that includes a beta web app. WORDsearch also launched a new version of their online site that replaces My Study Bible, which made the Top 6 favorite Bible study sites. We talk about online Bible study sites and go more in-depth with Logos Now, to name a few things we discussed in this week’s edition of the Theotek Podcast. See it below.

To learn more about Logos Now or MyWSB click those links.

If you want to listen to the audio version of our podcast, use the audio player below or subscribe to it on iTunes or Stitcher.

rickmansfieldFinally, let me introduce you to Rick Mansfield. Rick joins us from Accordance Bible Software. He’s lives in Kentucky and knows a lot about tech and Bible software. He joined us a couple of times as an official spokesperson from Accordance, but now he will put on the neutral observer hat for us on Fridays as the fourth member of the Theotek Team. Rick blogs at and Tweets using @thislamp.

Logos Now Subscription Monthly Service Launches for $8.99

Logos users expected Faithlife to go to a subscription model since they’ve talked about it for years. Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife, took to the forums to announce Logos Now, their new monthly subscription based service that will give uses access to some content not available otherwise. This also includes a new Web App that’s in very early beta stage.

I signed up for the Logos Now service and went over to the Logos Now Web App, the thing I’m most excited to use, and the user-interface looks a lot like the Logos 6 desktop app, but without most of the features functioning. A number of features don’t work while some do. Others don’t yet show up as available.

What Does and Doesn’t Work in Logos Now Web App

Despite that it’s a beta, or more accurately a non-functioning pre-Alpha, it’s promising. We will hopefully one day see the things we love about Logos, like the tools, library access and syncing of content.

Enter a passage reference and the passage will load. Click on the Library button to open books.

logos now web app

Click on Documents, Guides and Tools and you’ll get a screen like the one above which says, ‘Check back soon!” This also happens on the Home and Search buttons too. In the upper right we get the layouts, help and account buttons, all non-working.

Sometimes things seem to work fine and other times they fail miserably. For awhile I couldn’t navigate to other passages or scroll through more than a few passages before the window went blank. Then I got logged out, not on purpose. I logged back in and I could move around the Bible. It seems this was a login/logout issue more than anything else.

Table of Contents, at least on my preferred Bible shows nothing. However, other tools in the drop down box that shows up after clicking the Book cover work. I could increase and decrease font size, use column or full screen viewing mode.

Other Things in Logos Now

visual copy with new logos now visuals
Logos Now adds some interesting visuals to the Visual Copy tool new with Logos 6.

Logos Now is a little more than the Web App. Here what’s exclusive to Logos Now subscribers in addition to Logos Now Web App.

  • Old Testament Propositional Outlines Dataset
  • Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset
  • Commandments of the Law
  • Logos Stock Images, vol. 2
  • Visual Copy Templates for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6
  • Author Slide Templates for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6
  • Proclaim Starter for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6
  • Concordance Tool
  • Media Browser

The Old Testament Propositional Outlines Dataset gets describe as follows:

This visual filter reformats Old Testament text into a narrative outline that labels the purpose or theme of each line, and offers easy-to-read primary points and secondary points. With a click, see how the text flows, how ideas fit together, and how each line relates to the next. This outline also exposes key aspects of biblical narratives, like events, purposes, and characterization. More and more Old Testament books will be added over time, and eventually, this dataset will include the entire Old Testament.

The site says it would cost $39.95 if bought separately, however it’s also exclusive to Logos Now. That means seems to mean buyers can get it outside of the subscription.

Here’s how Faithlife describes the Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset.

With the Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset, you can simplify complex constructions with ease. This new dataset identifies grammatical constructions in the New Testament and finds other occurrences of the construction in the Bible. Create visual filters to mark constructions in your favorite Bible as well as find and test your knowledge of rules and constructions. Filter results in the resource menu to make certain constructions easy to spot in future studies and limit your search by book of the Bible.

Faithlife says this would cost $14.95 if they sold it outside the subscription.

Read the description of the Commandments of the Law tool.

The Commandments of the Law Interactive provides information on the 613mitzvoth (commandments) as delineated by Maimonides (Rambam) in the Middle Ages, around 1170 C.E. While the Rabbis freely referred to the 613mitzvoth and agreed on their number, they rarely provided a completed list and therefore understood the commandments differently. These commandments are explicit commandments found within the Torah as understood by the Rabbis. Maimonides distilled the principles for identifying the 613mitzvothand also provided a reliable list. His listcontains 248 positive commandments and 365 negative ones.


The Commandments of the Law interactive allows you to group the 613 mitzvoth (commandments) into various categories (State, People, Category, etc.) and track down a specific type of law.

It would cost $5.95. So that’s $61 of content. Add the visual media which would add up to a total of $125 sold separately. It will take you almost 21 months if they added nothing new to buy them at $9/month. That’s not a bad deal, if they do add more content within that time.

New Logos Now Media Browser

logos now media browser
Find the new Media Browser under the Logos desktop app’s Tools menu.

There’s now a Media Browser under the Tools menu. Click it and see all the new media options listed above.

The Media Browser shows image and multimedia files. Use it to teach or preach. Use it to enhance your own personal study. Share images or media online to help others.

Along the left there’s a list with categories of kinds of media or ways of organizing it. Things like tags, kinds, topics, or collections organizes the media.

Should You Subscribe

Yes or no! Not very helpful I know. People who hate subscription software should stay away. Those who like it should sign up. Others, who want the Web App access or want early access to new features that normally wouldn’t become available till Logos 7, should sign up. I signed up for the free 30 day subscription so anyone can get a look for free and cancel if you’re not impressed.

mike elgan from twit

What a Tech Podcaster Can Teach Pastors about Leadership

Mike Elgan, the news director for wrote an article about the lessons he’s learned about leadership while serving as the anchor of This Week In Tech’s daily tech news podcast. I read the article and decided that his lessons apply to pastors too. Here’s what a tech podcaster can teach pastors about leadership in the local church.

mike elgan from twit
Mike Elgan’s on the left.

I recommend that you read Mike’s article over at Baseline, a business site that focuses on technology and its use in business. He shares his six lessons about leadership. Let me start by quoting them below and then we’ll talk about how his lessons as the news director at Twit can apply to leadership in the local church.

  1. Embrace rejection.
  2. Let people own their own ideas and information.
  3. Never stop evolving.
  4. Embrace checklists.
  5. Start with the best partner you can.
  6. Serve the customers you want, not just the ones you’ve got.

That’s an interesting list and already most pastors can probably already see how they apply to our role as leaders in the church.

Embrace Rejection in Leadership

image credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis on Flickr

Pastors face a lot of rejection. Lots of people will reject a pastor including…

  • People we talk to about the Gospel – they’ll reject Jesus’ gift of grace.
  • Disciples reject taking the next step in their growth – change is hard and changing my sinful habits is the hardest kind of change imaginable. Some of the best church members don’t want to grow in their discipleship because it means they need to stop sinning in one way or it means they need to start taking risks to follow Jesus and our leadership.
  • Churches will reject potential pastors – you’re not educated enough, smart enough, old, young, skinny, or attractive enough. You’re not married to the right kind of spouse. The experience you have doesn’t match what they want. You get the idea.
  • Visitors reject us – someone visits one Sunday or many Sundays, but then they leave. You preach too long or your music’s not right. The seats are too firm or the temperature’s too cold/hot.
  • Members reject us – I won’t do that job or I won’t come back because of what you or someone else said/did.

It’s easy to become gun-shy and avoid rejection by avoiding the risk. We close in and quit trying as hard. You can never avoid all rejection risk, but you can reduce it. As a result, we stop growing and so do the people in our churches.

Let People Own Their Stuff

give credit where credit is due
image credit: Nisha A on Flickr

Another way to say this is, “Give credit where credit is due.” However, it’s more than that. I can take credit for things and often deserve it. However, as my Church Grown prof said in Seminary, “You get what you praise!” Sometimes I should give away the praise because giving it to another person means they will feel encouraged and keep giving. Others will see the praise they got and subconsciously or consciously want it and follow their good example.

In other circumstances, we owe other people credit. I remember hearing about a pastor who preached a series of sermons. The congregation loved it and it was a hit. However, one person felt like they’d heard or read it somewhere. After a Google search, the person found that most of the content wasn’t original. The ideas, the stories and even the themes came from someone else. The pastor didn’t get fired over it, but he lost some respect.

Give credit. Most people don’t mind a pastor borrowing ideas to present a good message, but they do mind dishonesty. A simple statement like, “I read a book and it inspired me. I want to share what James MacDonald said in this book, so the next four weeks we’re going to look at how he handled marriage in that book.”

Don’t do this every week, but it’s okay to borrow occasionally. If you’re doing it more than once out of every six or seven sermons or Bible studies, then you’re probably being lazy.

Never Stop Evolving

Early in my ministry I read a lot more than I do today. Let me correct that. I read more books than I do now. Today, I find more helpful stuff online in short stints. However, I still read a lot … every day!

Don’t quit growing and changing. We’re not talking about changing ethical standards or moral beliefs. Keep the fundamentals fundamental. But evolve in how you present, lead, relate and reach out. Grow more knowledgable, stronger, more humble and more confident.

The best way I know of to do this is with other people. I try to surround myself with smart, talented, creative people. This includes people in ministry and outside. I can learn from a tech journalist and a ministry mentor.

Speaking of mentors, do you have one? Good ones are hard to find. Find one. They’re worth so much, if they will love and invest in your life.

Partner with Great People

This one’s out-of-order compared to the list from Mike Elgan. It continues the previous lesson in leadership. People help you grow and putting talented, godly, creative, humble and energetic people around you will help you grow. If you praise them, they will join you in your efforts.

A great book about working with people comes from John Maxwell, leadership guru and former pastor. Be a People Person talks about how to work with, get the most out of and inspire people. Grab a copy and read it, mark it up, find someone to talk with about it, and learn what he’s saying. It’s a great book on partnering with great people.

Embrace Checklists

image credit: Mufidah Kassalias on Flickr

I’m not good at his and need to learn this lesson myself. My checklists usually stay in my email inbox, the Reminders app on my iPhone, iPad or Mac, or just in my mind. I’ve not done a good job of organizing them into one daily checklist. I need to.

Mike Elgan says he learned this lesson when he took lessons on how to fly. Pilots live by checklists. They do a preflight checklist that they have to methodically follow or someone could die.

So, here’s a few areas I need to start making such lists.

  • Sermon prep – there’s a list of tasks a good preacher should do for every message and I often forget them, like praying before I start or testing my message for faith-building language instead making people feel guilty until they obey.
  • Ministry planning – too many times I’ve showed up at a meeting about a particular project with only a mental checklist. Recently I made a checklist for such a meeting and it was one of the most productive I’ve led in a months.
  • Family time – bring the checklist home and set goals for spending the right time with family doing the right things.

Serve the Customers You Want, Not Just the Ones You Have

We don’t serve customers, but we do serve people. The concept’s the same even if the terms don’t match.

How do we “serve the customers” that we want in ministry? If you do all of your teaching at a surface, overly simple level, then your people will remain simplistic and never grow. Instead dig deep and take them along for the ride. Show people the meaning of the text and why you believe it means that. Then show them how they can find that same meaning without you. Empower people to do hermeneutics even if they don’t know what that is.

Expect things of people. Don’t assume the worst of church people. Assume they will give you the best, and then expect it of them. People will surprise us.

You get the idea. Imagine the kind of church members you wish you had, and then start treating the ones you have like they are those kinds of people. They will surprise you and become stronger, more committed, more knowledgeable and more faithful. And you might find some that already were, but never could prove it because no one expected it of them.

logos bible app for android

Logos Bible Android Apps Updated with Much-Needed Fixes

Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible Software, updated their Android suite of mobile apps with some much-needed fixes. Android users of the Bible app on Android can get it from the Google Play Store using the links below.

logos bible app for android
Logos Bible app for Android got an update to version 4.5 with some much-needed fixes and improvements.

Here’s a list of the new fixes and features.

What’s New in Logos Bible for Android?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s a new setting in the visual settings of the Logos Bible app for Android. Tap on the screen to show the menu and hit the three vertical dots in the upper right corner (see example in the slide show above). Swipe down to the bottom and tap View Settings. Now scroll to the bottom of that screen and notice there’s a visual filter to turn on or off Notes or Community Notes. Notes refers to notes that user adds to a book or Bible. The Community Notes come from the Faithlife Community.

To add a note, select some text by holding down on the screen over a word you wish to select. Drag the note markers that appear at the beginning and end of that word so the selection covers all the text you want to select. Tap on Note. Choose Private for a user note and Community for a public note.

bible text only setttings
Open Bible text only from the Visual Settings menu.

Another visual setting a person can choose is Bible text only, which strips away the verse numbers, chapter numbers and headings in Bibles that include pericope headings. Go back into the settings as described above and just above the two notes visual filters, there’s a Bible text only menu item. Tap it to customize what will show up. The resulting screen allows users to turn on and off the following:

  • Bible text formatting – things like bold or italics
  • Chapter/verse numbers
  • Footnote indicators
  • Non-bible text – the headings mentioned above
  • One verse per line – puts it in paragraph or verse per line mode

Speaking of selecting text, the Logos Bible 4.5 version now includes Smart Selection. This selects text by automatically picking a whole verse or paragraph for you. You can turn it off in the Settings menu.

Logos added support for Logos 6 Custom Reading Plans. A user can make a custom reading plan in Logos 6 that separates the text by more than just chapter or page. Until now these didn’t show up on the Android app’s home page. This is the most important update for my daily use.

User Collections now show up in Bible Search as well.

Improved or Fixed in Logos Bible 4.5

There’s a few things that Faithlife developers fixed in this version of Logos Bible Android app. They are as follows:

  • Scrolling now tracks correctly
  • Updated French translations
  • Improvements to authentication – where one app will now authenticate other apps. Sign into Logos Bible and Vyrso will also use this sign on.
  • Support for unattached notes – users can add general notes not attached to text or Bible verses
  • Notes upgrade – no longer gets stuck in an infinite loop if upgrade requires multiple passes

Various Logos Bible Apps for Android

There’s more than just the one Logos Bible app for Android. Logos offers a suite of app promotion for mobile Bible apps including the following:

  • Logos Bible – the flagship app with most of the features serious Bible students want
  • Faithlife Study Bible – focused on the Faithlife study tools with visual features like maps, images, etc.
  • Vyrso – primarily for Christian book reading
  • Noet – scholarly study focus
  • Verbum – focused on Catholic Christians
  • Biblia – Spanish version Bible app

Also search for these in the Amazon app store for Kindle support.