Bible Software Training: Theotek Podcast #099

If you’re a Bible software user, then you’ll want world-class training on how to use your software like a master. We’ll give you advice on how to best improve your skills and learn to use whatever program you prefer whether it’s a Bible software program on Windows, Mac or an app on your smartphone or tablet.

We started out talking about getting training direct from the software maker’s website. For example, head over to the Accordance Bible Software website to find their large college of podcast, visual training offerings and even webinars or live seminars in your area. Other sites have them as well so go to your program’s website and look for a support link or training link.

Your next stop should be the company’s support forums, if they have one. For example, one of the most active forums for a Bible software company comes from the Logos Community. You’ll find an active collection of users ready to help out quickly. They get a little prickly if you complain about Logos, but they do like to help new users. Accordance has a good community too. Many of the others offer one as well.

olive tree bible software help menu
Look for the Help menu in your Bible Software.

If you can’t find the help you need or just want to learn more, then check out the in-software help files. They will open a great set of help files in most of the packages. Rick bragged that Accordance won an award for their in-app help system.

logos help
Go to the Logos Home page in the program and click the Question Mark in the upper right corner.

It’s not as easy to find the in-software help in Logos. If you click the Help menu button on a Mac, you’ll find nothing. It’s only there to conform to macOS menu standards. They should make it link to their help online or something. Instead click on the Home button in the upper left and then click on the Question Mark in the upper right. See the screenshot above.

Another good place to look for help on Bible software is third-party sites like Udemy, which has a great set of Logos Help videos for a low price. If you use Logos, look into the Logos official trainer’s Morris Proctor Seminars for help. They’re not cheap, but he’s talented. There’s also

Finally, ask us. We like to help viewers and listeners. We’re busy guys, but enjoy helping out when we can so send us an email using the contact info in our page about the Theotek Contributors.

digital libraries

Digital Libraries in Bible Software: Theotek Podcast #096

With the huge libraries of books available today in Bible software and eBook readers, some people now own massive libraries. Is this a good idea?

In this episode of the Theotek Podcast, we talked about that and shared reasons to avoid it as well as tips for what to do if you already own a lot of eBooks in Kindle or in your digital library of Bible software.

digital libraries

There’s also a few ways to convert eBooks so you don’t get stuck with books in a format you can’t use anymore because the program goes away like the old Pradis software. This includes making Kindle books from Bible software book and converting Kindle books to a less proprietary DRM-laden format. We even get a workflow for converting papers books to digital library books using a scanner and cutting the binding off books at Kinkos or other office supply stores.

Convert Digital Libraries – To and From

We mentioned a few things in the Podcast. First, here’s the link for exporting Logos books to Kindle using the Send to Kindle printer driver. You could adapt this to work with any books in any Bible software although it may not work as easily as this system found in the Logos user community forums.

Next, Wes talked about converting Kindle books to other formats. He uses a tool called Calibre to do this. Digital Trends hosts a useful tutorial on how to convert books using Calibre among other tools.

Favorite Things

kindle paperwhite

Speaking of Kindle, we shared our favorite things and Antoine picked the Kindle Paperwhite ($120) as his. He likes to use it for distraction free reading. He also mentioned using a paper Bible, something Rick agreed is a good way to do your devotions.

I shared the Christian Standard Bible or CSB translation as one of mine. You can buy paper copies of it or get the free CSBible app for iOS and Android. It’s also online. Accordance Bible Software published the digital book first, followed by Olive Tree. WORDsearch will offer it soon for free to all users. Logos will release it April 5. I’m not sure about other software companies plans.

Rick’s favorite thing was his new Logitech 922x Webcam, which he used to podcast with in this episode. Get it for under $90 at Amazon.

Fujitsu Scanner for Converting Paper Books to Digital Libraries

The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 does a great job of scanning books once the user cuts the spine off the book. Scan with any sheet fed double-sided scanner, like the Fujitsu. Here’s my review of this great scanner from

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 Review: Powerful and Fast

Is Apple Ruining Bible Software: Theotek Podcast #087

It seems that Apple is moving away from macOS towards an iOS-centric future. If the iPhone and iPad replaces the Mac, what does that mean for the church, Bible software and companies that make tools and software to help the church and believers make disciples? That’s our discussion as we focused on the question, “Is Apple moving in that direction? If they are does that affect Windows, Mobile devices, and other platforms? What is the future of church software and technology in light of this possibility?”

The conversation began, however, with our Christmas tech toys. The gifts we got for Christmas included some fun things like the following:

  • Michael Purcell – my son joined us for this episode and got the Surface Pro 4, Type cover and Surface Pen. He explains why he loves his.
  • Wes AllenThinkGeek toys like the BB8 Waffle Maker and the R2D2 Coffee Press. He also got an Apple Pencil.
  • LaRosa Johnson – one of LaRosa’s co-workers sold him the Blue Yeti mic.
  • Antoine Wright – one of Antoine’s Kickstarter campaign investments actually came through in a positive way. He got the Lumos Bike Helmet.
  • Kevin Purcell – I got myself a Kindle Fire with the gift card for Amazon that my wife bought me.

You can always listen to the Theotek Podcast using the built-in player below or subsribe to us in iTunes and leave comments if you like us. We’re also on other podcasting apps thanks to Stitcher Radio.

Logos 7 Arrives: Theotek Podcast #077

Faithlife shipped Logos 7. The update comes with a lot of new features for users of Logos 6. Logos Now users will feel like it’s a pretty minor update.

We covered the major new features in Logos 7 and talked about how users can upgrade or subscribe to Logos Now.

What’s New in Logos 7

Logos 7 Quickstart Layouts

Logos 7 incorporates a bunch of new features including the QuickStart Layouts accessible from the Layouts menu. You’ll find it on the toolbar towards the right next to the question mark icon. A box pops up and along the left inside that box you’ll see a list of layouts. The top section shows your QuickStart Layouts. Think of them as predefined layouts ready for your use. Logos lets users arrange all the books on their desk the way they prefer and then save the layout. See the Saved Layouts in the bottom of the left hand list in the screenshot above. The QuickStart Layouts are layouts made by Logos designers.

Logos 7 Sermon Editor

The Sermon Editor, accessed from the Sermon item in the Documents menu, gives users a sermon creation tool inside Logos 7. The sermons become searchable and show up when the user creates a Passage Guide search on a passage that includes a Sermon made in Sermon Editor.

Inside the Sermon Editor users can instantly add the text of Bible verses by typing the reference. It will replace the reference with the text of that passage.

Logos 7 Sermon Editor Export Tool

The editor also makes slides instantly out of Headings, Bible passages and more. The user can export these slides to Faithlife’s Proclaim presentation service or PowerPoint and others.

Courses Tool creation screen

The Courses Tool takes advantage of the Mobile Education feature introduced in earlier versions of Logos. The Courses quickly takes content from a user’s library and creates a course. This feature will eventually make it possible for a person to make a course on their own or for teachers and professors to create their own courses for use in Sunday school classes, small groups or formal education settings. Until that happens in a future version, the user must use some of the courses already included in their library. It comes with some and users can buy more.

Select from the list along the left of the tool’s box that shows up when you open it from the Tools menu. Click a course and it offers to set it up on for a specific number of days or you can customize how fast you want to move through the course.

There’s a long list of new features with links to explanations of what the new features are in the Logos forums.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

samsung galaxy note 7

After looking at Logos 7, I showed off my new Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The Note 7 is a great Android phone with an active Stylus and now includes a USB Type-C connector. It has a great screen and camera. I love this phone.

Sermon Prep Part 3: Theotek Podcast

In part 3 of the Sermon Prep series on Theotek, we covered digital reference books. Each member of the team recommends our favorite tools like Bible dictionaries, lexicons, and more.

For review we covered the first steps of sermon prep in part one of our series. Then in

We started out with English Bible dictionaries. Here’s a list of what we recommended.

  • Anchor Bible Dictionary
  • IVP Bible Dictionary
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • Biblical Archaeology Review
  • Hermeneia
  • Bible Illustration from Holman
  • Accordance Photo Guide
  • Wikipedia
  • CCEL
  • Harper’s Bible Dictionary
  • Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs

Here’s a couple of Bible Background sources we prefer. These help you get at the cultural information that tells us more about the world of the Biblical writers.

  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary
  • Accordance Atlas – one of the best digital atlas resources in Bible software

Next we look at Bible commentaries. The series that we each picked included…

  • Word Biblical Commentary
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary
  • New American Commentary
  • Ancient Christian Commentary
  • IVP Bible Background Commentary
  • JPS Commentary

best commentaries

To find the best sources, we all agree that just one series isn’t the best approach to building a good library of commentaries. Instead check out Best Commentaries on the web. It lists the commentaries by book of the Bible and rates the best options available. They update it when new works come out.

Our Favorite Things

visual theology

I recommend Visual Theology, a work that Olive Tree released recently.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.49.54 AM

Antoine recommended the Google Cardboard, their inexpensive Virtual Reality tool that the user can put their phone into to get a VR experience. There are other VR options like Samsung Gear VR, which I don’t recommend. The children’s version comes from Mattel and uses the old View Master idea.

Rick went the opposite direction and shared one of his least favorite things. He doesn’t like the 12-inch MacBook. The screen’s nice but the keyboard doesn’t feel very good and performance suffers when doing more than word processing or surfing the web.

Sermon Prep Part Two: Theotek Podcast #066

It’s part two of our sermon prep series using Bible software to help us write a message. This week just Rick Mansfield and I tackle a little used tool – the passage outline. We show how to do so in a few BIble software packages and talk about doing it in the Notes tool of any program.

We looked at the outlining features of both Accordance Bible Software and Logos. You can also do one of these in the notes tool of any Bible software that includes one. Just copy and past the text into the note and use the space or tab keys and the return button to arrange the text on-screen in way that shows the relationship of the ideas.

logos bible outline

For a good book on how to do good Bible passage outlines in English, see The 12 Essential Skills of Great Preaching by Dr. Wayne McDill, my preaching professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

How Bible Software’s Improved: Theotek Podcast #058

Listen to a bunch of old farts talk about Bible software then and now. We take a trip down memory lane and share what we used first in Bible software. We also talk a little about the best improvements that we enjoy.

Listen below or watch above to enjoy.

pencil by fiftythree

Our Favorite Things for this week: LaRosa Johnson mentioned one of our favorites, the Pencil by Fiftythree, which looks and works a lot like an art pencil.

onetouch verio sync blood glucose monitor for iphone

Rick, a Type 2 Diabetic, got the OneTouch Verio Sync glucose meter. It connects to an iPhone so you can track your blood sugar levels with your iPhone.

logos 6.1 update

Logos 6 Speed: One Way to Always Pep Things Up

One complaint Logos 6 users often share with me is the speed of the system. So I want to give you one tip that will ALWAYS speed up Logos 6 and, with the right collection of specs in a computer, make it even fast. The tip: think carefully about what kind of internal storage you get in your computer. But first some background.


I review a lot of laptops. I worked on about five or six reviews during the summer/early fall for One of those systems was an Acer Aspire E 15 model E5-573G-56RG. Key specs included:

  • Intel Core i5 5200U (4th gen)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 940M with 4GB of dedicated VRAM
  • 8GB of DDR3L RAM


That’s a pretty spiffy system. They’re the best specs of any of the systems I’ve tested over the last two months and they’re higher than my own Windows computers that I regularly use, a Surface Pro 3 and an older Lenovo ThinkPad T431s laptop. If you look at the list above you’ll notice one key spec I left off, the hard drive.

Most of the systems I’ve reviewed recently and my two personal computers have SSDs. That’s a solid state drive that doesn’t come with spinning platters where the data gets stored and the platters must spin to reach the bits. Think of a record player, if you know what one is. The hard drive uses a head the reads the bits on the spinning drive. With an SSD the bits get stored on fast flash memory and it’s very fast compared with the traditional hard drive.

The Acer Aspire E 15 had a 1000GB 5400rpm spinning hard drive instead of an SSD. That’s a lot of storage. My Surface Pro 3 only comes with 128GB and I can’t put everything on it. My Lenovo runs on a 500GB SSD that I put into the machine myself. I store all the programs I need but my video and picture files don’t fit. They’d fit fine on a 1TB drive, which is what I use to back them all up. It’s big and bulky, so I’d love an internal drive. However, a 1TB SSD costs $350 to $500. I will probably get one if they drop any more. I’m still not willing to fork over that much.

How to Speed Up Logos 5 with an SSD

logos 6.1 update

As I shared above, Logos runs great on all my computers. I never considered how important an SSD was until I installed it on this fast Acer machine. Logos 6 runs on it like an octagenarian sloth whose imbibed too much strong drink. Why? Logos needs a fast processor, lots of RAM plus a fast hard drive. The SSDs in all of my computers make up for the fact that some of them don’t run on fast processors. I tested Logos on an HP Stream 13, a computer with an Intel Celeron Processor and 4GB of memory. It struggled to run Logos because it took forever to index the large 18GB library I own. But once indexing quit in ran reasonably well. Logos 6 ran on the Acer slightly better than the Stream, but with a fast SSD it would have run circles around anything else I own.

I could only conclude that a fast SSD has to be the one thing that speeds up Logos 6 faster than any other spec in the machine.

The Samsung 850 Pro SSD is one of the best available but it costs more than most.
The Samsung 850 Pro SSD is one of the best available but it costs more than most.

Here’s the point: GET A FAST SSD TO RUN LOGOS 6!

There’s more to the equation than a fast SSD. My HP Stream 13 with a slow Celeron processor proves that. It’s also a problem because the SSD is only 32GB and a large library will gobble up nearly all your free space. Windows 10 plus Office and Logos left me with barely a GB of free space. That’s not enough because Windows uses the hard drive or SSD to cache the operating system and programs we’re running. The OS puts it into memory and when it gets full, it stores some of it in a cache file on the hard drive.

To understand that, imagine you’ve got a bottle of milk. You start pour it into a bowl of cereal, but the cereal and milk start to pour over the sides of the bowl. You don’t want to lose your milk or Captain Crunch so you quickly grab a plate to catch the overflow. In that analogy the milk is the Windows 10 and the Captain Crunch is Logos 6. The bowl is the 4GB of RAM your system says it has and the plate under the bowl is the cache file that temporarily stores the overflow.

I’ve run Logos on systems with 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of memory. The 2GB system struggles to keep up, but the 4, 8 and 16 perform similarly while running Logos.

I’ve run Logos on Celeron, Intel Core iX, AMD systems. I’ve run it on systems with integrated graphics and dedicated graphics. None of those changed the speed of Logos as much as going from a spinning hard drive to a fast SSD.

How to Become an Expert Bible Software User: Theotek Podcast #043

Do you want to become an expert in your favorite Bible software program? We’ll give you suggestions on how to do that ranging from tutorials, help files and training sessions.

I just returned from a WORDseach Bible training conference a few days before this podcast. So it got me thinking, how can people become experts?


The best options for training includes:

  • Use the help files or menu item that comes in the program
  • Go to the company’s website to find tutorials, tips and training tools
  • Attend a training conference like I did with WORDsearch
  • Get help from friends
  • Use the software and familiarize yourself with the user-interface

logos desktop support training site

Those are just a few suggestions. Rick Mansfield, our team member and part of Accordance Bible Software, wrote a helpful blog post at the company’s website.

wordsearch 11 library windows

WORDsearch 11 Ships With New Design and Features

There’s a new WORDsearch update. WORDsearch 11 comes with a new user interface, an updated library feature, better note card feature for research and some better speed in indexing resources. Add multi-monitor support and the old Lesson Maker that WORDsearch forgot they owned. It’s now integrated into WORDsearch.

The Theotek Podcast team got a look from Rick Milone of WORDsearch. He’s one of their official trainers as well as a user. He showed off some of the new features.

I brewed me some tea (with fenugreek 50% extract – it’s my favorite new combo) and made my podcast. Here’s my review of WORDsearch 11 written before our podcast. Look for it in Ministry Tech Magazine next  month.

User Interface of WORDsearch 11

wordsearch 11 home page

Open WORDsearch 11 and it displays the Home page. Older versions included a smaller version of this, but this time it takes over the full screen. Notice the list of links along the left and list of specials or deals in their store along the right labelled “Latest News.” All the “news” seems to focus on books I can buy. Too bad they don’t follow other programs and actually offer some real content besides just sales items. This would get me to actually look at this instead of ignore it on my way to opening my library or picking up where I last left off in my studies.

Along the bottom of the Home page we get a bunch of links. These take the user to their apps for iOS, Android and the only myWSB. That’s one of if not the best online Bible study site available today, especially for WORDsearch customers with a large library that they can use the online version without paying extra, as some programs do.

The other set of links at the bottom of the page takes me to WORDsearch social networking accounts. These include:

Move on to the Study and Library pages or tabs to get some real work done. Clicking library shows a grid of books I own in my library. WORDsearch 11 will offer to download your books the first time you click a title to open it from the Library. This takes a long time for people with large libraries like mine.

wordsearch 11 library windows

We get an option to list our books or show them in this default grid format.  There’s also a search box to easily find books by title. Users with user-created content like User Books, Verse Lists or Documents can find them by clicking the items in upper left corner list. As always the categories of books shows up on the left side.

wordsearch 11 study window

The WORDsearch 11 Study window looks the same as it did before while getting an updated set of toolbar buttons. Gone is the Library panel that we used to open along the left edge of the Window. that makes it a little less intuitive for new users to open their books. Use one of the dropdown boxes on the toolbar to open books.

wordsearch 11 toolbar

The toolbar includes buttons for the following:

  • Open – opens the Open Book dialog box where the user can search for books and a list of search results shows up. Double-click to open the book or highlight and click OK.
  • Search – brings up the Search dialog box which includes advanced boolean search functions. Users can limit searches to certain books or just Bibles.wordsearch 11 search dialog box
  • Results – brings up the Search Results dialog box showing the last search. Users can manipulate the results to get a cleaner look at what they want to find.
  • Verses – opens a kind of research assistant tool that finds your verse in various books in your library. The tool lets the user decide wich books to look in like commentaries, dictionaries, illustration books and any other book in the library.
  • Topics – a topical Bible browser that finds content in your library based on topics like grace or cross, etc.
  • Cross-Refs – lists cross references for a given passage.
  • Notes – opens your own notes browser.
  • IVS – Instant Verse Study tool that goes out and gets content in your library about a given passage.
  • Verse List – create verse lists.
  • Word Proc – opens the word processor so you can create documents like Bible studies or sermons inside WORDsearch 11.
  • NoteStack – a note card research tool. See more on this below or in the Theotek Podcast above.
  • Back/Forward – moves back and forth in the history of places you’ve visited in WORDeearch.
  • Opening books from
    • Bibles
    • Parallel
    • Commentary
    • Lesson Maker – the great lesson creation tool owned by WORDsearch and not updated in years till now
  • Morph – morphological explorer research tool for language study.
  • Arrange – quickly arranges open books in either horizontal or vertical alignment.
  • Desktop – works with the Desktop tool that lets users create window arrangements that make quickly switching between study layouts.
  • smallgroup – a link to LifeWay’s an online small group bible study subscription service.

wordsearch 11 verse explorer results


What’s New in WORDsearch 11

Users of older versions of WORDsearch will see that the old Resource Pane along the left no longer shows up. It’s gone, replaced by the Library tab. If you know the title of a book you want to open, then click on the Open button and start typing the title into the dialog box. You can also open books from the Bible and Commentary buttons. The Library tab shows every book installed.

Users of multiple monitors can take use of the new multi-monitor support. Put a Bible and a notes window on one monitor and a commentary or language study tools on the other. Arrange things however you prefer. Save them in a predefined Desktop to quickly open it up.

Lesson Maker is Back

wordsearch 11 lesson maker

WORDsearch owns a great lesson creation tool called Lesson Maker that many of us loved. It was the first WORDsearch product I bought long ago. The tool quickly creates a lesson using questions in a database of tools.

The Lesson Maker tool shows up as a button on the toolbar. Open it up and create a quick lesson. This isn’t a replacement for doing careful study, but it can rescue you in an emergency. Here are the ways I’ve used Lesson Maker.

  • Throw together a quick lesson when you don’t have time due to a busy schedule or a last-minute emergency.
  • Create lessons for a last-minute fill-in who takes your place when you’re sick or get called away.
  • Study hard to teach a lesson and use Lesson Maker to supplement the Bible study

Digital Note Cards in Note Stack

wordsearch 11 note stacks

Remember the old note cards that your English teacher taught you to collect while writing a research paper? WORDsearch 11 offers a tool called Note Stacks. there’s a button on the toolbar to open the Note Stacks dialog box. Create a stack around a topic, a sermon passage or a book of the bible. Whatever you’re teaching, preaching or just studying can become a Note Stack.

Now, while studying in commentaries, language studies, Christian Living books or any place in WORDsearch 11, you can select text and right-click. Choose Create a Note from selected text. The Notestacks box opens with the text already entered into the note. Give it a title, add it to a category from the drop down box, and edit other parts of the dialog box. Then hit Save.

WORDsearch 11 Cost and Value

Users can upgrade to WORDsearch 11 for only $40 for the Windows version or for the Mac version. It’s not the most significant update, but if you can afford it, then go get it. The new user interface makes for easier Bible study. The look of the update isn’t as modern looking as some programs, but that’s a minor complaint. I’m glad I got the update.

Mac users can get access to their WORDsearch library on Mac and it works exactly like the Windows version, but on top of emulation software. It’s not a native Mac app written for OS X. However, if you don’t mind the emulation, it works fine.

The few readers who are using the beta version of OS X El Capitan should wait till WORDsearch makes an El Capitan version available. It’s not compatible as of yet, but will work soon. OS X 10.10 Yosemite users won’t have this issue.