Logos 5 (Verbum) was released this past month. In short, Verbum, which is the Catholic version of Logos 5, is wonderful upgrade in almost every way and I look forward to using it extensively in the coming years.
Again, the question is, where to begin? I equate the transition from relying on actual physical books, like commentaries, interlinears, and concordances, for most of my Bible study research up until recently to utilizing the tools in Verbum as something akin to learning how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time. What do I mean by that? The Liturgy of the Hours can be, for the newbie, a very confusing prayer book. There is so much flipping around and at first one may not know which prayers to use at a particular time of the year. And let's be honest, the introduction and rubric guide at the beginning of the Office is of no real help to someone who is just getting started. So, I have found that if someone wants to pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly the best thing for them is to have a priest, religious, or lay person, who is already experienced with praying it, show him how to use it. Fortunately, someone taught me a number of years back, and I have taught a number of others over the year as well. Verbum is like that in some ways. Why? Well, primarily because it is such a powerful software program that it can be difficult to know where to start. The video tutorials on the Logos website are certainly helpful, but it really does take some time to get use to vast amount of resources that Verbum has to offer. (An example of this would be the new Clause Search feature, which you can read about here.) But what I have found is that just as one becomes more comfortable with praying the Liturgy of the Hours over time, the same things is the case for using Verbum. If you have never used Bible software, like myself until fairly recently, don't be scared away by it. Once you become more comfortable with using this software, which I am getting more and more of every day, you will actually have trouble remembering how you did Bible study research in the past.
Let me just say quickly a comment about the amount of Biblical resources you can access on Verbum. Now that Logos has introduced Verbum, which is specifically for Catholics and contains material not only focusing on Scripture, but also doctrine, liturgy, history, and apologetics, this program is built to be an everyday tool for not only study, but also devotional use. You not only have various translations, exegetical tools, dictionaries, commentaries, and writings from the Church Fathers, Popes, and Church Councils, but also a fully integrated Catechism of the Catholic Church that is a pleasure to search through. In the package I received, I also found some additional surprises, like the writings of G.K. Chesterton, Raymond Brown, and the works of noted Catholic Apologist, Dave Armstrong. And there is so much more!
Including the free Verbum-specific App. I just downloaded this yesterday, and so far it has been a very nice addition to my I-Phone. This App syncs with the main platform on my laptop, but it can be downloaded by anyone, even if you don't own any Logos software program. It comes with a nice selection of free resources, including: The Catholic Lectionary, The Roman Catechism, Pictorial Lives of the Saints,
Sources of Catholic Dogma (Denzinger), Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ,
Newman’s An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Chesterton’s
Orthodoxy, the Douay-Rheims, King James Version,
Clementine Vulgate, Novum Testamentum Graece (Tischendorf), The Greek New
Testament: SBL Edition, Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament, Lexham English
In the end, the only real question I have is whether I re-purchase commentaries and other books that I already own in order to utilize them on Verbum? I am sure that there will be a few that I do, but there is enough already loaded on to Verbum, along with the promise of future releases, that will keep me occupied. But if you are one who is thinking about making the investment to purchase Verbum, I heartily recommend it. It will take a little bit of time playing with the many features to feel comfortable with using it, but it is certainly worth the effort and cost. In the new year, I plan to post occasionally about my experiences using Verbum, so stay tuned.
Thank you, again, to the fine people at Logos for providing me a review copy.