NASHVILLE (BP) – Leadership behind the Logos Bible Study App, a digital software platform designed to aid with in-depth Bible-study, says the technology is meant to assist not just seminary students, but all believers in their understanding of Scripture.
Mark Ward, senior editor of digital content at Logos (pronounced LAH-gahs), said biblical illiteracy among both evangelical Christians and society at large makes the mission of the organization all the more important.
“I have read the Barna surveys over the years, and the abysmal state of biblical knowledge of self-professing evangelicals is defining a concern to us at Logos,” Ward said.
“The State of the Bible reports are also concerning. This is a perennial concern, and I think it does give weight to and impetus to our mission at Logos to use technology to equip the church to grow in the light of the Bible.”
Logos first released the Logos Bible Study App in 1992, and since then has focused on increasing biblical literacy and accessibility through various technology tools. The latest update is Logos 10, released last year.
Ward said although the research regarding biblical literacy is concerning, he has observed clear evidence of lay people who desire to grow in biblical knowledge.
“From where we sit … it’s just obvious how many people share that interest and love,” Ward said. “The very existence of something like Logos is testimony to the existence of many people who do love the Bible.”
“God does not call every Christian around the world to study the languages of Scripture,” Ward said.
“But what is the way historically speaking, experientially speaking, empirically speaking, that all Christian people are going to make progress in their ability to study the Bible on their own? What is going to give them progress in their knowledge of theology?
“It nearly always is going to come through reading of some kind. All the different resources that evangelicals have developed to help people read the Bible are present in Logos.”
For those using Logos to prepare sermons or do academic research, like pastors or seminary students, Ward said the dozens of features available in the software such as language tools, word search tools, resource library and more can aid in their preparation.
“Pastors need to know more, they need to love more, they need to be able to model in word and in conduct as Paul said,” Ward said.
He said there is “active discussion” among Logos leadership around the use of artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT.
Such AI tools are designed to provide information in response to user prompts or questions in a conversational manner. They have prompted much nationwide discussion, including a recent resolution passed by messengers to the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
Ward told Baptist Press certain translation tools in the Logos software resemble the work of certain forms of AI, but the organization overall will take a hard stance regarding ChatGPT and Christian ministry.
“Sermons written by ChatGPT, probably not something we’re ever going to be doing,” Ward said. “But little tasks that ChatGPT can automate and make quicker, I think we’ve shown we’re willing to consider things like that.”
It’s this belief in the invaluable work of pastors and the Church which motivates Logos to include whatever technology tools may be helpful.
“The Church is essential,” Ward said. “Pastors within the Church are told to feed the sheep, to shepherd the flock of God, to preach the Word to them.
“Logos Bible Software is not mentioned in Scripture. Our view of our work is that we are entirely ancillary to the Church, and that is why we include such a breadth of resources. Whatever is relevant to Bible study, we will include in our platform because we know that it’s the pastor’s job to preach and teach the Word. We are grateful and delighted to be able to give resources to pastors.”
Ward encouraged those who have hesitations or think in-depth study of the Bible is not for them to take the simple step of starting the process.
“Literally everyone in the world who’s ever come to be, like Apollos, ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ started from nothing,” Ward said.
“Nobody is born having some Bible verses already memorized. Even if you feel like you’re starting way behind, that’s OK. You’ll get somewhere if you’ll put the time into it and pray for God’s help.”