I’ve been using Logos to lead small group Bible studies for a while now. Over the years I’ve compiled some “best practices” that really help me save time. Today I thought I would share some of my tips with you.

Use the Desktop App to Create and Sync Notes

Most of what I’m sharing has to do with the desktop app, although we’ll come back to the mobile app at the end. I’ve found that the whole process is much faster with a laptop/desktop computer than it is with an iOS device. It’s been a while since I played with android so I can’t speak to that situation. 

#1 Customize the Layout
Whenever I’m studying a book of the Bible, I create a custom layout for that book. It’s really simple, just look where my mouse is in the picture below:

You can create a custom layout by setting up the windows the way you want it, then putting your mouse on the dropdown by where my mouse is in the picture above and selecting “replace with current layout”. Then anytime you click on the layout tab and select Bible and Commentary – your custom layout will load automatically… Time saver!!

#2 Speaking of Layouts – This is What I do

I’ve included a screenshot of my layout for studying Acts below:

On the left-hand side notice I have my particular English translation of choice (Our church uses the HCSB) and the Original Language (in this case the SBL Greek New Testament) on one side. That way I can refer back to it while I utilize resources on the right-hand side.

On the right-hand side I like to have a few commentaries open. In this particular case I’ve chosen a few scholarly commentaries and one that is pastoral (HNTC) so that I can make sure I’m dealing with the deep-level interpretive issues, and addressing the important application questions that the text raises.

#3 Use the Notes feature to Create Your Own Study Bible

I mentioned previously that I read the text on the right-hand side while referring to the Scripture on the left-hand side. When I find something helpful in the commentary on the right-hand side I like to highlight it and then select “copy” as seen in the picture:

Then after I have copied the text on the right hand side, I’ll highlight the word/phrase on the left-hand side to which it refers (as shown below).

After I hover over the little note icon, I click it where it says “add note”. That opens a new window on the right-hand side that I paste the text (that I copied earlier) into. It looks like this:

The last thing I do for each note is to adjust the “anchor” for the note. You access the anchor by clicking “add anchor” and then you see what is shown below:

At this point, I usually select the “highlighted text” option. However if you want to choose the greek/hebrew word you can. The difference is that if you select the “highlighted text” option it will only be anchored to that specific resource (in this case the HCSB) and NOT any others (so not your NIV or ESV Bible). So be careful what sort of anchor you select.

#4 Use the Notes Feature Intentionally

I use the term intentionally because I think that it’s best to color code certain types of notes/highlighting in order to know what sort of material they contain before clicking on them, and to make sure that in a Bible study you know how to find what your mind is looking for.

You can see in the image above that I have chosen a few different colors. You will want to decide on your own color coding scheme, but I’ll share mine. I chose Yellow notes for items that I call interpretive or textual questions. These are the basic little questions that I anticipate people having as we read the text. Notice in the example above I have a note on “tongues” open in the right-hand pane. I chose Green notes for anything that has to do with the text in its canonical setting, or that deals with thematic issues. Finally, I chose Red notes for anything that contains an application question I want to ask the group. Because I have a preference for asking questions at the end of a paragraph or section, I tend to place them on the last word before a section break. This gives me a visual cue that we need to stop reading/discussing and ask some application questions. It’s also helpful seeing a Red note and knowing that it doesn’t always pertain to the word to which it is attached. So Red notes function differently for me – but I want them to be different.

Conclusion about Using Logos to Lead Small Group Bible Studies

So what is the payoff from all this work? Well, it all transfers to your Bible on the mobile app!! So when I’m in a small group and don’t have a giant screen in front of me, I can use my phone to access all this information discretely. You can see an example below:

So as you can see, the payoff is that you have created a study Bible with all of your notes that travels with you and lives on your phone/tablet!! If you have any suggestions/ideas – please leave them in the comments below.

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