Being in the industry I am in, I get asked a lot of theological questions. Why does God allow bad things to happen? How do we know what books belong in the Bible? What is the difference between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism? What is the best version of the Bible?

But over the last few years, one question has arisen almost as much as these:                                                                           

What is the best Bible study software?

Now that is a good question! And one you need to have an answer for.

I answer that question just like I answer the question about Bible versions:

“What are you using it for?”

Last month I wrote about a Bible study software called Bibleworks. This time I want to talk about the only other real option that is out there, Logos Bible Study Software. I have been a Logos user since the late nineties. I have been through every upgrade and greatly anticipated every title that they release.

Logos is a platform that supports a digital library. The primary glory of Logos is how many titles they have available. They are the standard. They are the Microsoft of Bible study software. It is that simple. No one can compare.

Some of the things that I use Logos for:

Commentaries and Reference Library: I have basically quit buying DVDs because I can just get all of my movies on and use my Roku player to watch them. That way I don’t have to worry about losing them or worry that they get scratched. Well, it is the same thing with Logos and my commentary and reference library. I don’t buy the paper version any more. I only get them on Logos. That way I never have to worry about them. As well, it is such a blessing to be able to pull up a passage of Scripture and have dozens of commentaries available at the click of the mouse. Yes, there are many books that you would not want to read digitally. At least I don’t like to read digitally. But when it comes to reference works, you need a quick and easy way to reference them efficiently. Logos is the way to go.

To save space: There are certain collections such as the Nicene Ante-Nicene Church Fathers that are too large for most offices. Logos helps to save space. We are moving to a digital world. Start now or you will be sorry later.

On Demand: We are an “on-demand” world. Why not be “on-demand” here? It’s late at night. You are studying the doctrine of election in Romans 9. You are pulling your hair out trying to understand what Paul means by “Esau I have hated.” Well, if you had Logos, you could quickly choose from dozens of commentaries available for download to your library. (Psst, download Douglas Moo on Romans out of the New International Commentary on the New Testament). You can download one book at a time or you can download the whole collection at a fraction of the cost of the paper copies.

Searches: With Logos, you can search your entire library for a key word or phrase. The entire library! This is so valuable. When you are searching to see what the early church fathers said about the Lord’s supper or a particular passage, just type in your key words and hit search.

There is one question in which people ask me ALL THE TIME:

Should I get Logos or Bibleworks?

Don’t make me choose for you! It is like asking should I get a Phillips or a flathead screwdriver. You need them both. They both are the best of their kind for the purpose for which they were created.


But Logos is too expensive.

Be careful here: it can get expensive, but this is only due to the amount of books you are getting! The great thing about Logos is that you can get the platform for very cheap and then build your library one book at a time or by buying whole collections. Don’t think you have to do everything at once. But remember, your library is an investment. It is much more valuable then that new car you are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars for. It’s about perspective.

But can’t I get E-Sword for free?

Now you have hit my pet-peeve. Don’t get the free versions of Bible software that are out there. DON’T get the free versions. They may have some great features, but you need to get Logos. The free versions are free for a reason. They don’t have good high quality titles available and they never will. Matthew Henry’s Commentary is nice, but very out of date. It does not compare to NICNT. John Gill’s tome is interesting and has lots to say, but you need to engage in modern works and commentaries. E-Sword is only going to have a few out-of-date titles that have outlived copyright laws. You need to get Logos. You will be sorry down the road when you realize how much time you have wasted without it.

It is too slow.

Well, I will have to agree here. Logos could be faster. This is the only complaint I have had with it over the years. I understand that I personally am searching thousands of works and commentaries, but didn’t Google show us how fast a mass search could be? However, from what I hear, Logos is upgrading its platform and searches are going to be much faster and smoother. I look forward to reviewing it when it comes out.

Finally, I just found out that Logos has just partnered with Zondervan!! What a great joy! Sing praises here, folks! Create a new hymn to remember this day! It is about time that Zondervan saw the light and conceded to Logos’ superiority. In the Bible world, this is like Apple finally conceding and saying PC is the way to go. Well, not exactly, but close.

As with Bibleworks, these guys at Logos are good guys who love the Lord and are doing a good thing. I highly recommend to my audiences and students that you get Logos.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    23 replies to "The Other Best Bible Software"

    • Martin Pitcher

      I would have to agree with you on this.

      I used e-sword from the beginning of its development and even helped with some of the early modules. You can purchase some great modules for it, but Logos is far and away the right choice for developing a tremendous library that is search-able and extremely useful in personal study as well as sermon prep or however you would need it. They do have a payment plan available, which I used to purchase my version.

      I haven’t had the joy of BibleWorks to use on my own computer, but have used it elsewhere and I love it. Now if we could get a payment plan setup with them that would make things easy for me and many others to have it available all the time.

      Blessings and get the programs, you will not regret it.


    • Stan

      My biggest complaints with Logos were mentioned by you above: cost and speed.

      I just got off the phone with Logos sales and they confirmed two things with me:

      1. Libronix Update is in progress. At the ETS conference in Rhode Island this past November I was told Libronix would be “updated” to improve the speed within some 18 months or so. The sales representative said this upgrade is in progress but has they do not have a hard date for its release yet.

      2. Zondervan may be contacting Pradis users regarding the change to Logos. I’m not sure if discounts will be offered to users like me.

      3. Phone Sales are going on right now for Academics.

      I hope this helps or if anyone has anything to add please do so.

    • Dan Masshardt

      No acknowledgment at all for Accordance? That doesn’t seem right.

    • Eric S. Mueller

      I’ve had Libronix (Logos) for several years. The prices do vary. I originally started with the eBible Discovery Edition from K-mart for $19.99. I later got the MacArthur Lifeworks Library.

      I used E-sword for years. It’s good for what it does, and as Martin said, you can buy some modules for it. Development is very slow, and I was more than a little aggravated when the database scheme changed during the last update, requiring a redownload of everything. I couldn’t figure out how to get my notes into the new version, so I copied them, one by one, into Libronix and PocketBible for Windows.

      Speaking of Bible notes, Michael, could you at some point do a post on how you keep your notes on the Bible? I’ve been going nuts for years trying to figure out the best way to keep my notes.

      I heard from Logos tech support that eventually, Logos would go online, making your library and notes reachable from anywhere.

    • EricW

      Re: Logos – I have close to a couple thousand dollar$ invested in it (Scholar’s Gold plus some additional titles), and I don’t even have BDAG or HALOT.

      When debating Bibleworks versus Logos, the question becomes: which version do I want to buy BDAG and HALOT and other things like them for? Do I continue to keep feeding my Logos since I have so much in it already? Or if I’m primarily doing NT and OT searches and grammatical constructions, etc., do I go Bibleworks and buy BDAG, etc., for that?

      I’ll probably just keep buying Logos, since that’s what I have already and I have a few hundred $$ of pre-pub things in my queue as well.

      Re: grammatical searches, I’m getting weird responses with the graphical query. I was searching for finite verb forms followed within 2 intervening words by en or eis, and it keeps (Gramcord morphology) returning me John 1:9 focusing on erchomenon and highlighting eis after it – even though I do NOT check “participle” in the verb forms.

      And when I pick the Logos morphology, it gives me even less hits than the Gramcord morphology.

      I think I need to study the graphical query function in more depth. I suppose I’m doing something(s) wrong, but I’m not sure what.

    • C Michael Patton

      Well, it is really a snub for Apple, not accordance!

      As for keeping notes. Never ask a left handed person how to keep notes. We just put sticky’s everywhere.

    • Jonathan

      Yeah, I wished I could afford Logos. As for macs, well, once you go mac you never go back! lol

      I tell you what, I will drop my e-sword and mac-sword usage if you sponsor me for getting Logos. As a result, I will promote Reclaiming the Mind on my website,

      What do you think?

    • Tom

      Perfect timing as I am currently reviewing the software and considering the purchase. Your review was very valuable. I was also elated to find Dr. Norman Giesler’s four volume Systematic Theology being offered as a module. Now if someone could just convince Wayne Grudem…….

    • Mark C.

      I’ve got some titles with the Libronix/Logos platform, but my main software is Biblesoft’s PC Study Bible. It seems to do what Logos’ does for half the price. With me, cost is a main factor. I’m also Assemblies of God, & Biblesoft has the main theological works of the A/G, so that tipped the scales for me. Bibleworks is beyond my comprehension so I won’t consider it.

      For those who don’t know what to do as far as software, I would recommend E-Sword first, just to get used to using software. Then after awhile, look at the premium softwares and do comparisons, look at cost, available resources, functionality, etc. Biblesoft & Logos have video tutorials you can watch on their websites to help with your comparisons. But most of all, get the software that will fit your NEED.

    • […] Here is Michael Patton’s fairly thorough review of the Logos software. and here is the part of that review with which I completely agree: […]

    • John

      Actually it is a snub for Accordance, since Accordance DOES run on Windows. So why are these allegedly the only two options, even on Windows?

    • Barrett Young


      Do you recommend getting the basic package (Christian Home Library, MSRP $149.99) and building up from there? I am a first year seminary student, so I’m sure I’ll use the stuff in the other versions, but I’m strapped for cash and would like to get familiar with the program before I get overwhelmed.

      You had talked about buying additional books, but where do you recommend starting? Home Library, Bible Study Library, or since I am headed towards preaching ministry, would you recommend I get Leader’s Library?


    • Greg


      Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology is there:

      Anyone new to Logos might be interested in seeing the Pre-Pub page here:

      These are possible titles that, if they get enough commitments to buy the book, they will go through and produce the resource. That way Logos doesn’t lose money on producing expensive sets, and most of the titles are heavily discounted for the early adopters too. For example, you can get the entire New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament for $1189.95 if you put in a pre-order now. It goes up to $1699.95 once the resource finally ships.

      I love Logos and the way they do things. Only thing keeping me from heavily investing in them is the lack of a decent solution for portability. Give me a good tablet computer and I think I may jump on board fully though!

    • Tom D

      I bought the Scholar’s Gold at 50% off while a student at DTS, added Theological Journal Libraries 1-6. My software far outpaces my meager abilities to use it.

      Mark C,

      I understand the your desire to have the works of your own denomination right at hand. I can’t agree about going to E-Sword to get used to using software though. Anybody reading this thread has enough software experience to get rolling with any of them.

      To all regarding cost vs free:

      My thinking is that their time and effort would be better invested in learning to use a more contemporary package. Cost is always a factor, but if we all wrote down every cent we spent for a month, I think we’d be surprised at the amount that could have been better used elsewhere, such as on LOGOS.

    • Ryan Burns

      Michael – Great post. Thanks for sharing.

      Barrett – If you are in seminary, call Logos and you should qualify for an academic discount. Also, you should check out our Seminary Scholarship.

    • Michael L

      Logos all the way !

      Started using it in the late 90’s as well and it has helped me in my studies quite tremendously.

      For those that want to play with it first, you can find cheap NAS or NLT versions on usually for under US$ 50. It’ll come with a concordance and such, and will allow you to play with Logos to see if you like it. At least that’s how I got started.

      And for the Mac lovers under us… yes… Logos is available on Mac since the beginning of 2009 !

      EricW, check out the Logos camps.. perhaps there’s one getting close by or shoot a message with the syntax or a screenshot to the tech support guys at Logos. They’ve helped me before.

      Right now.. my library exceed my intellectual capabilities and time. And I still want some more titles 😉 Definitely some of the freshly released Zondervan stuff. Even they eventually saw the light

      In Him

    • EricW

      I already went to a Camp Logos about 2 years ago. I think I may order the $150 DVD so I can rewatch it at home, and maybe order Camp Logos 2 on DVD as well.

      On the other hand, there are a lot of video tutorials at – I just need to carve out the time to learn and use it.

    • j


      what’s your problem with apple? bad memories of typing classes in school on the IIe or something?

      I recently decided after decades of PC use (and still a preference in many regards) that accordance was better than logos. So I got a mac, keeping my PC(s) handy for real work.

      And now that I’m running XP on parallels on a used MacBook (Intel Core Duo, which I think is the only kind they sell now), I can also say that the Mac runs windows better than most PCs.

      So I must say “for shame” to your comment: “Last month I wrote about a Bible study software called Bibleworks. This time I want to talk about the only other real option that is out there, Logos Bible Study Software.”

      Even if logos never made their mac version, mac users could run it under parallels or another simulator. And for those who don’t like the mac OS, well, I live over half the day in the windows os while sitting at a macbook.

      i still hate the mac/pc commercials and i don’t give a rip about whether using a mac makes my pants trendier and tighter than someone who uses a pc, but in terms of productivity, i’m very very happy with the macbook running parallels. i have great flexibility for tons of tasks because some (not all) of the apple apps are actually useful.

      now, the mac doesn’t yet have support for Syriac keyboards and Syriac unicode fonts. So that’s a downer. But Greek and Hebrew are covered at least as smoothly as on the PC and the Syriac can again be done in windows xp on the mac in parallels (or whatever vmware a person chooses)

      so, i think you should find a friend with a mac, test the latest version of accordance, and be open to new options

    • TonyF

      I have just bought Accordance because a) I’m a Mac user, b) the price was better than Logos. I am retired and not a professional minister or theologian, so Accordance makes sense for me.

      I don’t believe there is a best software package (or Bible translation come to that) because it’s the wrong question “What is the best…?” The right question is “What is the best for this purpose?” Without knowing the purpose of the user/reader then the wrong answer may just be given for this wrong question.

      Literal Bible translations may be fine for one group of readers; paraphrases or dynamic equivalents may be better for another group.

      Keep us thinking, Michael!

    • Brian

      don’t forget great support site and tutourials abound. There is mark Proctors site, he is the go to guy on all matters of logos. for one the slowness bug, he has a solution, trim down the search criteria

    • #John1453


      Over at the Euangelion website (
      Joel Willetts has been undertaking a multi-part review of Accordance. It’s quite a good review and he discusses how and why he started using it, and why he continues to do so.


    • […] Every young preacher should stop buying junk, ready-mixed pabulum, and get some real tools. Another advantage is that you will have no books to loan! Read Patton’s review here. […]

    • Greg

      Just thought I’d give a heads up to anyone who’s still reading this one, but Logos is about to release an iPhone app!

      From the discussion on the forums and a few of the president’s tweets, it looks like you should be able to search and access all your books that you have in Logos.

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