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 Amazon.com 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.