Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos

logosLogos and Bibleworks are the two premier Bible study software programs of the theological world. The users of these programs develop loyalties reminiscent of the age-old Mac/PC feud (both programs will work on either operating system). Logos guys tend to be the trendy “look-what-I-can-do-on-my-ipad” types. Bibleworks guys tend to be nerdy “lets-see-every-way-this-word-is-ever-used” types. While these generalizations aren’t always true, Logos is generally regarded as being cooler and trendier than Bibleworks.

The programs have different specialties. Bibleworks focuses almost exclusively on the Biblical text. If you’re looking for the ability to do amazingly complex work with the Biblical languages on your computer, Bibleworks is the way to go. Not surprisingly, this program is primarily marketed to pastors and seminary professors.

Logos, while having respectable textual resources of its own, focuses primarily on constructing a digital library. If you want to build an extensive and fully searchable digital theological library, Logos is just about your only option. Because of this specialty, Logos is frequently marketed to the general public.

Although I own and enjoy the Theological Journal Library for Logos, I have never bought a complete Logos package and have no desire to do so. Partially, I can’t justify the expense of reduplicating a lot of what I have in Bibleworks. However, there are five reasons that should cause anyone to reconsider buying Logos:

1. Thousands of Books That You’ll Never Use

Logos users often have a hard time not gloating over the fact that they have 1000+ books on their computer. I have to admit that it’s pretty cool. However, book collecting is an expensive hobby, and digital books don’t even have the benefit of making nice wall decorations. Logos includes many titles you will never use. Before buying a bundle of 1000+ books, ask yourself how many of those books you even want to read.

Furthermore, Logos is deceptive about how much it actually includes. Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary sits on my shelf as six volumes. Logos includes only the two NT volumes and counts them as 23 books because they comprise material originally published separately in the “be” series. Of course, Logos is free to include whatever books they want in their software packages. However, since Logos calls this module the Bible Exposition Commentary and markets it using the cover of this series, counting two volumes as twenty-three separate books is deceptive advertising, plain and simple. [5-16-2012 Update: As of today, Logos has changed their description of their Bible Exposition Commentary module to “2 vols.; 23 titles.” Presumably this change will eventually be reflected in the descriptions of the base packages. Thus my statement regarding deceptive advertising is no longer a valid criticism of Logos.]

2. Thousands of Dollars That You’ll Never Save

Every advertizement for Logos includes something about how much this digital library saves over the retail price of the same books in print. However, this assumes that (1) you want all those books and (2) you would actually pay retail price. Well over a hundred titles in many Logos packages are public domain and can be downloaded as free PDFs, which are better for reading on mobile devices anyways. Why pay for books you can get for free?

Contrary to popular opinion, Logos books aren’t cheap. The New International Commentary Series (OT and NT, 40 volumes) costs $1,599.95 in Logos. Sure, that’s a lot less than retail, but who pays retail these days? You can order the same printed set at CBD for $999.99 (well, not exactly the same, the CBD set also includes one recent volume that Logos doesn’t).

I don’t have time to do the math, but if you excluded all the public domain books that you can download for free and then compared the cost of any Logos base package to buying the same books from CBD or Amazon, I’m fairly certain you could get the printed books cheaper. Additionally, you could save even more money by going used, and you also wouldn’t have to buy any book you didn’t want. If you are looking for specific books, you’ll usually be able to find them cheaper in print. On the other hand, if you just want to have a lot of books on your computer, why not just download a couple thousand volumes of whatever from Google books? It would be cheaper and give you the same bragging rights.

3. Thousands of Hours That You Would Never Spend

Logos ads frequently claim that you will save thousands of hours using their product. Such claims overvalue the usefulness of keyword searching. Keyword searches are useful for finding things, but they are limited by (1) the quantity and quality of the indexed data and (2) the time available to read the material. Real-world research is all about finding the best sources in a limited amount of time. In real life, you will either be using a much more extensive library due to the demands of the project or you will be using a much more limited selection of trusted sources due to time constraints. Logos will never give you an adequate substitute for library research, and no matter how fast you can find material, you will only have so much time to read. Furthermore, quickly finding the right sources is more dependent on experience and good reading habits than having a small search engine.

4. You Can Only Read One Book at a Time

For many, one of the most attractive features of Logos is the ability to carry all your books with you on a laptop. As a missionary, I understand the attraction for having a compact, portable library. However, you can only read one book at a time. True, with Logos you can jump from book to book with ease, but in order to profit from any book, you must be willing to spend some quality time reading the material once it’s opened. In normal sermon prep, you only have time to consult a relatively small number of commentaries. It’s much better to focus on buying the few best books on a subject than hundreds of mediocre ones (for good suggestions on books see the DBTS booklist). A good theological library doesn’t need to be huge, and most of us don’t have trouble carrying around all the books we plan to read in a week.

5. Technology Changes

Logos has been around for about 20 years, so it is unlikely that they will go out of business overnight. However, technology has a propensity for becoming obsolete. E-books have not yet found a medium that will be relatively future-proof. I seriously doubt that Logos users will still be able to access their books in 10-20 years without at least buying some form of upgrades. There is also always the possibility that Logos will go out of business, and then the software would eventually become unusable. Of course, physical books can burn up in house fires, but that’s why you pay for homeowners insurance.

In short, Logos is a nice software package but perhaps not as wonderful as it is hyped. You should think carefully before you buy. Andy Naselli has written a good article in favor of Logos if you want a different opinion. From my perspective, it’s more practical to stick with paper books and use Bibleworks for the linguistic heavy lifting.

[Related posts: Logos Groupthink, How to Avoid Buying Books, and Don’t Buy Books You Don’t Want]

68 thoughts on “Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos

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  3. When I was looking to buy, someone advised me to get Accordance with an English Bible, GNT, BHS-4, the LXX, and BDAG & HALOT. As far as resources are concerned, on any average basis that is all you are going to need. A library is always going to have more than my bible software ever will.

    • As a missionary, going to a digital library system is a choice into which I’ve put a lot of thought. In reading reviews, I have yet to find a negative review of Logos, so I decided to write one.

  4. I use logos almost everyday. I would say that this review is fair. I will even say that you need a super computer to run the program. Still, it saved my behind a couple of times in seminary when I couldn’t get to the library. I have said many times what is written on the pages is more important than the number of pages. If you are careful, you can get some good books and just use them.

  5. I agree with all of your criticisms, but the single thing that outweighs all of them for me is space. Not needing to move my books is the most wonderful thing in the world.

  6. Too many straw men in this review for it to be helpful. Not an unfair review, but not greatly helpful either. Much of what I’ve gotten out of Logos contradicts the opinions in the review. And factually, ???

    So what if you save four hundred dollars buying NICOT and NICNT in hard copy. Can you search that entire collection for a phrase in less than a second?

    Like most people, I only read one book at a time. But I don’t have to decide what book that will be before I leave home. I carry them all with me.


    • How can I be both setting up straw men and “not unfair”? Where am I not factual? I didn’t say Logos is a bad program or that no one should buy it. I just argued that it is over-hyped.

      My point with the NIC was exactly that you do no save money buying it in Logos. Pastors and theologians tend to justify the expense of Logos with the same rationality that our wives use at the mall. We’re quite adept at pointing out imaginary starting prices of shoes and dresses but not so much when it comes to books.

      How often would you really want to search for a phrase in the entire NICOT and NICNT anyway? They are commentaries. If you can’t figure out in a second or two where the book talks about the verse you’re pondering, you’ve got serious problems.

      Again, portability is a big plus to Logos. However, missionaries or people moving across country are likely the only ones to significantly benefit. While it’s cool to have a thousand or so books on your computer, I’m just not seeing the practical benefit for me at least.

      • I would say a major benefit in searching the commentary set, assuming it has been read already, is referring back to a quote you remember. Which could take several minutes or an hour, versus in Logos just a few seconds. Only an advantage in my opinion. Also, lets say I have not read the whole commentary set, and I would like to know what it says about a specific doctrine or topic, I can then search the set for that doctrine or topic, and if it addresses it, every place that does will pop up in the search engine. A very valuable tool.

        This is not meant to criticize your critique, I agree with some of your statements, however I find Logos to be extremely valuable and an asset to my life and ministry.

  7. An important critique of e-books not mentioned here is that you cannot share them. One of the greatest features of paper books is being able to lend them to friends. But with digital publishing each work has an immutable “owner” and cannot be shared. It is just what the copyright holders want, but it is suboptimal for users.

    • You can share your Logos books, in fact you can end up sharing your entire library so the person doesn’t just barrow the one book but your entire collection. I purchased Logos about three years ago give or take and since then my entire family has my library on their computers, two of my friends, and a fellow colleague all share access to my entire Library.

      • No, you are violating the Logos license as this post in the Logos forum shows:
        “Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:29 AM
        Stephen Wipperman:
        My son is entering the Seminary and I wonder if there is some way for me to share my library with him?
        For example, if I purchased him a basic Logos account, would I be able to share my Logos books with him?
        You can’t share books between two accounts, and Logos is licenced per-user anyway, so the answer really is ‘no’. Logos do generously allow family members to use another family member’s copy of Logos on an occasional basis, if they are part of the same household, even though strictly speaking the licence terms do not permit this. But that wouldn’t describe the situation you have.”

      • As I understand if you buy Logos or any software, it is for you and you alone. It’s not to be share with other users. That one reason you will start seeing subscription software. The software are trying to stop people from shareing (stealing) the software.

  8. I would agree that some seem to be impressed with the number of resources they have rather than with the quality of their resources though this has never impressed me. I would also agree that there is a considerable amount of filler material included in the packages with an inflated price comparison. I would disagree, however, with the contention that one does not save time with Logos. Keyword searches can be constructed to find specific references rather than using a shotgun approach with a resulting plethora of hits which then must be combed through to find that which is wanted. This also neglects the fact that searches can be limited to collections (which are user constructed at some point) or even to one resource. As to one’s ability to read one resource at a time, that is both true and untrue. After years spent in school, I am accustomed to switching from one resource to another with the result that I seldom have fewer than 6 resources I am reading at any one time. In some cases I will virtually read straight through a book. In other cases I will pick it up and put it down repeatedly (sometimes even putting it down for a considerable time before picking it up again). With Logos I never need to be concerned with locating where I left off since it will automatically open to my last spot. You may get books cheaper, but you will be hard pressed to find a more convenient way to store and use resources. Unless you are an unusual person, I suspect you will want to read more than simply original language texts, and, as has been noted, Logos is unsurpassed in the breadth of its offerings.

  9. I am a happy Logos user and seminarian. I picked up Logos from my seminary, who gave it to me for enrolling as a full-time student. I, too, thought about the pro’s/con’s of taking my growing theological library digital. When Logos upgrades to v5, what will happen to my resources if I don’t pay for the upgrade? Most of the commentaries I buy now, I buy on Logos. I also bought BDAG and several of my Greek resources on Logos instead of in print.

    Searchability is definitely one of the main reasons. Also, I use the “cited by” feature all the time. What “cited by” allows me to do is put in a passage of Scripture and view all the resources in my library that reference this passage. So, whether they are commentaries, systematic theologies, Grammars, journals, etc, I can find out how these sources interpret, use, or apply the passage. Very helpful. Also, having my Greek grammars on Logos (e.g. Wallace, Porter) which are linked to my passage alerts me to any significant grammatical issues these guys cover that may impact my translation and interpretation of the passage. Again, this is very, very useful in doing my exegetical work both in class and in the pulpit.

    Finally, I agree that Logos has a ton of resources I would probably never use. That is why I haven’t upgraded to silver, gold, or platinum. Most of the “added” resources in these upgrades aren’t meaningful to me because I don’t know how I would use them. If I want a particular commentary or resource, I will buy it on my own. So far, most of my purchases have been individual commentaries or Greek resources.

  10. The review stated, “E-books have not yet found a medium that will be relatively future-proof.” The number of people reading books on tablets would probably make this statement seem a little dated. You can read Logos books well on any tablet. This makes the library so much more valuable than before.

    It probably would have been helpful if the author would have interacted more with Logos; he might have seen the benefit. The fact that you can search the books for what you are studying seems almost invaluable.

    Who knows, after 2,3, or more moves on the mission field, he might reconsider the size of his paper library. As far as the value; a missionary should probably factor in the moving costs for his book purchases. You may be able to find a better deal on Amazon or CBD, but you are also going to pay two arms, a leg, and possible a first-born to ship books around the globe. That makes the price skyrocket for paper books.

    The one criticism of Logos that I have actually found valid was not listed: the inability to loan books to someone. I can’t loan a helpful book to a church member through Logos. That is the one major downside.

    Just a few thoughts from a long time Logos user (9 years and counting) that has been to the field and back a few times, and even moved apartments a few times on the field.

    • Just because you can read Logos books on a tablet doesn’t mean that they are future proof. I would say common e-book formats like epub and pdf are relatively future proof because they can be read by multiple programs and could be converted if need be. However, most theological material exists in some proprietary format (Logos, step, etc). These are not “future proof” because they are entirely dependent on a single program and cannot be converted (at least not legally).

      As for experience, I use the Theological Journal Library for Logos regularly and enjoy it very much. I just don’t see the advantage of having a full-blown Logos library. I’ve tried Logos and have five (maybe now six) reasons for not buying it.

    • About shipping books, you don’t need every book you’ve ever accumulated with you on the field. A small library of very good books is all one really needs. Furthermore, you can take things with you in stages, friends can bring you books when they visit, and in many areas of the world (not where I am) some airlines give extra baggage allowances for missionaries.

      • This is a . . . not well thought out response. My son goes to Africa this summer. He gets three bags. How many books can he carry, really? I have a library of 100 boxes . . . so how many should I take? 5 boxes? 10? This strikes me as a novice’s comment. With Logos, take all you want and buy more from the field via digital download.

      • Ben is only going to be in Africa for a year. How many books does he really need to take with him? Sure, he will be teaching, but I would assume CABC has a decent library. BTW I can say from experience that one person can pack the entire NICOT/NT without paying extra and still have plenty room for clothes (though I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to for just a year). The trick is to use your carry-on space effectively.

  11. Parallax Perspective, if you ever consider updating your 5 reasons for not buying Logos 4 you might consider the fact that the Logos 4 Windows forum search for “crash” has 14,294 hits. Just a thought.

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  14. While I do not agree with most of your post, I must say that in fairness you need to include WORDSearch, Accordance, OliveTree, BibleSoft and other commercial bible software packages in the conclusion of your review. Their revenue stream is completely dependent on selling content; each have base packages that have books many may consider filler and they all must continue to sell content to survive.

    While marketing and corporate vision may differ, they all essentially fall into the base premise of your article. The possible exception is BibleWorks, but a case could be made based upon the premise of your article for them as well. Hundred of Bible versions you will never use etc.

    To be fair you should re-title your article to Five Reasons Not to Buy Bible Study Software.

    I disagree that Bible software promotes poor research and provides books never read. To be honest, these software companies provide the ability to find relevant material by topic, verse or keyword that print books can never offer. The idea is to use the books as reference books rather than books you read cover to cover. If one is working with a particular verse you can actually find where a particular author referenced that verse. Or perhaps an author references the Church Fathers and in a click you are in the original material referenced. Footnotes actually get read because they are not hidden in the back of the resources, but can be referenced by hovering over the note. This works really well in grammars, commentaries, dictionaries, theological resources and journals. While there are resources available to read cover to cover, many of the most useful resources are reference material that adapts well to use with Bible software. Using one of your examples, you can actual find relevant material in the Works of Jonathan Edwards given your topic or pericope you are studying in any of the software packages referenced above. The reader can then determine the extent to which they choose to pursue the content further.

    While I disagree with the premise of your article, I do appreciate you voicing your opinion and in no way want to infer any criticism on you. We just disagree.

    • I’m writing primarily with the seminary crowd in view. As far as professional Bible software goes (that lets you do extensive work with Hebrew and Greek), the big options are either BibleWorks (Accordance for Mac) or Logos. I’m not arguing against bible study software but rather proprietary digital libraries. Since Logos is about the only serious option for building a proprietary digital theological library for professional use, I just addressed the post to Logos.

  15. 5 Reasons This Review Misses the Mark.

    1.) Things ARE changing . . . print books are going the way of the manual typewriter. Sure, not today or even this week BUT things are changing. What will the future be for the printed page? Some form of e-reader. Librarians are worried that they will be out of business . . . St. Thomas U a large Catholic U in Mpls is divesting itself of printed things as digital comes online. Who doesn’t appreciate Galaxy Software? 1000′s of journals and all interface with Logos! What a boon!

    2.) The bigger question . . . does Logos have a future. IMO someone will pick up their stuff and make it available some how, I have no doubt, if they fade away. I have talked to the Logos top brass about this on several occasions at ETS. Will there upgrade fees? Maybe Some seem inevitable, but they will be minimal. But the convienence of e-books is worth it. I go to Africa this summer with several thousand books at my disposal. My son moves there also. The expense of taking even 1000 books would be enormous but the laptop will travel with him. It is a cost/benefit issue. Will the current digital collection become the 8-track of today? I doubt it. I have a long history in the digital world . . . now 25 years since I received my first computer (an IBM PC Jr.). I can pull up work done then on today’s machine. Moreover, printed books are not necessarily protected from destruction. I can restore my Logos in a matter of hours if my laptop is stolen. It would take years to restore my print collection.

    3.) The searchability of the e-book is a key feature. Lugging a box of books is back-breaking but using them is another matter. Sure, some books will have to be lugged but at least for serious sermon work, Logos has a great selection of digital material available. And searching is quite easy and offers greater time management them paging through a book. I lived through the transition of using printed books and a computer Bible software program. I figure my sermon work became 50% more efficient, at least. Using BDAG is a snap with Logos. A fraction of the time to look up a word in the paper lexicon. For the record I am 56 am have been doing sermon work for nearly 40 years! Logos is efficient and powerful and I use far more sources in my work digitally than I ever used in print.

    4.) Reading one book at a time? Not an issue . . . carrying multiple books at a time to cross-reference . . . great benefit. On your logic . . . why buy books at all? Just check them out from a library since you can read only one book at a time anyway!

    5.) Logos will facilitate reading snippets . . . like people don’t do that with printed books? Of course, one must always consider context . . . it is key! But e-readers are no more prone than print. It’s up to the end user, IMO.

    Sure . . . there is the nostalgia of the printed page. The feel of the book in the hand. IMO . . . get over it! E-readers are here to stay. But who wants to go back to a manual typewriter because they enjoy the clackety-clack of the keys? Gimme an iPad any day!

    A postscript . . . I have been a bookseller for years and a bibliophile longer . . . today’s printed books will not be around in 200 years anyway, they are so cheaply printed. The sewn binding is virtually a thing of the past. I have Puritan imprints in my collection that have survived more than 300 years! Take a look at the NIC series these days . . . all with glued bindings. Good luck passing them down to anyone. The glue will dry out and crack . . . guaranteed. Soooooo . . . the future of the print paged looks bleak. But the original owner will be dead so que sera sera!

  16. Ok Parallax . . . first . . . talk to me once you have served for a couple of terms on the mission field and THEN ask how many books does a missionary need. I made a call and know who you are. You are writing from a very limited perspective. Sure, there is stuff on Logos that is not as useful, so ignore it. But one can build a fine, current collection of good books that will be useful in any ministry context with Logos. When you get to your restricted access nation, good luck getting more resources . . . Logos is the way to go! How many books does Ben need? All he can download! I have a box FULL of tools, many of them specialty tools, like a 4″ hole saw. It’s not a saw that I use often . . . but try to install a new dryer vent without one. So I pay $30 for a good 4″ hole saw. That’s cheaper than $40-75 per hour for a carpenter or plumber to do the same thing. How often will I use it? Once paid for itself. Books are the same, IMO. I buy some books that I will use frequently, others that I will use occasionally, some that I will use seldom but it is the definitive source on a topic. Others I buy that look interesting and I will never read. But I am constantly amazed at being able to pull a book from my shelf today that I bought years ago and NOW need it. I see no difference in the digital world.

  17. In blogging about Bible Software, if you can hit the sweet spot topic wise you can get a range of responses. You have done this extremely well. You probably haven’t made any friends in the Logos crowd! 🙂

    In my view, part of what you have blogged about are claims that have been made by the Logos marketers. I think these are fair claims to examine. In fact, you can find some of these claims being discussed by some of even the most loyal supporters on the Logos forums. So to there one can go to see what has already been said about some of these points.

    As far as having thousands of public domain books on your computer, very few of my friends will take the time to understand where some of the authors are coming from and whether some of their assertions need to be weighed in light of advances and new discoveries in lexicography, archaeology, etc. I think therein lies a very real danger. If you in effect just search for hits on a verse or topic that you are wanting to teach on, you can in some ways just ‘proof text’ their views, not realizing the what you are doing. Of course this dynamic already exists on the internet.

    I do believe that every teacher/student of the Word needs a reasonably sized library though. As Charles H. Spurgeon said of those pastors who have a ‘slender apparatus’ (those who have few books) ‘This is a state of things which ought not to exist in any case; the churches ought to take care that it should be rendered impossible.’ On the other hand, I believe it was John Stott who also challenged students of the Word to know the materials that they have on hand, so to use them accurately and with wisdom. He of course was a big proponent of books and said ‘I have made it a rule not to quote from any book unless I have first handled it.’

    I’m a big fan of ebooks, but must come back to what is the objective? We need to sit back after the promotions, think about what we need and use it wisely. I welcome this blog post to provoke some critical thought.

    • I probably deserve a little push-back on the number of books argument. Even my wife told me “you’re one to talk….” However, reading books is far more important than owning them. If one takes good reading notes, you really don’t need every book you ever accumulate. If you have a library of really good resources, you should be able to separate out a hundred or so “deserted island” books that is all you really need for everyday use.

      • Everyday use? There is really only one book I can think of as an “everyday” sort of book. Regular use? As in weekly or slightly less. Perhaps another dozen or so. Books one consults periodcally . . . now we are talking dozens (all church history, no doubt!) Books we check occasionally? Now we are in to a good deal more titles, still mostly church history. Deserted island? Long as it has highspeed DSL and power to recharge my iPad!

      • “If one takes good reading notes, you really don’t need every book you ever accumulate. If you have a library of really good resources, you should be able to separate out a hundred or so “deserted island” books that is all you really need for everyday use.”

        You are not off base. Logos users just go overboard in their defense. I’ve been in the field and there are ton loads of missionaries doing outstanding work with a small library and some with little or none at all.

        Its a hazard of seminary that many graduates get an over dependence on books. Original languages are important yes. A few other books can be great but in many fields it won’t be your book knowledge that makes you a great missionary.

        also….I’m sorry but I find it a little creepy that because you made certain observations about a software package phone calls had to be made to check your background and then claims had to be made against your perspective based on it. Seems extreme to me.

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  19. As a missionary who knows the challenges of having an overseas library, as well as the value of Bible software (I’m a loyal fan of Accordance since 1998) I can say that everyone has raised some good observations. I do appreciate the challenge posed by the blog observations. My one comment of practical advice is that for a “meager” $50/yr. one can subscribe to Galaxie software and access all the theological journals up to the present. It might not provide as much convenience as off-line searchability, but for those who don’t want to spend a looming amount for the Logos Theological Journal module/add-on, the $50 subscription allows you searchability, printability, and the pdf download. Those journal articles tend to be worth more in theological research insights than over half of the “extras” in Logos, books which one really would never read on a given day even in a utopian theological researchers wildest dreams. The books that have been most fruitful in my meager library on Accordance have been the biblical language texts, BDB, NIDOTTE, BAGD. In hard copy, Wallace’s Beyond the Basics, Stanley Porter’s Idiom’s of the Greek New Testament, AND the free version of NET Bible on-line with it’s study notes. Those study notes of the NET Bible give one the access to many of the key discussions in a given passage, highlighting the options and at least their reasons for their choice.

    • I do own and update the Theological Journal Library. It’s quite helpful. I also have the advantage of being an alumnus of a large state college which gives me access to their online library resources, which are quite extensive and well worth my alumni dues.

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  21. Until a few years ago, I thought a basic Bible software package along with my library of books would be more than enough to keep me happy. The sad reality is that a print book is mostly good for dust collection and added wall insulation. An illness left me unable to wield a bunch of heavy books around for serious study even though I still could use some. Logos enables me to do far more than I could ever imagine possible. It’s a goad to keep me at the original languages, to search background material, and ask questions and find answers that I couldn’t possibly do on my own wading through piles of books.

    Yes, it’s entirely possible that technology could dramatically change and Logos (and all the rest) could disappear and leave us unable to continue. So we’ll find another way.

    One of the advantages of Logos was made abundantly clear when I switched. I sold off much of my print books. Two volumes went to someone in Germany. He had me send them to someone in the US who made arrangements to get them to the student in Germany. Ugh! I’ve been using the electronic ones constantly and their cost was a mere fraction of what I paid for the print ones even back in the 1980s

  22. I got into Logos while I was church planting in Northern Asia, after moving my print library twice (a costly endeavor that left many books damaged). That was in 2005. Now I am a pastor in the US and use Logos everyday, having built up a huge library. I find it invaluable for everything I do – research, Bible study, sermon prep, work in the original languages, etc.

    I don’t find any of your reasons for avoiding Logos compelling. Having a vast library is very helpful for me, even though I can only read a book at a time and will never read many of the books I own. Why? For research purposes. A pastor friend of mine, who has yet to enter the digital age, calls me frequently with questions and I usually can get the answers in minutes. He has more books on his shelves than I do, but my digital resources are more helpful (and three times as vast).

    You should buy Logos before you head to the mission field. As an experienced missionary and pastor, I can give you a lot more than five reasons why it would be helpful.

  23. Heh. I love having Logos with me here in Africa, but I catch your drift. I often wished I had bought a cheaper package and just added the books I really want and use. Searches get bloated with resources I don’t bother with. NICNT/OT, and other commentaries, Works of Luther, Calvin’s Commentaries are very nice to have.

    That said, I have been slowly becoming a bit concerned with Logos’ outlook and business practice. Nothing I could put my finger on, I guess I was starting to feel squeezed, but not like in a hug. However, I have plugged along with them. With the rollout of Logos 5 though, ouch. My confidence in them is shattered. I have cancelled my pre-orders and will continue to use my resources I have gathered but I think I’ll stick with Amazon going forward (where possible) and maybe consider checking out Bible Works for Greek/Hebrew helps. I’m pretty disappointed, but I probably should have seen it coming.

  24. used gramcord back in the day, accordance, hermeneutic, and bibleworks. LOGOS for the past 11 years and nothing comes close. if you don’t like the books you won’t use, buy scholars and build your own. nothing compares.

  25. Your comments are partially right as many of the Logos packages are so large and come with so much “junk” that is not usable. But my recommendation would be that Logos is the way to go. It can do everything (technical biblical study in original languages) that Bible Works can do plus you can add other reference books. I decided in graduate school (M.Div. Gordon-Conwell) to invest in reference works only via Logos. I still bought and still do read lots of other books but I concentrated on spending reference work money in Logos. This plan has worked out really well. Reference works a the bulkiest kind of books so getting them in digital form is really helpful. You won’t have to move them or expands shelves for them. I also like being able to access my logos collection via their web portal so even if I’m on a machine that does not have Logos; I can get to my resources.

    If you are a teacher, pastor, or hope to be a scholar you will need the original language package (or that’s what it was called when I bought it four years ago) which is about $300. You don’t need one of their big packages that is too weighed down with stuff that is not helpful. The Original Language collection gives you things like NA27/BHS-4 and the LXX. BDAG & HALOT have to be brought separately but you will need those too. The other really helpful set was the IVP Essential Reference Collection which contains the most up to date, and scholarly, reference works from a evangelical perspective like Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels or the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. That set is worth it’s weight in gold. It costs around $150. The only other thing that could be helpful would the the Journals Library or whatever its called that would give you access to theological journals. At least in terms of graduate school or going on to pastoral work this is all you need and it works great.

    The vast majority of the professors at GCTS used bible works because that’s what they had started on 20 year ago. As I told them what Logos could do and the fact you could add other books if you wanted they were very impressed. With Logos the biggest challenge is knowing what you need and avoiding the big packages that cost $1000 and is full of too much junk.

    If I was a lay person and wanted bible software I would buy their bible study package and the IVP Essential Reference Collection. That’s all you would need for a lifetime of informed bible study.

    • Speaking of the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (or any of the other excellent IVP dictionaries), I really wonder if going digital actually would save any time in referencing them. Most resources like these have extensive and easy-to-use indexes in the back. Assuming the user used good research practices (which is a big assumption these days) and went directly to the indexes, I don’t see too much time being saved. Sure Logos could flip the pages infinitely faster, but the hard-copy formatting (headings, key page numbers indexed in italics/bold, slugs in the header and footer, etc) make assessing the relevance of each page much faster. Furthermore, I’m concerned that Logos might miss key disambiguation notes. For example, in IVP’s Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels you may need to search for “abba” rather than “father.”

  26. I am an owner of Logos 4. I agree with quite a few points being mentioned above. It is a very nice to have bible software and nice to tell everyone about my thousands of collection in my laptop. However, I honestly have not felt much from the dollars I spent. I found a lot of books in the logos library have not been needed and becomes redundant. Please don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy using it but I felt that I “overbought” these books and could have used the money to buy other books that help me facilitate in my ministry and personal growth.

    I am a small group leader and thought buying this software will help me prepare sermon with more substance. It has indeed helped me, but not significantly. To fully embrace and speak to my small group, I still find I must savor a book with time and scrutiny, which you cannot do it with a laptop. It is tiring to my back and eyes. Most of all, I learned that I need to allow Holy Spirit to help me to find the substance of preaching, not from a software. Felt silly by thinking spending so much money could helped me improve whereby God has already given me a helper and teacher.

    Logos 5 was just recently being released and realized I have to spend another couple of hundred dollars to upgrade it. I just bought Logos 4 less than a year and now I am told I have to pay for this upgrade. So how much can I chase?

    If you have some extra bucks, it is a nice to have software. Go through the package wisely and buy books that you really need. If you want quality reading, go for the traditional way, which is a real book.

  27. Long-term accessibility of Logos books?

    Re: your ‘Technology Changes’ point, I agree that the long-term accessibility (10-20 years) of *any* eBook (or Logos book) that you’ve purchased is a serious concern. However, I think that Logos is actually ahead of most other eBook publishers in this regard, because their stated policy is that updates to the software will always be free so that you can always continue to read your existing books on new versions of your operating system etc.

    After the initial releases of the (fairly expensive) Logos 5 packages, they have now released the ‘Minimal Crossgrade’ upgrade, which gives you the new software and almost all of the new databases for about $160, and the ‘Logos 5 Core Data Sets’, which is even cheaper for Logos 4 package owners. And they say they are planning to release a free upgrade to the Logos 5 software (without any of the new databases) in 2013 — see this Fri Nov 2, 2012 posting by Bob Pritchett from Logos:

    I think their “you only buy books, the software is free!” policy is generous and impressive. I’ve just purchased the Minimal Crossgrade because I wanted several of the new Logos 5 database such as Timeline and Bible Sense Lexicon, and I’m personally happy to help support their software development costs by paying a smallish amount like $160 each 2-3 years. But it is nice to know that we can upgrade to each new version of Logos for free if we wait.


  28. Pingback: Don’t Buy Books You Don’t Want | Parallax Perspective

  29. An interesting article, lacking in some respects. I own the Logos Portfolio package, and a very large number of additional resources. I’ve been a user for around ten years, and I’ve spent over US$20,000 on Logos software. I left my home country to live overseas on missionary work, and Logos has been invaluable to me; I left behind a personal library of hundreds of hard copy books.

    1. Thousands of Books That You’ll Never Use

    I have not found this to be the case. The Portfolio package is relatively fat free (I disregard the homeletical content and the non-scholarly commentaries), and only choose to purchase those resources I know I will use. When I see a collection on pre-publication, I only purchase it if I know I will use at least 75% of the resources on a regular basis; otherwise I let it go, and wait for the collection to be broken up later.

    2. Thousands of Dollars That You’ll Never Save

    I have saved thousands of dollars, mainly by purchasing collections on pre-publication. I typically save 40% on the final Logos retail price, and on occasion save up to 70%. I have saved up to US$300 at a time.

    Additionally, the resources I purchase would be completely unaffordable if I were to purchase them in print. The resources I purchase are usually those originally published by the major academic publishers such as Eisenbrauns, Mohr Siebeck, Oxford, Peeters, Brill, Walter de Gruyter, and Sheffield. These books typically retail for around US$60, and are often priced far higher; it’s not uncommon for them to cost over US$100.

    Buying them secondhand isn’t an option, since the chances of finding them available secondhand is vanishingly small. Nor are they available in the public domain; the public domain books are almost always legacy works of little current value. Why not just download them from Google Books? Because you can’t download these books from Google Books, they typically aren’t even available for purchase in Google Books. And PDFs? Nowhere near as useful as Logos resources which are fully integrated into the Logos search platform, and which I can download to the Logos app on my Android phone, for far superior features than are available in PDFs.

    Although NICOT/NICNT might be available in print form for cheaper than the Logos price, that doesn’t concern me; I received the complete set when I purchased an earlier Logos package, along with several other expensive commentary sets. When purchased in this way, commentary sets in Logos are typically less than 30% of the retail price of the physical copy. They are also a lot more useful, since they are much easier to store and use.

    I am currently planning on upgrading to the Logos 5 Portfolio package. This would cost me US$1,249, but I would receive a large number of academic level resources and collections; eight of those collections (all of which have been on my purchase wishlist for a couple of years), would cost me a total of US$2,465 if I were to purchase them individually from Logos. So I will literally save thousands by upgrading.

    3. Thousands of Hours That You Would Never Spend

    The advantages of Logos go well beyond the search engine. They include cross-referencing between books (so if a book is cited in one book, you can click on a live link which will open that resource for you, if it’s in your library), the incredibly powerful ‘cited by’ feature (which lists all the places where a Bible passage you’re studying is cited in all other works in your library, completely with live links so you can go straight to that place in each work), the ability to build collections so you can catalog your resources in specific themes, the ability to add your own meta tags to resources for advanced searching, the ability to save and organize favourites, the customizable guides you can create (automatically pulling information on specific topics and passages from your preferred resources), and many other sophisticated features which enable you to find the information you need very quickly. This is far more practical than sitting in your study with a pile of physical books, or searching the shelves of a library. Not to mention the fact that I don’t actually know any library in the country where I live which has a collection of scholarly Biblical literature as large as mine.

    4. You Can Only Read One Book at a Time

    Yes, and having my Logos library available to me at all times on my cell phone means I’m reading a lot more books a lot more regularly, than when I was restricted to a comparatively tiny library of printed books.

    5. Technology Changes

    I don’t believe this is a criticism even worth raising. I have been using Logos since Logos 2. In that time the software has changed medium from floppy disks, to CDROM, to digital delivery over the internet; as technology changes, Logos changes with it. Even if Logos were to go out of business tomorrow, that would not stop me using all the resources I have, nor would the Logos software on my hard drive suddenly cease to operate. Even if Windows suddenly changed so radically that the current Logos software was no longer compatible with it, and the company had ceased to exist, I could still run it in a virtual OS.

  30. Partially agree with you. I own four different Bible study applications. Accordance (least resources least use) e-sword, (use weekly) BibleWorks8 (used weekly) and Logos5 (used nearly daily). Yes, I’m looking for the commentary and comparitive features in Logos, but like you, agree that BibleWorks is a better serious study tool. Logos continues to upgrade their functionality, and the way users interact with it, and usually is in some ugly growth phase, when it either is very slow, or crashes frequently. Haven’t had full confidence in it since version 3.0. But they are trying to keep it relevant to that 10 or 20 year window. I also get frusterated when purchased resources don’t download immediately. I may wait days, before it updates. Not very helpful if I’ve needed a particular commentator in a specific time frame. I hated Logos4, as it took up to 10 minutes to load on my 3-4 year old MacBookPro.

  31. “I’ve spent over US$20,000 on Logos software”

    Don’t you see that as totally out of whack? Some of you have made the point of the author but don’t realize it. I would go one step further and say you end up with books that you not only will not use but should not use. Its egad! actually hurting you.

    The best commentaries in the world break down the historical and language context with some cross reference data and get out of the way. By loading up on all those books you not only get out of balance with stewardship but you get an over dependence on what people say about the bible rather than what it says for itself. All this love of academia is great and all that but as the book itself says a lot of knowledge just puffs up and can actually be distracting.

    This is a very bad habit that is picked up in seminary and I learned to toss out. It has very little use relatively speaking on third world missionary fields. I like the integration and search ability as well but Logos is on a slippery slope. As technology pushes forward PDF and Ebooks will soon be all searchable and paying thousands of dollars for works that have long since passed under public domain will not fly.

    Sorry but to me its just ridiculous to charge $300 for their starter package and not even get decent interlinears

    • No I don’t see it as out of whack. I buy the tools I need, for the jobs I do. I’m a columnist for a theological journal, and I’ve written several theological books (the one I’m currently writing is a 600 page apologetic work). During that same 10 year period I’ve spent at least US$20,000 on my computer, keeping it up to date for the photography and video work I do. It’s the same principle; I buy the tools I need, for the jobs I do.

      My writing constitutes the majority work of my stewardship, which wouldn’t be one tenth as effective without the use of the scholarly works I’ve purchased (which have provided me with many insights into the Bible to which I was previously completely blind). I don’t end up with books I don’t or shouldn’t use, and this has nothing to do with ‘love of academia’, or knowledge puffing up.

      I never went to seminary, and I’ve spent my last nine years doing mission work (and eventually starting a church), in South East Asia. The Logos resources I’ve purchased have been invaluable for that work.

      • Jonathan we will just disagree. As a writer for the theologican publicatons perhaps but that is a limited scope and not one that could support logos. For church planting and Missionary work spending 20,000 on Bible software is nowhere near invaluable.

        I want bible software that aids me into getting as close to the time when the works were written in language, culture and history. I don’t need and find it detrimental to be concerned about 100 different views (commentaries) on passages from people who mostly have no scriptural authority. The noise level gets too high so that it actually interferes with you getting to what the passage is really about.

        the learning things that you would never have learned with the software goes both ways. I did go to seminary and there are a ton load of stuff that i would never have learned If I didn’t learn to ignore reading too many commentaries and putting aside debates and yes realizing that some theological subjects really do constitute as “vain janglings”

        Logos would impress me more if they concentrated on providing me with data rather than how many books they can put and charge for. Sorry but book count does not equate to improved insight. It would also help if they didn’t feature cripple their software unless I pay $1600 for “resources” I really do not need. its outrageous to me that even if I pay out a thousand dollars there will be advertised FEATURES (not books) of Logos 5 that will be turned off. The software from a programming resource hours analysis is not more sophisticated then what goes on in Photoshop and after effects. theres no good reason to cripple it in anyway after paying a thousand dollars because I don’t want or need their package of “resources”.

        As a matter of fact it looks even after paying $600 I won’t even get the much advertised clause search. I must be reading that wrong or how could anyone justify charging $600 and that feature being crippled?

        • 1. The theological books I write are for laypeople, distilling high level theological content into useful and comprehensible works for the broader Christian community. I don’t write for the theological elite, I make their work accessible to others.

          2. I don’t know what kind of mission work you’ve been involved in, but especially in a non-Christian country I’ve found it essential to answer these kinds of questions (this is just a shortlist).

          * How do we know that God is telling is the right way to live?
          * What does the Bible say about ecology and environment?
          * Was Christianity responsible for suppressing science?
          * Why does God allow natural evil?
          * Does God exist?
          * How is the Bible different to other religious books?
          * How is Jesus different to other religious leaders?
          * Why does the Bible permit slavery?
          * What is the correct role of women in the church?
          * Did Jesus really exist?
          * What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
          * Was Christianity responsible for the ecological crisis?
          * How can we be sure the Bible is historically reliable?
          * How can we be sure the Bible is inspired?
          * How can we be sure about the canon of Scripture?
          * Which version of Christianity is the right one?
          * Is the Bible reconcilable with science?
          * Should Christians be involved in politics?
          * Should Christians be involved in military service?
          * Can you prove Bible prophecies are accurate?
          * Archaeology (so many questions about this)

          It is not possible to address these all these issues with nothing more than a Bible and an honest face. Professional scholarly works are invaluable in this regard.

          3. I also want ‘bible software that aids me into getting as close to the time when the works were written in language, culture and history’; Logos does that for me like nothing else does.

          4. As a result of exercising some discernment, I don’t have 100 commentaries to wade through every time I look at a passage. I have a specific shortlist of key commentaries relevant to various passages and subjects. Additionally, I don’t find a great deal of varied opinions among the professional commentaries; they typically cite or refer to the scholarly consensus (and explain why), and enlarge on it or critique it with their own views. I’ve never had to waste time searching through scores and scores of conflicting opinions.

  32. Jonathan Like I said we will just have to disagree. Of your laundry list of questions I could answer 70% of them using nothing but my Bible. The word of God is amazing by itself as you learn most of it line up on line and precept upon precept and the spirit of God and your deepening knowledge of all of it causes you to compare verses and realize new connections and answers on subjects you would have thought before it never addressed.
    Regardless you are creating quite the strawman since the options was never just the Bible alone. I can answer every single question and did not invest in $20,000 dollars of logos software. I am sorry my brother but this conversation is getting a bit ridiculous.

    I would certainly hope that for that expense you thought you got close to the text , the langauge and history but many of us have been able to do so without paying $20,000 and most missionaries, most likely in your own mission field, have been able to meet the challenges of answering those questions on the mission field never having been gifted with a $20,0000 budget for bible software. Yes we disagree again. I consider that ridiculous.

    Personally I don’t go looking for consensus. Consensus has been wrong on many occasions. I just want the facts related to the text. I am happy for you that you have only picked up commentaries that largely agree. Given Calvinism, Millenialism, Stances on Baptism, issues of authorship, Views on the roles of spiritual gifts, the book of Revelations and on and on illustrated by several denominations separate views on multitudes of issues and controversies within theology over centuries you must be VERY selective (perhaps in a way that I would not find quite as valuable). Its interesting that you could select the commentaries that agree and still amass a $20,000 investment of resources that mostly agree. .

    At any rate its slightly out of context. The facts undeniable are that here in 2013 the Logos packages have a great deal that you can not select and many would not consider necessary ( although given your investment you are committed to saying otherwise) . If there were an alacarte system where people simple bought the full engine at a reasonable price and added what they needed then most of us could buy simply what we needed and never need $20,000 to assist God’s word.

    I have considered the purchase quite a few times in the last week but am stopped each time by the absolutely ridiculous notion that no package below the $1600 one will give me all the features of the software. Even Paying a thousand dollars and books I neither want nor need they still purposefully cripple features. Its not just the cost of books you do not want and can’t individually select. They have deliberately crippled some the advertised features unless you pay $600 more and MAJOR ones should you pay $600

    You will disagree but I am not alone in the Christian community in feeling a christian company could do better. In the coming decade as tablets begin to replace a great deal of books Logos has chosen a business model that will eventually be destroyed by a good or great open source project or the advancement of technology that will allow search across wide ranges of booksand PDFs. They have failed to understand that as the world of printed resources and software merges in tablets that even lay people will be using the market increasing the size of market that they have priced themselves out of.

    P.S. Sometimes Logos defenders are sometimes a detriment to their cause (not referring to you at all). I came here through a link from the logos forum where the price was being questioned. its rare to find a greater display of snobbery among Christians online with comments to the effect that if fellow believers can’t pay the cost they don’t DESERVE to have the resources and comparisons to luxury cars which are sad. If the Lord had manifested himself in the conversation it would probably have been for the overturning of some tables.

    • Incidentally my apologies for grammar and run on sentences issues which makes some of my sentences hard to comprehend. Will make sure in the future to do better proof reading before hitting publish.

    • I suspect the reason we disagree is that we have different approaches to Bible study. I take the historico-critical approach, whereas yours would seem to be a more confessional approach.

      1. There is no way you could answer 70% of those questions using only the Bible. Questions such as ‘Was Christianity responsible for suppressing science?’ and ‘Was Christianity responsible for the ecological crisis?’ require knowledge of almost 2,000 years of human history on which the Bible is silent. Questions such as ‘How do we know that God is telling is the right way to live?’, ‘Did Jesus really exist?’, ‘Is the Bible reconcilable with science?’, ‘Can you prove Bible prophecies are accurate?’, ‘Does God exist?’, ‘How can we be sure the Bible is historically reliable?’, and questions on archaeology, necessarily require reference to material outside the Bible. Questions such as ‘What does the Bible say about homosexuality?’, ‘How can we be sure the Bible is inspired?’, ‘How can we be sure about the canon of Scripture?’, ‘How is the Bible different to other religious books?’, and ‘How is Jesus different to other religious leaders?’ require detailed knowledge of the socio-historical context of the Bible and its era, of which we are completely ignorant if we only read the Bible itself.

      2. When I referred to only having a Bible, I wasn’t attacking a strawman; I was referring to my own words. As I pointed out, when I moved internationally I had to leave my personal library of hard copy books behind, and was left with only my Bible. Without my Logos library, and with only my Bible in hand, I would not have been able to do the research necessary for my missionary work and the books I’ve written.

      3. I have never said it is not possible to meet all the challenges faced on missionary work without spending what I’ve spent. I am sure other people have a very easy time with missionary work, and hardly face any challenges at all, or else simply face them by pointing at a Bible verse and saying ‘That’s what the Bible says, so that’s your answer’. But the kind of work I’ve been doing has required the tools I’ve purchased. Perhaps you’ve never met someone who doesn’t accept the Bible as divinely, or who won’t accept your personal opinion about what the Bible says unless you have evidence for it outside the Bible, and from the relevant professional peer reviewed scholarly literature. In my mission area it’s impossible to get away with telling people to ‘just believe the Bible’, or ‘The Bible says it, so it’s true’. If there’s a magical land where you can get away with that kind of response, I’d love to know where it is.

      4. Yes, the resources I’ve purchased have helped me get close to the text , the language and history. Most Christians I meet, especially those on mission work, are hopelessly ignorant on these matters, especially concerning the original languages; they seriously think that with a 19th century concordance in one hand and the KJV in the other, they can get a better understanding of the Bible than qualified scholars. How many Christians do you know who understand that when studying Genesis 1-11 it’s critical to know about Enki and the Ordering of the World (c. 2000 BC), Enki and Ninhursag (c. 1800-100BC), the Enuma Elish (c. 1700-1500 BC, the Eridu Genesis (c. 1600 BC), the Babylonian list of ‘professions’ called ED Lu A (at least 3,000 BC), the Sumerian King List (dating to at least 2,000 BC), the Rulers of Lagaš (c. 2000 BC), Nebuchadnezzar’s reference to Etemenanki, and a creation story on a tablet written in Sumerian and Akkadian (c. 1600 BC), if you want to understand the text the way the original recipients did? Anyone who isn’t aware of the relationship of Genesis 1-11 to these other texts, and the implications that has for Biblical interpretation, is confined to superficial Bible study.

      5. Your lack of interest in consensus again suggests a confessional approach to Bible study, rather than a historico-critical approach. As I mentioned previously, I avoid the confessional based commentaries aimed at interpreting the Bible through a preconceived theology and promoting specific denominations. I have no use for Lutheran, Calvinist, Methodist commentaries. I want to know what the Bible says, I am not interested in Lutherans, Calvinists, or Methodists trying to tell me why they think they’re right about the Bible and other people are wrong. Certainly in the commentaries I own I can find a broad range of confessional views on issues such as baptism and the interpretation of Revelation, but that’s a separate matter to the scholarly consensus. There’s a cross-denominational scholarly consensus on baptism, for example. That’s important because it’s not predicated on supporting a specific confessional view or individual denomination, and that’s the strength of the historico-critical approach, the peer review process, and scholarly consensus. It’s far more likely to present you with the facts, rather than people’s personal opinions.

      6. I agree that ‘here in 2013 the Logos packages have a great deal that you can not select and many would not consider necessary’. I do not understand why you say ‘given your investment you are committed to saying otherwise’. I don’t say otherwise. I agree with you. In case that’s confusing, I’ll say it differently; I agree with you. Let me know if I can make it clearer.

      7. You say ‘even after paying $600 I won’t even get the much advertised clause search’, but the clause search is available with the minimal cross-grade to Logos 5. What’s the problem?

      8. I’m interested in your claim that ‘Logos has chosen a business model that will eventually be destroyed by a good or great open source project or the advancement of technology that will allow search across wide ranges of booksand PDFs’. How likely do you think it is that books published by Brill, Eisenbraun, T&T Clark, Sheffield, Oxford, Cambridge, Peeters, Mohr Siebeck, the Pontifical Institute, and Peter Lang will become available as free PDFs in an open source project?

      • “1. There is no way you could answer 70% of those questions using only the Bible. Questions such as ‘Was Christianity responsible for suppressing science?’ and ‘Was Christianity responsible for the ecological crisis?’

        Which is why I didn’t say 100% did I? I am not concerned with your putdown of “confessional approach” versus “historico-critical approach”. Unless you mean you deny inspiration mine is plenty historical whereas you seemed steeped in academia rather than substance. I want the facts. I said so directly in my first post but you have ignored that in your defensiveness. What I don’t need is 20 peoples opinions on a theological debate.The greek is plenty historical, the culture the same as well the history. I’ve been to seminary. You are not introducing me to anything new.

        Furthermore yes I can answer 70% of those question and frankly more without the ridiculous strawman assumption that as a 50 year old male I had not acquired any other knowledge besides what I paid Logos $20,000 to acquire. Arguing within a vacuum is fallacious.

        A basic education of science (although I advanced beyond the basics long ago) has informed me of the founders of science in practically every major field. its hard to miss the christian theists in such basic history fo science knowledge. I am not alone. I cannot think of a single Christian I know that could not answer did Christianity supress science by pointing out the very widely known Christian theists that advanced it. None of this required a $20,000 investment in Logos and if there was that lack in your understanding it could be filled by a $20 book which I am sure if you prayed long enough you would have been led to.

        “or else simply face them by pointing at a Bible verse and saying ‘That’s what the Bible says, so that’s your answer’.”

        yes I know… more subtle not so subtle condescension. Are all Logos users so arrogant that the choices are $20,000 for logos software or slapping your bible and saying God said it and I believe it? I detect a staggering amount of arrogance on this issue from you and them.

        “If there’s a magical land where you can get away with that kind of response, I’d love to know where it is.”

        Perhaps in the vast library of Logos you missed the verse – In all thy getting get wisdom. Of all logical fallacies invoking strawmen is the closest to lying about the others position which a Christian should never get to. I have never given such a response to anyone and it is neither Christian in character or logical tenable to even imply it. Yes at this point I find your responses arrogant,trite and tellingly defensive. As a matter of fact since I write and have given lectures on apologetics I consider most apologetics works put out by the church dreadful, relying more on philosophy than evidence and that includes many in the logos collection. So obviously my brother in Christ (hopefully) I neither adhere to or practice ministry as if there was such a magical world. You’ve constructed that out of nothing but your preconceived straw.

        “Yes, the resources I’ve purchased have helped me get close to the text , the language and history. Most Christians I meet, especially those on mission work, are hopelessly ignorant on these matters, especially concerning the original languages;”

        Don’t be too harsh. Arrogance does not wear well on a believer and manifests itself on the missionary field in ways that are seldom detectable by the missionary but glaring to those he was supposedly sent to. In reading you today I am quite certain they are less ignorant in some areas than you are on others so in the end it all may balance out 🙂

      • “Anyone who isn’t aware of the relationship of Genesis 1-11 to these other texts, and the implications that has for Biblical interpretation, is confined to superficial Bible study.”

        Pish posh. Now we get to it. let me answer briefly first with two words

        Utter rubbish.

        You remind me of my old seminary days. You betray your theological bent and arrogance not your light on the subject and before you wax again with your insinuations I am familiar with early creation mythology and have directly read some of the texts. Unless you make certain assumptions they can be insightful but HARDLY absolutely necessary for Bible study. I detected it in you from before but it is now in full revelation. To claim that knowledge of these works is necessary to doing deep bible study is to draw a line between the Bible and the mythology and to make the Bible derivative. In your academic arrogance you may believe that is a necessary logical conclusion to draw but it is assumptive not logical. Again since it will probably be lost on you that I stated it – repetition will serve as further rebuttal – Reading and understanding eastern creation mythology CAN be insightful however not knowing those stories hardly makes studying the text of Genesis superficial. This is typical academia arrogance on full display

        While you look down your noses at your fellow believers being “hopelessly ignorant” you might inform yourself that many of the book writers in Logos packages would consider your viewpoint almost heretical as few would claim extrabiblical mythology texts were fundamental to understanding God’s word in Genesis.

        “5. Your lack of interest in consensus again suggests a confessional approach to Bible study, rather than a historico-critical approach.”

        At his point I must call you on your total, incessant and absolute intellectual dishonesty but before I dissect and dismantle your latest accusation I do need to point out again I care not a wit of your labels. I respond to the truth or untruth of them but the labels themselves you can have since you seem to need them for your own ego and classification. That said my context was very clear when I said I was not concerned with consensus. You’ve twisted that dishonestly to try and make your point and I have little respect for that. My context were peoples’ opinions NOT consensus on facts.

        Now it may be from reading some of your comments today that you ascribe to a different definition of “facts” than I do. for example you may claim as fact that the geneiss account is dependent on extra biblical creation mythologies. Does the ” peer review process, and scholarly consensus.” often parrot such opinions? Why yes sometimes they do. Does that constitute a nugget of fact or interpretation/assumption? No…not at all.

        Since your eyes have feigned blindness I will state again. In biblical software I have all use for factual use of Data and will gladly spend for it but not the mere collection of greater volumes and volumes of words.

        ” I agree with you.”

        return to honesty and stop feigning. we do not agree. YOur defensiveness is very much based on what we disagree.

        “the clause search is available with the minimal cross-grade to Logos 5. What’s the problem?”

        Well if you are telling me its possible to crossgrade from what I do not own (having never bought any Logos software) then that might be the one thing useful in your last post. Although if the cross grade is available to new users I can’t think why they would strip the feature out of their lower packages.

        “open source project or the advancement of technology that will allow search across wide ranges of booksand PDFs’. How likely do you think it is that books published by Brill, Eisenbraun, T&T Clark, Sheffield, Oxford, Cambridge, Peeters, Mohr Siebeck, the Pontifical Institute, and Peter Lang will become available as free PDFs in an open source project?”

        For someone who obviously considers themselves as advanced beyond other believers you would do with some basic reading comprehension skills – an open source project that allows for the search of books would no more make the books they open free than does Kindle’s free reader make all of the books it opens from amazon free. All it requires is that the open source system honor whatever licensing arrangement that becomes standardized for books. IF you feel a bit silly having missed such an obvious point remember you fellow missionaries on the field who you consider ignorant and superficial in their understanding of Genesis but who would with God’s help have realized that instantly.

        whether free or or merely paid but standardized there is no way that the day is not coming. As tablets become the preferred reading platform theres no way we will continue to open one piece of software to read some books, another to read others and yet third or fourth to read others. Its inefficient for publishers as well. Once thats settled all kinds of catalog , search and comparison features will be built in. Proprietary ways of accessing the books will go where 8 track tapes have gone.

  33. Interesting topic. I have found that I agree with Mike Anthony for the most part. While I have Logos 5 Platinum, the cost to my shoe string ministry is rough. My mission field is one of the toughest in the world; the streets of America. I deal daily with the homeless and the addicts, with men and women that are forgotten by many Christians and Christian organizations today – just not as glamorous as an overseas trip, yet every bit as dangerous and fulfilling. Yet I need the resources to do my work. While I own Logos 5 I still use Logos 3.0. Why? Easier to use, faster, and does what I need it to do. I use e-Sword every day, theWORD, the Sword Project, PowerBilbe, WordSEARCH, ISA basic and several PDF versions, such as the now gone AGES software and Vardabooks ( Everyday I have all these resources open on my computer, for it takes them all. For me to explore God’s word in the original languages means I have access to the pure intent of God’s word, not watered down in theological dogma and tradition. But it is hard work, and the resources have to be there. But I also have to have my library – 10 software packages running and I still am taking books off the shelf to check, double check to feel the pages, smell the age of the books (have copies of John Edwards from the 1700’s for example). Cost? Well, you’d be surprised what you can find at Goodwill or Half-Price Books…. You’d be amazed at the free software and modules available for eSword and theWORD; the $2000 plus I’ve spent on Logos 5 is a hefty cost for me; no church supports me, I have no congregation that tithes, just people in need of a sandwich, a can of soda and a kind word. Whether or not the cost or use of Logos is justified is a question best left to others; for me I have these resources to use and to bring truth to those who are left behind, is all that matters. We can argue about how God’s word has become a business, about whether or not it is appropriate to sell God’s word, when we should be giving it out for free, but that is another topic. That is why I am grateful to eSword and theWORD for what they provide. Some duplication yes, but I have access to resources that would cost me much more if I had to use BibleWorks or Logos as my primary software vendors. Publishers have a place, and the products they provide are just that: products. We have the choice – buy or not, so if one wants to spend $20,000, and they can afford it, God bless them. I know how many homeless veterans that would have fed; I know how many young kids I could help off the streets with that; I know how many blankets and clean socks I could provide, but it is not for me to begrudge anyone for the choices they make. I make payments to Logos for my software; I won’t be upgrading anytime soon. I have to be a steward of what I have, to help those Father wants me to help. My duty is to those He sets before me, and with what resources I have been blessed with, may He give me the wisdom and the knowledge to speak His words in truth and love… Buuuuutttt, that isn’t to say I can’t dream of a fuller package so my studies can be salt and light. Truth is though, in my years, and I spent 40 years as one of those that are left behind, I’ve found that it only takes 6 words to change a life:
    “Jesus loves you” are the first three – and they lead to the next:
    “God help me”
    Sometimes its hard to remember the simplicity of love when we are knee deep in books, journals, software and plans for our mission trips – just a thought….

    • David, I applaud your efforts in the work you’ve chosen. Like you I am entirely self-funded; I receive no tithe, no missionary organization pays for my resources, and I am not employed or paid by any church. All the money I’ve paid for Logos resources has come out of my every day work salary.

      And yes, I am fully ware of how far that money could if spent in other areas But let’s remember it was spent over 10 years, not in a lump sum. Many people would easily spend that kind of money on hobbies and entertainment, in half the time (I spend virtually nothing on entertainment; I don’t drink socially or go clubbing, and I go to the movies about once every six months).

      Like you I am acutely aware of the need for (and importance of), support for the socially marginalized, as part of Christian discipleship. I’m a regular volunteer worker with Taoshan Elementary School (桃山國小, a tiny school of 100 children in an highly under-privileged aboriginal village in the mountains), Garden of Hope Foundation (勵馨基金會, a social welfare organization for women and children), Harmony Home (關愛之家, a social welfare organization for women and children with HIV/AIDS), Zhong Yi Foundation (忠義基金會, a social welfare organization for orphans), Brightside (臺灣嚮光協會, a social welfare organization for aboriginal and socially marginalized children), Taiwan Sunshine (a charity assisting families with children with cognitive and physical challenges), and Rangi (人跡協會, an association promoting and assisting aboriginal people).

      Most of these organizations more in need for volunteers than cash, and are in serious need of quality photography and video services (which I can provide free of charge). It’s all about doing the most you can, where you are. You can read about my volunteer philosophy here.

    • “Yet I need the resources to do my work. While I own Logos 5 I still use Logos 3.0. Why? Easier to use, faster, and does what I need it to do.”
      I use e-Sword every day, theWORD, the Sword Project, PowerBilbe, WordSEARCH”

      Well you raise another issue that has stopped me from logos. By all accounts its rather slow. Part of that is inescapable due to having to index and search through the volumes.Part of it is not using much foresight. What I long for is bible software that just cuts through all that fluff. There is a great deal of that in dealing with Hebrew and Greek but not so much in historical data etc

      “But I also have to have my library – 10 software packages running and I still am taking books off the shelf to check, double check to feel the pages, smell the age of the books (have copies of John Edwards from the 1700′s for example)”

      Ha… A man after my own heart 🙂

      “We have the choice – buy or not, so if one wants to spend $20,000, and they can afford it, God bless them. I know how many homeless veterans that would have fed; I know how many young kids I could help off the streets with that; I know how many blankets and clean socks I could provide, but it is not for me to begrudge anyone for the choices they make”

      It isn’t but theres a difference between making that choice and claiming that making that choice somehow makes you better than, more advanced than or to imply that its essential to doing good missionary work. I respond more to the defensive posture I see. Our bog master makes some very solid points but so often as you look around the net Logos users seem to belittle or do their own begrudging of other set of choices.

      Theres also a more subtle error that seeps in – and that is that simple having more resources always gets you closer to the text. thats wrong in many cases. It can take you away from the text and for all the distorting I might hear about being confessional – the book is about God as a person and the personal dynamic will never be in the resources. You can have a very critical and data based driven focus in Bible study just as long as you realize that alone does not get you close to a text that is all about a person.

      “Sometimes its hard to remember the simplicity of love when we are knee deep in books, journals, software and plans for our mission trips – just a thought…”

      ahhhhh you do see my point. You have a great balance my brother. I wish you the best. I am liking wordsearch10 by the way. Might spring for logos but believe it or not unless I go to full $5,000 package I don’t see anything that great by way of resources. Now if new people can use the the cross grade I might consider using it in an ala carte way.

    I believe the options we have today are immense. Thank you Lord for them and continue to grow each one so those who use the tools can hear from You and can then teach others.

    I am most interested in creating my own library using some mac software. While I’ve spent months looking at both of these main solutions (Accordance and Logos), I am still challenged with a simple solution for my studies. I use many online tools outlined above but can’t find a software based solution that I can keep local (on my computer) or in the cloud (for tablet or phone). While I mainly use my computer for study (alongside the printed Word) I use these tools primarily for Greek and Hebrew reference. However, I wish there was a better way for a “layperson” to categorize who believed what (church fathers and leaders in the church) so those writings can be identified and labeled as such. Like he agreed with Calvin on these points… or not. He agreed with Jacob Arminius on that position. Etc… When that’s available, I may invest in more paid tools and their libraries. But thousands of books is not of interest when it’s not clear who they were, what they really believed and the positions they took. To take this one step further, to give users in the community of that tool the ability to share their own study notes and commentary (such as labels above), I would be really attracted to it.

    Until then, I want to build my own e-library and searchable and retrievable solution. So if someone has developed their own set of tools using other types of software, I am all ears and would like to hear from you. Some things I’ve been drawn to lately include some type of Evernote solution, and DevonTHINK Pro Office – classic document management solutions with advanced OCR, cloud integration and search features. Basically, an open-source approach to solving the “software” issue.

    Footnote: I do know many works have copyrights associated to them. However, there HAS TO BE a way to build a library around these limitations. Again, the Bible is FREE and these older works are public domain. Any insight anyone can give would be helpful.

    Finally, I am not looking for commentary about why someone spent or didn’t spend on their tools nor who is right or wrong. I appreciate the previous discussion, but this builds off the initial discussion for those who might agree with the “five reasons not to buy Logos” or other reasons. My questions is geared toward those who don’t use the leading paid solutions. I’d like to investigate further with your collective help. Thanks in advance.

  35. Just wanted to say something that I haven’t noticed anyone else say yet. There is absolutely no comparison between any PDF and the ebooks in Logos and the possible searches that can be done on these. The Logos books are hand-tagged by actual human beings so your searches will be much more likely to return results that are meaningful and deeper than searches that are built differently. Also there is the backend of the search. When you put in an English word using a Bible that has the Interlinear (as I understand this), for example, Logos is going to search for the word that’s in the original language, not the translation that you might be using. It’s going to go to the Biblical language behind your translation and look up that. (If the other apps do that, I’m not aware of it. Also I apologize for not being able to describe this in a more technical way, I’m just learning about all of this.)

    You can tell it to search for all kinds of related things and all this is very customizable. You can go deep into Scripture or Church history or context and it has really blown my mind and I’ve only had this software for a few days. I’ve used a lot of Bible apps before but this is really impressive. As I said, I’m still learning and have a long way to go, there’s a lot I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to the adventure. (Customer service has been really helpful at Logos, too, saving me a bunch of money and time by helping me build my library. Dynamic custom pricing is a great idea.)

    But really I guess the bottom line is that we need to soak our souls, saturate our minds and hearts in the Word and whatever way we do that, the main thing is to do that. 🙂 I’m keeping all my other Bible apps but my main go-to one now is Logos. Well, really, it’s Verbum. But it’s built on Logos 5. 🙂

    Peace be with y’all! God bless! 🙂

  36. This is an old blog post and I have nothing much to add other than I have been using Logos for 15 years. In it’s latest version it updates too often. I literally just timed how long it took to go through the warming up process and it took over 10 minutes just to get to the point where it’s usable.

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