Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos

Logos 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: Logos Groupthink and How to Avoid Buying Books]


45 thoughts on “Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos

    • Unless you need a workhorse to plow through the Greek and Hebrew, esword is a great option. You sure can’t beat the price (free). However, it can be a little bit clunky. If you’re willing to pay a little for a better user interface, olive tree and wordsearch might be good options as well. They are not that expensive as long as you don’t buy a lot of book modules, and olive tree has some impressive mobile device capabilities.

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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.

      • Perhaps there’s a good reason you didn’t find a negative review. I’ve used Logos for a bit less than 20 yrs now and have been quite satisfied. I can do virtually any text searching I desire in the original languages so I don’t know what BibleWorks would have that I might be missing. There is more than commentaries available such as theological journals and monographs (which I tend to find more stimulating than commentaries though I have a decent stable of commentaries as well [ICC, AYBC, Hermeneia, Continental, NIGTC and a couple of others]. Commentaries are always the last thing I look at since I’m an original languages guy.

  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.

  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!

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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.


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