Have you ever heard of Logos Bible Software? Being the wife of a church planter, and former seminarian, the name "Logos" is very familiar to me. My husband has long dreamt of the day when he would be able to draw upon the vast amount of resources available within the Logos system for Bible study and sermon preparation, but the hefty price tag has thus far kept him from giving in to those (admittedly noble) desires.
I must admit that I myself have been tempted to break the budget as I've seen Logos demonstrated at various conferences. But being the physical book enthusiast that I am, the idea of investing so heavily in digital commentaries, books, and other resources turned me off. I prefer my Calvin, Spurgeon, and Luther to line our book shelves, not be hidden away in some virtual "cloud."
When I was asked to review Logos Bible Software I readily acquiesced. True, my husband would have had some very strong words for me if I had declined, but more than anything I was interested in seeing how the average woman would benefit from this resource. Would she find it worth the price tag? Is this just a product for seminarians, professors, pastors, and authors or could it be useful to the average Joe (or in this case, Joe-sephene) who simply desires to be an ardent student of God's Word?
That is the goal of my review, which I will break up into three separate posts: What is Logos Bible Software and How Does it Work? (Today's post); My Favorite Features in Logos; and Is Logos for You?
So, what exactly is Logos Bible Software?
Basically Logos is a computer software program that contains a seemingly infinite collection of Bible resources. From Greek and Hebrew language tools, to commentaries, to maps and word studies, Logos allows you to take a biblical passage or subject and research it to your hearts delight - all by a simple click or hover of your mouse.
You purchase Logos in "Base Package Families." These packages start you out with varying degrees of resources depending on how much money you are able to spend and what your needs are. I was given the Bronze package to review - which is only one step up from the Starter package - but have still been blown away by all of the opportunities it provides for diving into a text of Scripture.
Once you've purchased a base package you are then able to upgrade to higher packages at a reduced cost or simply add individual resources as you need to. For instance, if you were going to be studying the book of James, you could purchase individual commentaries on that book which would then be added to your Logos collection.
Logos is not cheap. As I said earlier, its price point was the only deterrent to my husband's theological bliss over the past 10 years. The Bronze package that I received is priced at a whopping $629.95! Prices gradually rise from there all the way up to $10,799 for the most supreme of collections!
Why is it so expensive? Well to start out with, the resources packed into that Bronze package that I received, if bought individually would total $2,672.84! So you are actually getting quite a deal. But you have to realize that you are not only investing in the books themselves. What you are really investing in when you purchase Logos is the incredible ability to search all of your resources in concert by the simple click of a mouse.
How does it work?
Say you wanted to do some research on the topic of creation. You would simply type the word "creation" in the search bar at the top left of the screen (notice where I have circled in red). Then lots of really cool things will begin to happen on your screen. Below the search bar there will appear a list of all the resources at your disposal on the topic of creation. In this instance I first clicked on one of the biblical passages relating to the word "creation:" Genesis 1. You can see that Genesis 1 popped up in the top right section of my screen.
From there I chose to click on a handy "interactive illustration" which visually walks you through the days of creation (You can see it on the bottom right section of the screen).
Still scrolling through my available resources on the topic of creation, I came to a list of instances where the theologian John Calvin mentions the word "creation." I can then click on any of these and the full work (zoomed in where "creation" is mentioned) will then show up in another tab in that bottom right section of the screen where you now see the days of creation.
Now, you might be scratching your head and wondering how this is any better than googling the word "creation." Well for starters, Logos is packed with language helps that allow you to understand the meaning of any particular text of Scripture better by explaining the original Greek and Hebrew. But above all, the benefit of a program like Logos is that you are searching published works. Logos is doing the hard work of combing through all of your commentaries, atlases, sermon collections, and books for the one particular word you happen to be looking for. It's kind of like a Google search bar for your bookshelves.
Pretty cool, huh? What I've done above is only the beginning of what you can do with Logos Bible Software. Imagine the depth of study you could do on a passage of scripture if you could search through every single book and commentary you owned for instances in which it is mentioned? That is the power of Logos Bible Software and that power only grows with every book you add to your library! And that might just give it a leg up on my traditional, in-the-flesh bookshelves...
Tomorrow I will share some of my favorite features from Logos.