How can you make an informed purchasing decision? Which base package do you need? The homework necessary to figure it out may be daunting. I’m going to give you a few shortcuts, and I’m convinced you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: a Logos base package is the best way to buy a theological library.
1. There is no better deal in theological books than a Logos base package.
I made a careful list of every book in each package. I narrowed the list down to the most important books, the ones I knew my dream library would need to contain. I went on Amazon and looked up the cheapest price for each of these books. I totaled them up. As in golf, the winner was the lower score. And the winner was clear: Logos. It was way, way under par. There was no comparison—and that was before considering the value of having my library with me wherever I go, and the value of the Bible tagging, and the value of powerful searching and other great tools.
That’s not to say that every Logos user needs to get the biggest Logos base package. There are some freshman biblical studies majors who should probably spend their limited money on food and laundry and wait till they’re more advanced to get Logos Diamond. (They should, however, get Logos Bronze or Silver.)
And if you’re not sure which library is right for you, ask for help. Buttonhole a bookish prof or peer, buy them lunch, and go right down the list of books in the base package you’re interested in. I feel confident that if you are called to preaching and teaching the Bible in any capacity—pastor, missionary, counselor, Bible translator—you will see that a Logos base package is an unbeatable deal.
And of course, we here at Faithlife are happy to help, too. Our sales team knows books. Many of them have been to seminary; they’re current and former pastors; they’re Bible nerds like you. Give them a call, ask your questions, and they’ll help you find a library you’ll be happy with. Reach them by phone, email, or live chat—or stop by and say hello.
2. You’ll make good use of those books.
It is fair to wonder whether you will use all the books you’re buying. But I use my whole library all the time, and I’m certain you will, too. And you’ll use them far more often than you would if you bought them all in print.
What do I mean? Surely there are many books in my print and Logos libraries that I will never read cover to cover, but in Logos I regularly search all my resources. I just looked over my search history, and I see all-library searches for poenitentiam agite (the phrase in the Vulgate Luther objected to in the first of his 95 Theses), de doctrina christiana (the title of a work by Augustine—sometimes I want to see what everyone in my library has to say about a given title), and “God is love.”
Sometimes I cast a narrow net, searching just the works of John Frame or C.S. Lewis, or just my top Bibles. But I use my whole library all the time when, as I frequently do, I search every last bit of text I have in Logos. And I regularly find things I never would have found had I owned my titles in print. Logos facilitates serendipitous discovery.
The other day someone asked me a question about an agraphon—a non-canonical saying of Jesus—that was inserted into one and only one early Greek manuscript (as far as I know). Twenty seconds and a few clicks later, I had an answer. After a few more minutes in some of the more obscure corners of my library—in two resources I never would have purchased in print—I had an even fuller answer for the person who needed my help.
I admit the number of times in my life that I will need access to a transcription of Codex Bezae has probably already reached its zenith. Was that worth the dollar I paid (approximately) for this volume? Yeah, totally. Contrary to what some spouses may assume, one does not purchase one’s theological library because one intends to read every last page of every last volume. Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be accessed and searched.
3. It facilitates reading by whim.
I’m a firm believer in reading by whim. One of my favorite writers, Alan Jacobs (long of Wheaton, now of Baylor), wrote a whole book arguing for it, and I was easily persuaded. Sometimes I get a hankering for Christian biography, or a church father, or something about semantics and pragmatics in biblical interpretation. The key to finishing some books, particularly difficult ones, is grabbing them while the hankering lasts—and owning them, so you can take good notes and have them in your hands right away whether there’s any money in your book budget for the month or not. My pastoral mentor said he never reads a book he doesn’t own, because he needs to be able to mark it up and save illustrations and insights for his preaching.
Logos base packages offer something that makes a whim-reading-book-nerd like me salivate: hundreds (or even thousands) of responsible, interesting reads on some of my favorite subjects. When a hankering hits me, I can jump right into the mobile app and get a chapter or two in before another hankering leads me elsewhere.
My Logos base package resources (and the other books and journals and reference works I’ve purchased over time) are always waiting for me. Each digital file is thinking to its little self as it sits on my virtual shelf, “I hope the whim strikes him to read me!”
Bible study is about digging again because there may be gold you overlooked, gold only repeated diggings will uncover. Sometimes using a new (or more powerful) tool to dig is what you need.