I have had a long-standing relationship with Logos Bible Software, version 5 of which has just been released. It is something I have spent a lot of money on over many years, but the benefits of it have been incredibly worthwhile.
I am able to offer a 15% discount to new Logos users. Simply click one of the links or the image in my sidebar and ensure WARNOCK5 is listed as coupon when you check out. Note that the discounted price will only appear later in the checkout process. Existing Logos users can still follow the link, but sign in with your Logos user account at the top right of the screen then click products-upgrade to get the same discounted price which is currently available for all upgrades.
For integrity’s sake, I should say that they do give me a commission for sales made this way, and that this time they’ve given me a free upgrade. But I am not obligated by them to be positive about the software which I love and use regularly.
“What is Bible software and why should I want it?” you might ask me. In this digital age, Bible software uniquely enables you to study the Bible in depth in a way that previous generations could only dream of doing. When I first began studying to preach, I could sometimes be found in the London-based Evangelical Library with a load of bible commentaries strewn on the desk in front of me all open at the same reference. Logos soon put a stop to that!
For many years now, if I want to check out the meaning of a Bible passage, or do a word study in the original Greek, or indeed check out the latest theological thinking on a certain subject, I often turn to what I often think of as my full-time personal digital assistant. I can get the information I need in seconds.
I call my growing collection of electronic commentaries, lexicons, Bibles, interlinear Bibles, reference books, and theological journals my personal Theological Seminary in a Box.
Over the years I have found this software to be an invaluable resource in sermon preparation, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. At first glance the prices do not seem cheap, I will admit, but there are two things to remember:
- Per book, the prices are very low. All versions of the software include so many books that they would cost thousands of dollars if you bought them in paper form individually. Divide the cost of your purchase by the number of books you are getting and you will see it is very good value, and that is without considering the benefits of all the search tools. They also offer an installment plan, very helpful if you are a pastor with a book allowance.
- It helps you decide if Seminary is for you. I know some of you will have at least considered putting careers on hold and remortgaging your homes in order to pay for a theological education. You might find this software is a better investment than that, or at the least, buying it might help you decide if Bible college really is for you and thereby save a costly mistake! A few hundred dollars to save several thousand is not a bad idea. If you are not able to get at least some benefit from personal study with Logos Bible software, I doubt that Bible college will be helpful for you.
For me at least, I have found that this software goes a long way towards making up for my own lack of theological degrees. Certainly I have needed to learn from others in real life (and have done day release courses over the years). But with Logos, the pooled expertise of thousands of scholars is instantly at my fingertips!
Being able to search your entire library for references to that obscure Bible verse you are trying to understand is a virtual life-send when preparing a sermon. It is like being able to ask thousands of scholars what, if anything, they have written on a particular verse, and getting an answer from any of them who have done so in only a matter of seconds!
Even if you are not a preacher, I can’t recommend this resource highly enough, and I hope you will benefit from it over many many years, as I have. A wise man or woman invests their money where it will have a return in the long-term. A copy of any of the Logos Bible Software libraries is just such an investment. Enjoy it, and enjoy the discount with my blessing, and my thanks for reading this blog.
With Logos on my computer it feels like I have not just one but an army of full-time research assistants, many of whom are world-class at my fingertips. Want to read a lot of commentaries on a Bible verse, no need to go to a library, just type the passage into the search box on the home screen and click “go.” Want to see what top theologians think on an issue? Just type the topic into that same box and hit search. Simple!
The Passage Guide and the Topic Guide are the two features you will use the most, and work really really well. I love the way that results are ranked so that you can find the most relevant ones near the top. It is just as easy as using Google. But there is so much more under the hood, too.
We are so used to things being instant these days that I do sometimes forget that the seconds I wait while Logos searches thousands of books is quicker by thousands of percentage points than attempting to access even a fraction of the information it returns by any other way! Over the years it has got much faster, however, and I no longer feel I need to go make myself a cup of tea while the little servants working in my computer go to work to ferret out gems for me!
Logos Software is something that up until a few years ago felt more PC than Mac. But with each upgrade they improve the usability and accessibility, and this is no exception. Now, with the launch of Logos Bible Software 5 they definitely take another step forward in usability, and at the same time add some more in-depth tools. And the good news is for Mac users that the software is available at the same time and with exactly the same feature set as for PCs. You can also download apps for your mobile devices, or read your books on the internet at Biblia.com.
One really good thing from my perspective, and this is always the elephant in the room when it comes to any technological upgrade, is it hasn’t changed too much! One of my frustrations with Microsoft is the way each time I upgrade or downgrade the version of Office I am using I cannot find my way round it. I say downgrade because sometimes I have moved jobs and found the new job used an older version than the previous one. Cue lots of frustration as you are unable to find simple features! Not so here. Within minutes of using the software I couldn’t remember how it differed from Logos 4, and that is a very good thing! No steep learning curve here if you are already a Logos user. It’s certainly not the same massive overhaul that version 4 was. Just like using an iPhone 5 compared to an iPhone 4, this will feel very familiar but there are definitely some significant extra features.
Most people only use the surface functions of any software. Sophisticated software like Logos Bible Software is has a real challenge as they need to be able to satisfy someone who just wants to dig out some Bible commentaries and searchthe books and an expert theologian who wants to do a sophisticated study of the Greek or Hebrew and all kinds of things I don’t fully understand! Logos does just that. In fact it is very easy to right click (or if you are a Mac user, two finger click) on any word in a Bible (or other book you are reading!) and do a Bible Word study which is very helpful, and can make you feel like you know your Greek better than you do. Beware of little knowledge! But at least you can do your own word study, think through what you think it means, and then check out whether the real theologians have come to similar opinions. If you think you are onto something brand new, buy yourself some more commentaries, to see if you just haven’t checked widely enough to find someone else who agrees with you, then if you are still “alone” be very very cautious! The chances are very high that you are NOT the next Martin Luther!
The new timeline feature is incredibly useful as you can search it for events and people, then click on the event to be taken to relevant pages in your books. Want to know why scholars now believe Jesus was born several years earlier than we traditionally thought? Follow the link from the timeline to examine the evidence that King Herod the Great who ordered the under-twos of Bethlehem to be killed actually died in 4BC!
I don’t think I need to say any more, perhaps I have already said too much! The long and the short of it is you can buy yourself some Bible Software at a discount right now, and spend the rest of your life enjoying the benefits of efficient Bible Study. Just remember to live what you learn, for knowledge without love puffs up. But knowledge rooted in true discipleship will bring many positive results. I sometimes think thatowning Logos is a bit like cheating! But life is not an exam, and as long as you don’t simply copy someone else’s work and pass it off as your own there really are no drawbacks. The only real question is how big a package can you afford? Remember the collections listed on my landing page are only a selection, and you can still get the discount I am able to offer you on upgrades, and on both cheaper and more expensive packages! Enjoy, choose the best your budget can justify, but just make sure you will still be able to afford to eat!
This review originally appeared at Patheos. Used with permission.