Today's Christian Preacher, Summer 2007, pp. 7-9
Choosing Bible Software
C.S. Lewis had no Bible software.
Nonetheless, he somehow managed to become quite adept at reading the New Testament in its original language. Computers and software have greatly accelerated the speed at which we can perform many of our tasks, but that doesn’t mean there is no longer any virtue in the old ways. Newer-is-better thinkers have fallen into what Lewis called "chronological snobbery" by forgetting the paper past. But those who maintain an older-is-better mindset, Lewis said, can be equally guilty.
Pastors can be guilty of either snobbery. Some should click their blog readers closed, shut down their computers and feed from the distraction-free quiet of a Greek New Testament, a (paper) lexicon and a notepad. Some pastors have let their software waste their precious study time by tempting them to chase down a thousand rabbit trails. Others have resisted joining the computer age, spending extra hours every week laboriously poring over books in their libraries and writing and rewriting sermon notes by hand. However, a great number of pastors have realized that they’ve been paperbound too long and are ready to harness the power of a computer. Those men need to buy and master the right Bible software.
Be Willing to Invest
We have all heard it said: “You get what you pay for.” It’s true that some excellent published works may be obtained free on the Internet at places like www. ccel. org. However, when it comes to Bible software, the best tools require an investment. A monetary investment is not the only one you will make. You will need to learn how to use the programs you buy. Many software publishers provide training videos for their programs. Training seminars are also available around the country. Plan to spend several hours learning your software before you use it for exegesis. You will be amply rewarded.
Software You Should Consider Purchasing Right Away
Logos is a growing company dedicated to quality work. You may not be able to afford one of their largest software packages, but go to www.logos.com and find the page comparing the books available in their graduated software packages. Carefully compute the value of the books you feel you could really use, giving preference to the kinds of works most useful to have on computer. Then buy the package that best suits your needs and your means.
For advanced exegetes, Logos provides something no one else does right now: syntax searches. This is an exciting field full of study possibilities. Logos also makes it possible to type in a reference and have the software look up that passage in a large number of commentaries.
Finally, be wary of the get-it-done-faster spirit that computers can abet. That spirit is not conducive to meditation. On the other hand, don’t, through laziness, fail to get the most out of the powerful laborsaving tool that the Lord has placed in your hand. After some careful research, invest in some good Bible software, learn how to use it to your advantage and put it to good use for the benefit of your ministry.
© 2007 by Mark Ward. Used by permission.