It’s been interesting to watch Bible software companies make a final sales push before Christmas–Logos and Accordance seem to have been the most active that I’ve noticed. I’ve compared the “Big Three” Bible softwares here, which is hopefully of help to someone trying to decide which Bible software program is best for her or him.
Focusing for a moment again on Logos: I wrote a multi-part review of Logos 4 here, then did a review of Logos 5 when it released on November 1. At that time I had the Silver base package to review. I’ve now received a review copy of Gold, so here I offer some initial observations on that base package.
Everything in Silver and below comes in Gold. So like Silver, the Gold base package has:
- Features like Bible Facts, Passage Guide, Bible Word Study, Exegetical Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, Timeline, and so on
- Clause Search–this deserves its own bullet point; I have written about it here
- The entire New American Commentary set
- The Pulpit Commentary set
- The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint (and to the Greek NT)
- Greek and English Apostolic Fathers
- Theological Lexicon of the OT, Theological Lexicon of the NT
- A new English translation (!) of the Septuagint, The Lexham English Septuagint, which I’ve already been using regularly in my reading through Greek Isaiah in a Year
The Gold base package adds:
- The Bible Sense Lexicon (more on that here)
- The 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT, a.k.a., “Big Kittel”), if you didn’t already have it from the Logos 4 Original Languages Library
- The Old Testament and New Testament Handbooks by United Bible Societies (nearly 50 volumes–these are great, especially for translation work)
- The Exegetical Summaries series by SIL International–24 volumes, each with phrase-by-phrase summaries of how interpreters have exegeted a given book
- Black’s New Testament Commentary series
- N.T. Wright’s Christian Origins and the Question of God series (3 volumes to date)
- Brill’s expensive 3-volume Context of Scripture
Perhaps the best I can offer in a review of a base package like this is two implications that stem from my belief that Christians are called to be good stewards of their money:
- On the one hand, a package like Gold in Logos 5 really does offer great savings. You couldn’t possibly get all the resources in Logos 5 Gold in print (even used) for the same price. It might not even be close.
- On the other hand, one should be cautious not to buy just because there is great savings at hand. The key question is always, what resources will I use, and can I afford them now?
Logos occasionally receives criticism of offering packages that are bloated. Gold does have more than I think I’d want to use in a lifetime, and the “print value” metric is to be taken with a grain of salt, since the real question is of what value will a given resource be to the user. I still have mixed feelings about the new names and groupings found in Logos 5 base packages (as compared to Logos 4). I think it’s an oversight on the part of the company that there is no longer an Original Languages Library advertised on the Website. This was a market-driven decision, from what I understand, but I doubt scholars of Biblical Studies will appreciate it. (The user forums note that you can purchase an original languages package by phoning the sales department at Logos.)
Compatibility issues are also at play in one’s purchasing decisions. Logos for now is the only major Bible software program that can run natively (without an emulator, bottle, etc.) on any platform: Mac, PC, iPad, mobile, etc. It also is set up such that all your resources, notes, and even screen layouts sync automatically across platforms. However I close Logos on my PC is how it looks when I open it back up on my Mac. That kind of flexibility is great to have.
Gold is not a cheap package, but a lot comes with it. It makes a good long-term investment, if you’re comfortable building your library electronically. But using a resource in Logos is much more than just reading a commentary on a Kindle or as a pdf on a computer. References and abbreviations are hyperlinked throughout, and you can use the search features and “Data Sets” in Logos to more fruitfully explore any given resource. So it’s not just library-building, but information sorting, textual analysis, flexible searching of multiple resources, data manipulation, etc.
If as a pastor, professor, seminarian, or Bible translator you do a good amount of research and writing on the Bible, the Gold base package in Logos 5 combines a wealth of resources and features that could be of benefit. I’m especially eager to dig more into the UBS Handbooks, the Exegetical Summaries, the N.T. Wright works, and the Bible Sense Lexicon. I’ll post more about Gold before long. (UPDATE: See concluding part of Gold review here.)
Thanks to Logos for the gratis review copy of Gold, given me with the sole expectation that I review it honestly here on my blog.