August 13th, 2008
Logos Bible Software is designed with the Bible student in mind. It does not matter if you are seminary trained or not. Anyone can use this software as they seek to study the Bible and mine it for its gold. Shoot, you don’t even have to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar with this software to better understand the Word of God in its original languages.
While I am familiar with some of Logos’ software, I will be writing this review from a very non-technical perspective and sharing what I have found as I learned how to operate the system and use it to my advantage.
I installed the DVD version of the Scholar’s Library Logos Bible Software 3.0e. The DVD is nice if you have a DVD drive on your computer because it is only one disc. If you have to go with the CD-ROM’s, then you will have to deal with seven discs. In my opinion, the less I have to keep track of, the better off I am. The price is the same regardless of which type of discs you use.
The installation began easy enough. All you have to do is insert the DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and let it do its thing. Easy enough…unless you are me. I figured because the disc had been “discovering resources” for 30 minutes, and was seemingly frozen on one discovery, that it had frozen in the process. Either that or it was finished. Well, I went ahead and closed the window to “help it along” thinking it was finished Don’t ever do that! I later found out that because it is a DVD, there are over 2,000 total resources that have to be discovered and that it might take a while to do so (upwards of 45 minutes).
It turns out that the error occurred between the screen and the chair. I had greatly messed up the downloading process when I attempted to “help it along.” However, this wound up being a blessing in disguise. Because of my mistake, I am able to include in the review the Customer Support service.
I spoke with Deborah and Don of the customer support team to try and figure out my problem. Deborah worked through her trouble-shooting plans and was able to figure out what the problem was but was unable to fix it. I joked with her that it was above her pay-grade. She then sent me over to Don, who was apparently within eye-shot of her. Anyway, Don was actually able to log onto my computer, with my permission, and control my computer from his office. That was pretty cool.
Anyway, he had it all working in no time and had everything fixed and completely downloaded in a matter of ten minutes. During the time I spent on the phone with them, I learned that the latest version of the software, the version I own, is compatible with Window’s Vista. Also, whenever an update comes out for your particular software, you can easily download it from the Logos website.
I was amazed at their patience and willingness to work on my problem until it was fixed. I realize that this is the job of the customer support team, but most of the time you can hear a hint (ok, sometimes it is not even subtle) of exasperation and annoyance in the voice on the other end of the line. I never heard that. As a matter of fact, Deborah was all about the small talk while the computer would have to re-boot and re-start and everything. Don would explain what he was doing as well as give tips on how to not crash the system again.
If you go to the video page on the LOGOS website, you can download and watch numerous video tutorials to help you get started with your Bible Study software. Trust me, it is much easier to watch the videos for a few minutes rather than try to “get a feel” for the program by yourself. Each video is what I would call “idiot proof” because I am an idiot and I could follow them with no problems whatsoever. Because each software package comes with different features, using these tutorials will help you to learn what your specific software can do as well as help you to learn what exactly you have in your digital library.
You can always play around with your software and learn by trial and error, but that is almost self-defeating. You would be doing yourself a great disservice by not using the tutorial videos provided at the website. I noted in the tutorials that they promote the English Standard Version of the Bible in all of their videos.
After you have become acquainted with your library and what your software can do, you are ready to begin taking advantage of the resources you now own. The particular edition I am reviewing, the Scholar’s Library, has over 330 resources unlocked at the time of purchase (a locked resource is one that can be purchased at a later time). As you can see, it is very important to become familiar with your resources. You have basically just added an entire library in one-felled swoop.
The usability of the software will depend upon a couple of factors. First, did you watch the tutorials? If that answer is yes, then you are truly ready to start studying passages, words, or topics found in the Bible. If the answer is no, then there will be much more of a learning curve to the the usability. In either case, it will take time to become completely comfortable and familiar with the product and its features.
One of the nice features to the Scholar’s Library is the ability to diagram sentences on the computer. For those who are studying Greek and Hebrew, this is a nice feature. However, it must be noted that the program does not have any ready made diagrams. All of the diagramming must be done by the user. But, once you do a diagram, and save it, it will come up whenever you want to do a study of that passage again in the future.
Simply typing in a passage, you are able to bring up commentaries (turned to the exact pages you need), parallel passages, key words found in the passage, sermons from SermonCentral.com and even power point presentations (if any exist). You can also get a list of hymns and worship music that are based from the passage as well as a list of all of the topics that can be discussed. In other words, this could be your one-stop shop for your sermon preparation.
Another positive with the software is that you can carry an entire library on your laptop wherever you may go. Let’s say you are doing missions work overseas. If you bring your laptop with you, regardless of Internet service, you have access to your entire library in the space your laptop takes up in your luggage.
Counting the Cost
Obviously, there is going to be some financial investment into this software. In all honesty, it does not come cheap. However, it is arguably the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to spending your money on building a library quickly. For example, the Scholar’s Library, has a base price of $629.95, but you get over $6,100.00 worth of print material for your money. The Scholar’s Library Gold has a base price of $1,379.95, but that includes $11,700.00 worth of print material (over 700 volumes!). As you can see, it is much cheaper to buy the software than the books.
Before you shut down the computer in frustration over the cost of the software, please read on. Because they are in the business of equipping the saints, LOGOS offers many different discounts for their programs as well as various payment options.
First, they have payment plans whereby you can pay for your software over a 12-month period. There is a monthly $5.00 service fee for choosing this option which means you pay a total of $60 more for your product. Still, it is a nice option to have if you are really wanting to own this software and do not have the money upfront.
Second, they offer an academic discount for seminary students and faculty and staff. The faculty and staff of a seminary receive a 50% discount while the students receive a 30% discount. This discount is off any of the base packages that LOGOS offers. They also offer various discounts on other titles for seminary students, faculty and staff, but you will have to search for these because the discount differs from product to product.
The LOGOS software offers a very economical and compact storage system to greatly enhance one’s library and study of the things of God. It offers the ability for word study, topical study and passage study. One can prepare a sermon using only the services provided in the Scholar’s Library base package and still do justice (insofar as a human can do justice to the exhortation of God’s Word) to the message that God has laid on his heart for a particular week or message.
here are also many levels of base products, ranging in price from $149.95 to $1,379.95, depending on what you are wanting. If you are going into the ministry at any level I would highly recommend the Scholar’s Library as a great start to your preparation and study. The books that are included will enrich your understanding of the Bible.