Should I get Logos Bible Software? What are its pros and cons? Would I be better off with an alternative Bible study set up? I’m glad you asked.
I can’t give you every answer you’re looking for, but the questions below will help you think through the benefits, costs, and utility of this powerful piece of software.
Full disclosure: I have used Logos for years, enjoy it, and am an affiliate of Logos (meaning if you make a purchase through any links I will get a commission at no extra cost to you). That being said, my goal is to serve you in thinking through your Logos decision. If you reach the end and still have questions, please contact me and I can help you think through your situation and compare options. For those interested, I go deeper into some of Logos’ new features in this review.
I bought a basic Logos package my last year in seminary and have since added the Reformed resource package which I enjoy. It comes with all of Calvin’s Commentaries, all of Spurgeon’s sermons, and several excellent commentary series (my favorites being The Bible Speaks Today and Pillar New Testament.) I’m no master user of Logos, but find it easy to find what I’m looking for in resources and do basic language work. I hope the following questions flowing from my experience will help you make a wise decision in thinking about buying Logos Bible Software.
- Why are you considering Logos Bible Software?
I’ve heard people talk as if buying Logos would mean all of their Bible questions would be answered in a click of the mouse. Logos is not a high-tech answer key, it is a system of resources that helps you do the hard work of study. And it offers other features like notes, courses, creating PowerPoint slides and graphics for services, and much more. (To be honest, it’s hard for me to keep up with it all! See a few more options here.) The sheer amount of features and resources Logos offers would have made many ministers in previous generations salivate thinking of the time and energy they could save in study, giving them more time for meditation and application.
If you’re a Christian who loves the Word and wants to go deeper in personal study, Logos might prove an expensive investment with a high learning curve. It won’t make you love God any more or take out the hard work of Bible study.
If you’re a seminary student, pastor, student of the biblical languages, or serving in a teaching ministry, Logos could become your new best friend. Keep reading.
- Are you good with technology?
As I have gotten older and used more technology, I’ve realized there is often a direct correlation between the power of software with the complexity there is to use it. The more it can do, the harder it is to use (usually). You simply can’t take shortcuts from learning all of the bells and whistles software systems like Logos provide.
If you don’t have at least an intermediate skill set with technology, Logos might present too steep of a learning curve to overcome. I know there are a number of features I’ve never utilized and simply don’t have time to explore. If you decide Logos is for you, I would recommend taking a course on how to best utilize Logos and then to work hard at learning it. If you’re a Luddite, then you can probably stop reading.
- Do you enjoy digital reading and reference?
While I typically prefer the tactile experience of a physical book (and if it’s new, smelling it), I need the portability that digital resources offer. Case in point: while on a trip to train Ecuadorian pastors, I was told I would preach on a passage with a day’s notice. It comes at no shock, but having an entire library in my pocket proved extremely useful! When else in all of world history could I have enjoyed that privilege?
Even if you prefer print books to digital, a major strength of Logos is the search function that instantly scours your entire library for keywords and/or Bible references. Imagine pawing through a print library with the same efficiency! Personally, I use Logos for reference reading for its speed and convenience but prefer a physical book or Kindle for other types of reading.
- Do you already own a library or a study system that works?
I can see some curmudgeons scoffing Spurgeon didn’t have Logos, and his sermons turned out just fine! In many cases, I’d agree. If you’re a seasoned pastor with a decent print library that has served you well, I’d say keep doing what you’ve been doing and give Logos a pass. Not everybody needs an extensive digital library because not every ministry calls for one.
My opinion is that Logos is the best for young people, that is, people who have not yet built a theological library and who are still learning study habits. If this is you, consider Logos Bible Software as an investment in your ministry. (If you can invest over $50K in a seminary education, a good Logos library is worth it as well.)
- Do you know what resources you need the most?
One reality of Logos Bible Software is that you will probably only use a fraction of the resources they offer you. Their landing pages promise oodles and oodles of resources, but they also don’t tell you that many of these included resources are in the public domain (and thus are available for free online) and others aren’t top quality. A package might also give you ten different Bible dictionaries when one or two would suffice.
The quality of your resources is much more important than quantity. Logos is only as good as what it is filled with. You might purchase a Logos Base package to realize that you still need a couple of commentary sets for it to really be useful. My recommendation is to write out what resources you will need the most and shop around for the package that best suits you. If there’s a reference work that you will turn to often, it will prove invaluable in your Logos library and will be worth buying.
- Can you get by with cheaper alternatives?
If you’re not jumping for joy at the prospect of Logos Bible Software at this point in the article, it may not be for you. There are many free online resources you could use to replicate certain features of Logos including ESV.org (with a free study Bible), BibleWeb App or StepBible for biblical languages, using sites like BibleGateway, BibleStudyTools.com, BibleHub, and more for concordances and basic commentaries (although the free commentaries are typically old and not the best available). I don’t use Accordance and can’t compare or contrast it with Logos, but assume it could be a viable alternative. (I would recommend BibleWorks but I think they went belly up.)
If you’re considering Logos for personal study, you might be better off spending $150 on core books for Bible study like a study Bible, Bible dictionary, a good concordance, a biblical theology dictionary (see my review), a systematic theology, and a one-volume Bible commentary.
Choosing a DIY route might be cheaper, but then again, you will miss out on the great features Logos has to offer, including pulling all of the resources together and making jumping from resource to resource a breeze. Logos resources are not cheap; they are often the same price or higher than print books due to their internal linking. You won’t find as many great deals for Logos like you will for Kindle, but you can count on a free book each month along with several related deals.
Conclusion: Is Logos for you?
As you’ve read, it depends. For younger, technologically intuitive ministers starting out their ministry and library, I would say Logos Bible Software is a no-brainer and worthy investment (assuming you have adequate funds). If you’re a devoted Christian looking to go deeper in the Word, Logos would be great but could prove an expensive investment when other routes for deep study are available.
If you’re still unsure, download the free Logos 7 Basic software and see how you like it. As far as I know, it doesn’t come with many resources, but playing around with it and browsing resource packages would be a good next step. As I said earlier, I want to help you wisely think through this decision and will try to answer any questions you may have.
We live in exciting times for studying the Bible. Whether you decide Logos is for you or not, we can all rejoice that God has revealed Himself to sinful man in His life-giving Word. Hallelujah!