The following review of Logos Bible Software in general and the new Logos7 in particular will start with my Logos testimony, a brief review of the Gold Package, and move on to the new Logos7, before sharing a special offer.
The links to Logos on this post are affiliate links. My affiliate policy seeks to steward my influence for Christ—or to say it another way, I only share and review things I use and/or highly recommend. I also know God doesn’t want me to waste your time or money. 🙂
My Tumultuous, but Eventually Splendid, Logos Bible Software Story
I first started using Logos my last year of seminary in 2012 when a family member generously offered to split the cost of Logos 4 with me to invest in my future of ministry. I hadn’t previously considered Logos due to the cost.
As a seminary student working his tail off to pay each semester in cash, I thought it was better to arrive at school early to use BibleWorks on the library computers rather than dropping a mini-fortune on a software package. (Although I dropped a major fortune paying for seminary!)
As a fairly uneducated customer, I had many initial complaints about the whole Logos idea. (What can I say other than I’m skeptical by nature!) This review will be a little different than most and will share how my initial complaints have dramatically shifted to praise. (Mostly.)
Initial Complaint #1: Logos is expensive!
Logos is expensive. But so is a library—and that is where much of the value lies. The value of a library isn’t in the fact that every page of every book you own will be read, but rather when you need to research a topic or passage of Scripture, you have an entire library package at your disposal. (Assuming you choose the right package for you.) Instead of searching the library online catalog or walking over to your bookshelf with commentaries and dictionaries, just type in the search bar (which some Logos Pros call “sanctified Google”), and Viola!—you save a lot of time over flipping through books.
Logos also has many features that will save you a ridiculous amount of time compared to traditional study and help you do things that were never possible for people a mere decade ago. (See my review of Logos7 below and the video for examples.)
My way of thinking about the cost is to compare it with other investments in education:
- Seminary degrees today can easily cost anywhere from $30,000—$100,000.
- Expenses traveling to a conference like The Gospel Coalition or Together for the Gospel could easily be five hundred to a thousand dollars.
Conclusion: Investing a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a package of resources for Bible study is worth the investment if you have a passion to study Scripture deeply and teach or preach the Bible.
Initial Complaint #2: Logos is hard to use!
Yes, there is a learning curve, but there is often a correlation between the power of a technology with the learning curve required to use that piece of technology. I’m not walking into the cockpit of a jet without some training!
I admit not investing time up front to learn to use Logos properly, and thus, it wasn’t as valuable to me as it should have been. It took me a couple of years to get my bearings, and I’m still learning how to use Logos. Luckily, Logos has training videos built into help you harness the power of their system and your library. I’m still working through those.
Conclusion: If you buy Logos, invest time up front training yourself how to use it—you will grow in your abilities and be more studious and productive as a result.
Watching the LogosBibleSoftware YouTube channel is also a good place to grow.
Initial Complaint #3: I like physical books over digital.
That may be well and good, but:
- Wouldn’t it be nice to easily search your physical book library for a topic or Scripture passage? For example, searching Logos commentaries for the meaning of Ephesians 1:10 recently helped me quickly (within 5 seconds) get several explanations. Picking books off of the shelves would have taken several minutes, and that assumes I didn’t leave books at my office!
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have your library with you wherever you go? At home and at the office, at the coffee shop, on vacation, trips abroad, the doctor’s waiting room, the bathroom, etc.? (Hint: the answer is yes.)
- Wouldn’t it be nice for your books/resources to not take up so much room at home? (If you can’t answer this and are married, ask your spouse.)
Last December on my trip to Ecuador to train pastors in expository preaching, I had two days notice to prepare a sermon and didn’t think of bringing any resources for study. As expected, Logos proved indispensable.
Conclusion: If you sometimes study on-the-go, love (or at least like) technology, and don’t already have an extensive theological library, software like Logos is a no-brainer. If you already have a theological library and a study system in place by lugging books around or photocopying them, you may not need Logos.
Initial Complaint #4: I don’t need all of those resources.
You are probably correct. But then again, the value of a library is not necessarily that every page of every book will be read. The value is in its availability when you need a resource on a certain topic or passage. My Logos package has introduced me to many helpful resources I wouldn’t have otherwise used or even heard of—some of which I now use constantly.
On a more negative note, I will say that some of the resources included in my package were a little disappointing; either because they were in the public domain and free online or because they were something I don’t consider extremely valuable. I guess that is to be expected.
Conclusion: The value of a library is in the availability of a volume if and when you need it. If you consider Logos, make sure you choose a library that will fit your needs.
Initial Complaint #5: Books on Logos are expensive!
Yes, they are—but that is because they are connected to the powerful software. I personally don’t buy many Logos books for this very reason—I mainly use books from the Gold Package.
Oh, how I wish they could have deals like Kindle books have! Due to the time intensive process of linking up references to verses and books in each resource (one of the most useful things about Logos), this fact is unlikely to change. I generally use Logos for more reference books and Bible versions, which means I don’t buy a lot of them. I generally use Kindle for most other digital reading, which means I buy a lot more.
Other ways to think about price of resources:
- If you are a pastor, your church may have a book budget you can tap into.
- Remember the value of a library and the cost of education. If paying a little more will help you better minister the gospel, it is a small price to pay.
- They do offer a free book each month, and over time, can be a nice addition to your library.
- Logos does offer discounts on certain resources.
- You can always take a second loan out on your home to purchase Logos like the Babylon Bee suggests. (Just kidding!)
Conclusion: Yeah, Logos books are kind of expensive. But so are computers, cars, braces for your teeth, and children—but all are worth it. Whatcha gonna do? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Three important considerations:
- Logos isn’t for everybody. I advise many lay people against Logos in favor of getting a good Bible Dictionary, a good one-volume Bible Commentary, and a good study Bible with a concordance. Use those well along with commentaries from sites like Bible Study Tools or BibleHub (or others), and The Bible Project Videos, and you’ll be in good shape for a devotional study of Scripture that will transform your life and help you lead others. (The apostles didn’t have Logos, and things went pretty well for them as I recall.)
- Having Logos doesn’t mean you don’t study the Bible carefully. After seeing a Logos commercial at a conference, you may think that you will be the next John MacArthur with the click of a mouse. As my friend Peter Krol has said, you can’t let a mountain of resources or fancy buttons block your view of what Scripture plainly says. God speaks through His Word, fancy software or no fancy software. Study hard, and when needed, use resources. But never let resources prevent you from doing the necessary work of diligent study (2 Timothy 2:15).
- Your Logos Software is only as good as the library you fill it with. Just like a library’s shelves are only useful if they have the resources you need, this software is only as good as the library you fill it with. That is why one of the biggest takeaways of this whole review is to make sure the library you choose is right for you. (Feel free to comment on this post if you would like a recommendation.)
My experience with the Logos Gold Package
After having the Standard Gold package for a few months, I could never go back to my pre-gold days. Not even if you held a gun to my head. OK, maybe that’s a lie ;). But I do love it and will probably never need to buy another commentary set or Greek/Hebrew resource.
Here are a few of the resources I’m loving:
- The New American Commentary Series on the New Testament and the Old Testament
- The New International Greek New Testament Commentary Set
- The Bible Speaks Today New Testament Commentary Set
- The Pillar New Testament Commentary Series edited by D.A. Carson
- Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Set
- A ton of Charles Spurgeon Sermons and commentaries
- Resources that make looking up Greek and Hebrew words a piece of cake.
Conclusion: If you don’t already have a large library, Logos Gold set is a solid investment for preachers, teachers, and scholars, due to the commentary sets and exegetical tools available.
Review of Logos 7
I’ll admit I’m no Logos power user, and I feel like I’m just getting my bearings with some of the more basic features. There are so many new offerings in Logos7, I can’t properly wade through them for this review; what I have chosen are a few highlights.
I’ll admit, I’m a little overwhelmed with what Logos7 can do!
Introducing Logos Bible Software 7 [Video]
The Courses Tool seems incredibly practical for those wanting to take top-notch theological courses who either don’t have the time, money, or desire for a class at a traditional school. I would suspect Logos will work with many more professors in addition to the great line up they already have to make their offerings very useful. Courses involve video content and written content, and many are offered for free. (Take a look at the screenshot below for a few classes and instructors.)
The Text Comparison Tool will allow you to select a handful of translations to compare either side by side as in the image, or interlinear. This is especially helpful in thinking through translation from the original languages or trying to uncover the breadth of ways a word or verse can be translated.
Proposition outlines for the Old and New Testament. If you’re confused how each phrase and word functions in a sentence, this tool will show you just that. (See image below.) This takes out a lot of the exegetical guesswork out.
Sermon Editor. This is the new feature I’m most excited about. The new Sermon Editor is so much more than a Word processor. Bible verses will appear when you type a reference and a graphic will automatically be created for certain text for PowerPoint or Proclaim Church Presentation Software. (See below.) While I don’t know if I can use this in the short term, I do hope to use this to make sermons more visually appealing. This tool should save many busy preachers and admin staff a lot of time!
New Testament Use of the Old Testament Browser. This isn’t one of Logos’ game-changing features, but it is helpful having an interactive interface for sorting different linked Scriptures.
The Concordance Tool. Here is another helpful feature of Logos that could save you a lot of time and page turning. Watch the video below for a better explanation than I can give.
Like previous versions, Logos7’s cloud integration across platforms is extremely valuable. Logos is available on computer, tablet, and smartphone, making accessing your resources seamless and a great experience. (My only complaint is that highlighting on the iPhone app doesn’t always work.)
Conclusion: Logos7 is a portal into a powerful and interactive world of Bible resources never before experienced in world history. It won’t do the studying or thinking for you, but will give you ample resources and cutting edge technology to make advanced study easier than ever. The number of great library packages offered give us access to resources that would leave preachers and scholars of previous generations speechless.
Special, Limited-Time Offer
I have teamed up with Logos to provide a special offer for fans of this blog: for a limited time, you can receive 15% off of a Logos7 package in celebration of the newest version through this link*.
Logos will also throw in a free commentary on Hebrews by Charles Spurgeon as their way of saying thanks.
Here’s my official blurb on Logos 7:
Earlier generations of pastors and scholars could only dream of having a theological library easily searchable from their pockets. Logos Bible Software makes that dream our reality. After four years of using it, I feel like I’m only beginning to tap into the power of Logos. It has been and continues to be my “home base” for the deep study of Scripture. It’s no exaggeration to say that Logos Bible Software will transform your Bible study.
*As mentioned earlier, this is an affiliate link, but I highly recommend Logos to all Bible teachers/preachers and scholars.
Thank you to Logos Bible Software for graciously letting me test drive the Logos7 Beta version.