Thoughts on expensive Bible Software Packages

Wordsearch Preaching Gold. $1,700.00

Bibleworks – $385.00

Logos Platinum – $4,900.00

Accordance Ultimate – $1,999.00.

These packages are designed mostly for pastors, but the same way that the average person who loves their Bible feels about these software is….

…the same way that an Independent Fundamental King James Only pastor feels about it.

I’m going to help a little bit.

The basic feeling is helplessness. I mean, I think all of us are convinced if we just had five thousand dollars, we could unlock the secrets of the location of the Ark of the Covenant. (hint – it’s not under Stonehenge, Axum Egypt, or in Ethiopia.)

One thing I said last month, and I really expected SOMEONE to comment on it, was that Independent churches pay their pastors anout $250 a week. And that the average worker at McDonalds makes more than an average Independent Baptist pastor.

As a matter of fact, don’t ever comment to your pastor about, “Hey, I used to have a suit just like that! I donated it last month to a thirft store!” Because I guarantee you… it’s the same suit.

Independent Baptist churches apparently expect their pastors to be bi-vocational. The $12,000 a year they pay them happens to be their book allowance.

It’s a lot worse on the pastors when they look at the Logos packages, because they have less opportunity to afford something like that than you do.

I made some comment to the retired United Methodist pastor I used to work with about he really should use Logos, since he was the only one I knew who could afford it!

I have Logos 6, with what they offer for free. It leaves me completely unable to study the Bible, because they only give you the Lexham for free. I do like Logos, and I can see how you can do A LOT if you can spend A LOT.

So, ready for help with it???? Here we go.

I read a review of Logos yesterday. Someone raised some VERY good points about Logos, one of the same objections I’d made.

  1. Logos Platinum (or whatever they’re calling their super-gizwhichy package is called) offers you 1,000’s of books. And… most people will never read them. His comment about “Logos users tend to be geeks more interested in saying, ‘Look what I can do with my iPad!’ made me laugh. Their super package is more about making more money, rather than giving you more functionality. When I discussed this with my wife, she pointed out that – yes, I’d read them. And she’s right, I would. But I’m not the same as everyone else. Seriously. Most people would never read or use the vast majority of books in the Logos library.
  2. Logos saves you money if you were going to buy all those books… maybe. It was pointed out in that article, that over a hundred of the books in their super-gizwhichy package are public domain, and you could download them for free. And a great many of the books in that package are books that only some Bible Agnostic, interested in unScriptural textual Criticism, would buy. And one of the purposes of buying a huge library as a pastor, is that usually they give you an office in that church building with lots of bookshelves… if you spent that money Logos boasts they save you, at least you’d have full shelves.
  3. Logos supposedly saves you time. Well, not really. Apparently, it’s well known for being slower than E-Sword. That right there was the last doubt remover for me. I, unlike the vast majority of Christianity, do not like E-sword, for the simple fact that it moves slower than a German King Tiger tank. (top cruising speed, 12 miles an hour.) Would it save you time doing searches if you had to pull down every book in your library off the wall and flip pages? Yes. Would it save you time even if you knew what book the answer was in? Probably. Would it save you time compared to Wordsearch, Bible Works or Accordance? No. It’s slower.

One of the things I complained about with Logos is that… They do not offer the KIng James Bible for free. I could not properly evaluate their program because they wanted $10 for it.

I thought that was pathetic. I wrote to them, reminded them it was a public domain book in the US, and asked why they charged for it. Their response was that they had to do tagging and many other features to it to make it usable with their software. They made no mention of the fact they offer the Lexham Bible (whatever that is) for free.

Digression with a point…. a couple of years ago, I attended a work class on how to teach… (Bureaucracy! You may know how to teach, and have years experience doing it… but unless they say you know how to teach, you don’t know how to teach). Anyway, at this class, it was pointed out, never assume that nobody in your audience knows what you’re talking about.

Case in point – the tagging they refer to.

I went to college back in the 1980’s to learn how to computer program. At some point, we experimented with Dbase IV, and learned how to tag. Yes. It’s time consuming. And labor intensive.

And every Bible software company has to take simple text files and tag each individual entry to make them work with their software. And every Bible software company offers the King James for free. Except Logos.

Bibleworks and Accordance Essential are right about in the same ballpark. Bibleworks really only offers the one package. It’s like just shy of $400.

That’s a tenth of that of Logos. So, in reality, everything that Logos says about their package, actually applies just as well to Bibleworks… when compared to Logos.

No, you don’t get as much as Logos offers. But you get more than you need.

So, let’s turn to my favorite Bible program, and see how it stacks up, now that I’ve knocked the desire for Logos out of your system!

Bibleworks verses Wordsearch. Who saves you the most money?

uh… Bibleworks. If you really feel like you need a million books.

I can’t answer the rest of the question, because Bibleworks for reasons they explain on their website, simply offers you one package. And as they point out, it’s all you need. Indeed, it’s more than you need!

Okay, let’s get right down to it… what do you REALLY need from a Bible program?

The ability to read the Bible. To study it, which means searches powered by Boolean search logic. EVERY BIBLE SOFTWARE OUT THERE HAS THAT.

You need to be able to use all the different kinds of Bible books that are offered. I talked about a lot of them yesterday.

The last question really is… do you desire to do original language work? Actually digging into the lemmas and getting your hands dirty examining the Greek Textus Receptus, the Hebrew Ben Chayyim Masoretic text?

If the last one of those is important to you, then you only have one option…


Huh? Not BibleWorks?

Nope. They don’t have the Ben Chayyim. And they’d love to get their hands on a copy. I know, because I’ve talked to them about it.

So, here’s the rundown on Bible software. This is an important topic to me, because I love the Bible. I open a Bible program every day, no days off. And lately, I’ve been working it so hard if it was a car, I’d need a tune-up and a front end alignment.

If you want pure functionality and lots of it, get Wordsearch. If you are broke, get Wordsearch Basic. You lose some of the functionality, but I’ve written articles on how to get around that.

If you want to do language study work, Bibleworks or Accordance. I’ll say I REALLY like some features of Accordance, especially the amplify and research functions. And that it begins to keep track of how and what you research, and stores that in a database. Creepy, but a time saver. Bibleworks has amazing tech support, as does Accordance. The only strike against Accordance, is that the people who make the program lean heavily towards theological modernism. I suppose I should email them a tract. Bibleworks offers, from what I hear, functionality in a package. You buy the one package, and there’s none of the Wordsearch agony of, “Man, I REALLY want to get yet another Bible dictionary!!!!” Like, one more Bible dictionary will have yet another reference to Beersheba. But they know how to get us!

If you want a cool program that let’s you do the bare minimum of functionality on purpose, Swordsearcher. Many IFB have little or no interest in original language research. Swordsearcher does let you do it, but it’s more geared towards someone doing IFB work. David Cloud recommends this

Everyone needs Bible Analyzer. Hands down. Expensive (it’s free, and most add ons are $3-5 dollars!!! For the price you pay for most software’s starter packages, you could get everything Bible Analyzer offers!).

If you like to sit there screaming at your Bible program because it’s too slow.. get E-sword.

If your desk is so cluttered you have to dig out your mouse from under stuff… get Theword.

Bottom line!!!!!

  1. Get Bible Analyzer.
  2. Get Wordsearch 11, and all the free books. It’s more than most of you will need. I think if I could just LEARN THAT LESSON… I’d save a lot of money and a lot of heartache! But I need yet another Bible dictionary!!!!
  3. Get the Accordance Demo. If you don’t open the Textus Receptus to look at the Greek, but instead do the amplify and research functions, it never shuts down. If you do open the TR, it shuts down after an hour. And then you have to re-start it.

You now can do everything you THOUGHT you could do with Logos, without spending several thousand dollars and being disappointed. I’d have been livid if I’d bought Logos, and found it couldn’t do what Bible Analyzer does!

UPDATE: Well, I’ve purchased Logos 6 Baptist Starter. And yes… I’m reading all those books they said you’ll never read.

Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???

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