Posted by: Tim | October 6, 2008

Bible Software Part 2: Logos vs Bibleworks

Earlier this year, with my Greek being in much better shape  than when I started using Bible software several years ago, and feeling the need for a more robust package (as in I didn’t know any Greek when I started but now I kind-of do), I started researching and quickly determined that my choice would be between two main competitors, Logos and Bibleworks. One day in the midst of my research, I was talking with Dr. T.C. Ham from Prairie Bible College and he mentioned that he used Bibleworks, that it was fast, and that he liked it. I did do some more research, but the contest was basically over at that point. I soon ordered Bibleworks and I love it.

Here are my thoughts on Logos vs Bibleworks and why I chose Bibleworks.

My Logos Experience

I haven’t ever owned a major version of Logos though I did receive the starter version either for free in seminary or cheap at a Christian bookstore. In seminary (around 2002 or earlier), my hermeneutics prof was big on Logos (Libronix) and there seemed to be some deal available if a bunch of students went in on it. At the time I wasn’t interested as I used it a bit in the seminary computer lab and it seemed difficult to use, and I didn’t have the cash to get it anyway.

I don’t remember using Logos much until sometime around 2004-05 when Crossway started giving out Logos software with the purchase of an ESV Bible, instead of the old Wordsearch 5 (which I liked so much!). So I loaded it up, but I didn’t use it much as it seemed clunky compared to Wordsearch.

Just this year when I bought Bibleworks, the reseller (Nehemiah software) included a scaled down version of Logos (a few Bibles and the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which I wanted to have). I managed to combine it with my existing ESV Logos software. (It was a bit tricky – it takes a few tries – you have to load one first and then the other…don’t ask me which one is first…shoulda wrote that down!)

You can buy the full Logos at various levels: Gold, Silver, Original Languages etc… It’s main strength seems to be as a digital library. There are tons of reference books and commentaries available for it. It seems to be the standard for this purpose. The higher the version, the more books and features you get (including some pretty serious titles, like the whole NAC commentary set). You can spend a lot of cash on it – hundreds or thousands, but if your goal is to replace your physical library with a digital library, Logos, is designed and ready to do so.

However I have lots of physical books and I like reading these real books that I can bookmark, mark up, use as paperweights, etc… and make my own. I know Logos has these features in digital format (well…maybe not the paperweight feature), but it’s not the same. Also, I spend enough time looking at a computer screen as it is and I like to separate computer screen from my commentary reading.

There are two main things I don’t like about Logos:

1. It seems clunky and slow. My impression is that it just takes a long time to do anything. There is this progress bar that seems to constantly appear and take time to move to 100%.

2. It tries to do everything for you. If you type in a verse (or I think even a topic) it will try to compile every piece of research imaginable into the window on the left side. I know this sounds useful and perhaps it even is useful, but I much rather do my research in my own way. The direction I take it may be different from the way Hal the Libronix engine chooses. (Maybe there’s a way to customize how it does research? Who knows?)

Here’s a photo of 1&2 happening together – my friend the progress bar and the everything window:

Bibleworks

I am very happy with Bibleworks. It does a tremendous job of focusing on the Bible and it seems to be customized to accomplish the same things that I want to do, focused on the text of Scripture.

Here are the things I like best about Bibleworks:

1. It lets you see verses in multiple versions at the same time (without running a parallel version module) so I can always see a verse in different translations at a glance.

2. speed speed speed

3. the ‘esc’ key – you hit this key and it takes you to the command line (kind of like DOS!…if you don’t know what DOS is…don’t worry about it!) and you can type a reference or a search or change Bible default versions – all very quickly…as fast as you can hit ‘esc’ and type.

4. the command line – wow this thing is powerful…I still have little idea how to use it to its full potential…but what I do know works great…and again…lightning fast. It even has a little report at the bottom which tells you that it returned (for example) 432 verses in .18 seconds.

5. the mouse over the Bible text that gives you everything you want to know about each word – in ESV it is just the notes and the cross reference, in the Greek it gives all the stuff from Greek class that I can never remember (parsing, case, tense, mood….yawning…losing consciousness…need to snap out of it….), and the lexicon definition in the right window (Get the BDAG – it’s a pricey add-on but worth it. Otherwise I found GING and FRI helpful. Also, get the TDNT add on (abridged)). In the NASB you get the NASB dictionary def’ns, KJV the Strong’s def’ns, and the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge cross references (very handy!)

Here’s a screen shot of Bibleworks to give you an idea of what it looks like:

I should note that Bibleworks has far fewer reference works available than Logos and they tend to be language helps and reference works that tie in with the text. If you are looking to build a digital library, Bibleworks won’t do it for you (they have made an intentional design decision not to do this…in fact they think it could be a bad idea, due to the way technology changes…you don’t want your $5000 digital library to be obsolete in 10 years…like DOS, or OS/2, hehe).

But as mentioned above, I don’t really want to build a digital library, and since I love everything about Bibleworks, I am happy with it and I don’t plan to change anytime soon.

I read some blogs and found that some guys buy both Logos and Bibleworks, and use each for their strengths. Sounds like a possible solution if you have the funds to buy both, but for now I’m sticking with Bibleworks and my physical library, and hope to continue to enjoy both for many years to come. Maybe sometime I’ll add a reference book or two to my scaled down Logos and see how it works.

Well that’s it for me…for now. I would appreciate your thoughts and comments below about Logos vs Bibleworks, or just about Bible software in general. If you are researching the same information, I’d be happy to help if I can, and to offer further input.

Thanks for reading and God bless, Tim.

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Responses

  1. Interesting, Tim. I haven’t used either program (Logos or BibleWorks) in a while, but initially I found Logos much more user-friendly and easy to navigate than BibleWorks. Though yes, BibleWorks generally does have more original languages material and that is key, especially for a Bible expositor/teacher.

  2. I have used both Bibleworks and Logos and have decided to stick with Logos for now. The other minister at my church uses Bibleworks because of all the language tools that it offers. Overall I thought this was a great review of these two products. Thanks!

  3. Superior post.Keep up the eminent work,You should definitely have to keep updating your site

  4. If you’re a BibleWorks user, be sure to check out the unofficial BibleWorks Blog for other (free) additional user resources!

  5. Thanks Mike,

    I took a quick look already and will check it out more to see if there’s some resources that I could use.

    Tim

  6. Logos software is the best there is and it is very customizable to your personal preferences.
    Full disclosure: My husband works for Logos Bible Software so I am a little prejudiced…
    If you want to take your Bible study to the next level, take a look and give him a call and he would love to offer you a discounted price!
    Jared Bryant (800) 875-6467 ext 2319

  7. (i’ve have Bibleworks 8 and logos Scholar)

    Yeah i agree with your accessment above apart from i don’t find logos slow at all and i just use it on a 2007 laptop ~ at the moment though i’m really thrilled with logos (it is way better than I thought it was). It has a great exegetical and block diagramming feature.

    Ideally just buy logos scholar and Bibleworks (both of these will cost the same as buying logos silver)

  8. Thank you for your posting I found it very helpful and should have paid more attention. I tried out a trial copy of Wordsearch and liked it. I was encourage to try Logos by a friend (based only on what he heard of the program). I bought one of the lower end packages (still expensive) of Logos 4. My initial impression is that it is extremely powerful but I’m wishing I had spent the money to upgrade my copy of Wordsearch 8. Why…I found Wordsearch to be much more user friendly and the interface more intuitive. I believe Logos is more powerful but you need to watch videos, go for training, search on blogs, etc to figure things out. I also found the response of tech support for Wordsearch to be much better. I got a response from them in a couple days. I’ve yet to hear back from Logos. It’s been a week and I don’t know if I’ll ever hear back from them. I’ll stick it out and try to use Logos more. Your comments on performance are still right on. Logos 4 performed poorly on my 2 GB dual core laptop. Performed okay on my 8GB quad core workstation but let’s get real…what kind of specs do they expect for the program to perform decently. It also didn’t seem to have built in backup features like Wordsearch…(one of my questions to their tech support). I don’t mind reinstalling the program but would hate to lose my notes. An example of something I just figured out in Wordsearch in a couple minutes. Maybe it’ll grow on me and I’ll learn to appreciate it. This is my first impression of Logos 4. To get down and do a Bible study quickly…maybe should have bought Wordsearch instead of spending money to study Logos 4 and if time permits …the Bible. Loved Logos 4 iPhone app….though.

  9. […] further reading, click here for my old comparision of Bibleworks 7 with Logos, and click here for my discussion of Quickverse and […]

  10. […] – 1661 views – Bible Software Part 2: Logos vs Bibleworks  – The two most popular, and most serious PC Bible packages are Bibleworks and Logos. This […]

  11. I have Bibleworks and PC Bible which does me fine


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