Over on the Logos Forum, there was a thread about how big Logos was compared to its competing software programs.
Bible study programs used to be just electronic bibles and you could purchase multiple translations and then compare them to gain better insight into how much latitude the original languages gave translators as they parsed the text into English. Then they might present the various translations in parallel to make comparisons more convenient.
Keyword searching made finding the reference of a particular passage really convenience, and looking up references effortless. Adding original language dictionaries then made the old concordance look ups just so easy.
These days these programs have evolved into publishing platforms with rich interconnections between Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedias. Each platform strives with one another to capture the material from the various publishing houses. The more reputable the author, the more useful will be the platform to users.
After nearly 30 years, Logos is the clear leader in this race. In becoming the gold standard, it is also the priciest. Now there are tens of thousands of books that have been published through the logos platform. If a Bible verse or Scripture reference appears in any extra biblical writing, that reference is hyperlinked back to your Bible choice.
Equally users can go the other way, and command the program to provide every reference to a particular Bible reference in every extra biblical resource that the user has purchased. Often tens of thousands of references can be retrieved with one query like that.
Understandably, this means that this is an incredibly powerful tool in which a user could be lost within it for days on end. You can also end up being tempted to purchase hundreds of books that you might never need. Often logos markets the resources in large packages or sets often priced at several hundred dollars each. They argue that the average price per book is much lower but unfortunately in any given set, you might only use less than 10% of it.
For Logos users who are encountering these problems here are a few tips and thoughts that I have gleaned over several years of using Logos:
I only read the home page on the weekend, like reading the weekend newspaper.
Logos is an enthusiastic promoter of the resources that have been published on this platform to users. A lot of it is like spam, there is a constant, relentless drive to promote another resource for users to purchase.
Like any ad, on occasion I do see something of interest and purchase that, but it can be tiresome.
The packages have a lot of stuff that often isn't that relevant to me and sometimes I fret that it's taking up real estate on my hard drive.
In a similar vein the frequent updates used to be annoying because they slowed my PC down until it was unusable until indexing had been completed.
These days, with broadband internet connections, and faster machines, I don't notice it so much.
So I've learnt to use Logos purposefully. I go into it with a task in mind and stop myself from being distracted by other things. It's a skill that has to be learnt with the Internet anyway. Endless hours can be spent surfing with no productive end.
I've found Logos to be really powerful. For example, I was reading a rabbinical polemic against Christians the other day and the Rabbi said that the writer of Hebrews had misquoted the Torah.
A quick look up of the Biblica Stuttengartsia showed on the face of it, he was right. How did the error come to be? I had a look at the Septuagint and the "error" was there.
I couldn't have done that with my old software, Wordsearch; but I don't know whether it can these days, as I moved to Logos years ago.
It doesn't take long before you can have a mountain of resources which can result in Logos taking a long time to complete a search. Logos allows resources to be omitted from searches by restricting the search to a particular collection which you need to set up beforehand.
If I only want to search commentaries then I create a collection of commentaries first. This is a one time task and the collection can be used over and over again. Depending on the criteria for inclusion, any new commentaries you purchase will automatically be included in the collection.
Never used resources can be discarded from any search so that your computer can avoid wasting effort on them.
Whether the mistranslation resulted in a misinterpretation is another story.
I'm sure there are people who buy resources for all the "wrong" reasons but then I'm a great believer in the idea that God motivates people in many strange ways and often we do things for the "wrong" reasons yet they end up being a blessing later (Rom 8:28?).
Anyway, this is my approach to purchasing resources now:
- Start with a basic collection with the tools you really, really need and then grow your collection from there as the need arises. For example, my church is doing a study of Ephesians, so I went looking at reviews to find the top three resources on Ephesians and purchased the ones I wanted that are available through Logos. Don't worry so much about the "sales", especially the bundles, you end up buying stuff you never use. Been there, done that.
- Look for recommended reading lists from authors and authorities that you trust.
- Not all resources are available on Logos' store. So for the Ephesians study, I purchased them elsewhere and made them into Personal Books. It's worth learning to make Personal Books, because there are lots of resources out there that are very useful, but haven't made it into the Logos product list for one reason or another. Sometimes publishers won't play ball. Other times, it doesn't meet Logos' criteria. Personal books bring the power of Logos to those resources. I've done a number of these especially the FFOZ Torah Club. Lots of work involved in converting that set but so, so useful to see parts of those materials come up in Logos searches. I know some people will be concerned about copyright but if I'm only using them for myself, and I'm not distributing them to others, then it falls under the "Fair Use" doctrine of copyright law.