Logos Bible Software: 4 Reviews in One

[ 9 ] December 24, AD 2011 |

 

This review was originally published at my blog on 12/12/11.

Recently, I received a review copy of the Catholic Scholar”s version of Logos Bible Software. After doing a little dance and screaming like a 5 year old, I committed to writing this review. For this review, I want to consider four different people who may benefit from the Logos software and talk about it in relationship to their needs. I will do this looking through the eyes of four distinct individuals who would directly benefit from it: lay person, priest, student/professor and catechist.

Review 1: Lay person

“But what is the answer to these charges? “I am not,” you will say, “one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.”  This is what has ruined everything, your thinking that the reading of scripture is for monks only, when you need it more than they do.  Those who are placed in the world, and who receive wounds every day have the most need of medicine.  So, far worse even than not reading the scriptures is the idea that they are superfluous. Such things were invented by the devil.”
-St. John Chysostom”s Second Homily on Matthew

We all should want to study Scripture. As a lay Catholic, the task can seem daunting for a number of reasons. For starters, we always want to read the Bible in and with the Church, or we could end up like this guy. But how do you read “in and with” a 2,000 year old Church without literally filling your house with books? Have you not started studying Scripture because of fear of suffocation via books?
I”ve got good news for you. The Logos software fits right inside your computer! Thousands upon thousands of official Church documents, writings of the Fathers, and Doctors of the Church all searchable in relationship to the passage of Scripture you are reading. No more heretic Mondays or schismatic Tuesdays!


Just kidding, well, sort of. The point is that as a lay Catholic, the Logos software is a short-cut to mining the inestimable riches of the Holy Spirit working in and through His Church to lead Her into “all truth”. Without the software, you are stuck going between 20 or so websites with 10 or 20 browser windows open (not to mention a dozen books strewn all over your desk). In the next 10 years, you will probably buy the equivalent worth of book. In other words, you are going to spend the money. An investment in Logos software means having something that you will actually be able to use with relative ease. No more standing in front of a book shelf with a blank stare, only to go back to Jeopardy.

Then again, “I”ll take Bible Answers for $500, Alex.”

Logos = win at Jeapordy (side benefit)

Nice.

Review 2: Priest

I am not a priest and I do not play one on TV. However, I can preach and have preached. In preparing for a sermon, a lot goes into it. Well, it should.

This Sunday, the responsorial Psalm read:

“Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”

The theme of seeing the “face” of God is littered throughout the Old Testament. This would be a beautiful opportunity to weave this response into the homily. How do you do it? Without the Logos software, I imagine hours of tedious study. I then imagine being interrupted by a sick visit to a hospital, 3 calls from distraught parishioners, an extra-Mass after the retired priest got sick, and not to mention your father is ill and needs you to visit him in a town an hour away.

Did I mention fitting in the liturgy of the hours in all of this?

I just typed in “face of God” in the Logos search engine. 55K results. I added a “ranking” function, switched over to my “Magisterial Documents” collection, and in moments I”ve got the relevant Vatican II document. In seconds of searching within the St. Thomas Collection, I have found 8 passages talking about the “face of God”. Imagine a homily that ties together St. Thomas, Vatican II and the responsorial Psalm. You have practically in one homiletical moment brought the entire Church back together again.

= Logos Bible Software

Review 3: Theology Student or Professor

This hits close to home. Having been a student (undergraduate and graduate) and guest lecturer in Philosophy of Religion for a semester, I understand the challenges of meeting deadlines as an academic. Unless you are working as the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Paris, you probably have limited resources: time, money, and attention. You are being asked to read books that you may not want to read, while simultaneously wanting to read a panoply of books that only distract you from the various projects you have at hand. However, in reality you would much rather be working on projects relative to your personal interests. But, again, you are not employed by the Sorbonne.

What do you do?

If you are a theology student, you buy this software. If you are a philosophy student and your emphasis is philosophy of religion, you buy this software. Period. It makes no sense to live your life without it. Half the time you are given assignments with far less time than you need to produce top-tier work given the less than top-tier library (sans Sorbonne). Now you have no excuses. Considering the exegetical and hermeneutical tools at your disposal, the software could help you become the academic ninja you always wanted to be.

Interlinear Scripture Study: Wowzer

The software will not do the thinking for you, but it will come pretty darn close (not to mention it will make a citation for you). Without going into more detail than I am able to discuss at this time so as to appear more erudite than I am and defy all the rules of academia, the reverse inter-linear mining function is incredible. Imagine you are reading a text in English with the Greek or Latin right underneath it. Then, when you want to search a word and see how it is used in other works of that time, you don”t search the English word, you search the word in its original language.

Context.  Precision.  Genius.

= Logos (discounts available to students)

Review 4: Catechist

I think the three other reviews pretty much tell you why you may want this software. If they don”t, I recommend a nice cantor position or maybe serving punch in the fellowship hall. In all seriousness, the catechist has an incredibly important job. They do what cannot be done in the Mass but must be done. The first catechist, of course, is the parent. They are required by God to raise their children in the faith. No CCD can do what they must do–no catechist can stand in loco parentis . I will stand before God and give an account as to how I raised my children in the faith. I cannot say, “Well the catechist at St. Benedictus was lazy and had them do coloring pages.”

Connect the real dots between your vocational responsibility and your time and talents. Logos does that for you. With Logos, you have the answer at the click of a mouse and one less excuse for leading men and women (and children) into all confusion.

[Disclaimer: Logos Bible Software is a very powerful and advanced software that takes time to learn. It also takes a couple of hours to download all of your content. There are so many online resources to help you get started: wikis, how-to-guides, and videos. Like a jet ski, at first you might fall off, but after a day or two you will be having the time of your life.]

Usury Free Option

The cost. I know, it can be prohibitive. Here”s the deal. You have two options.

Option one: fork up all the dough up front. It is an investment, not a purchase. You are buying resources that will give you spiritual purchase for the rest of your life. You will not regret it if you use it.

Option two: the payment plan. There is a $5 fee per payment. When you consider the fees associated with using a credit card, the time it takes to process a fee and the cost of an employee processing it (paying them a just wage), and the exceedingly depreciating value of capital, this is truly a “usury free option” (sorry, no charts or graphs). As a Catholic, I can stand behind this option. So, if you have not finished your Christmas buying list, or if you just want to start the new year with a powerful tool to change your Scripture study life, consider Logos.

That”s my 4 cents.

[author] [author_image timthumb="on"]http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Brent-A.-Stubbs-e1313148902233.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brent A. Stubbs is a father of four ( 1 in heaven and 1 in the oven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic.[/author_info] [/author]

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is a father of five (+ 1 in heaven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic. His Twitter handle is @2bcatholic. His favorite color is blue.
  • http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com Richard G Evans

    I would offer an alternative opinion respectfully. I had LOGOS, one of the highest end packages, before I returned to the Church. They have willingly offered me a substantial discount on the newest edition within my category, but when I told them I was now Catholic they offered me only the above edition reviewed by Brent but with no discount, even though I had been a customer for years and upgraded 3 times.

    While it is true the package is very nice overall, it is also lacking the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and not being able to cross-search that with the other tools is also a handicap. I was told they hoped to add this “eventually.” They were and are very nice people and the software is great stuff as far as it goes, so do not get me wrong. But to me those two things were deal breakers.

  • http://www.almostnotcatholic.com Brent

    Richard,

    Sorry you had a bad customer service issue. It is true that there is not a CCC. Since you described your comment as an alternative, what tools do you recommend and how would they be an improvement to Logos.

  • http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com Richard G Evans

    My post was really just meant as a “full disclosure” for those checking into LOGOS. As I said it is a good program, just something I can honestly finance for me right now.

    And honestly I am not sure about immediate alternatives. I still am interested in LOGOS and would likely purchase it once again in a hot minute once they add the searchable Catechism–and if they gave me even a small discount for a lot of years of loyal service. In the mean time I still have most of the same books in my original package and it is still usable.

    BTW when I used the word “alternative” I actually meant it more as an alternative viewpoint, not that I had a list of alternative programs to buy, since they are unfortunately few and far between.

    Ironicially I also purchased and paid for a great package including much of the same stuff as LOGOS but on a scaled down version, including a searchable Catechism, which I still have. It is called “Welcome to the Catholic Church,” and was put out by Harmony Media.

    A word of caution there as well, however, as it is still being sold in bookstores and on web sites but has no support anymore (at least that I can locate) and does not work on Windows 7. It had the CCC, the Church Fathers, Summa, and 2 Bibles (Rheims-Douay and NAB)and a host of other features. But now I cannot even install it and have no one to contact for assistance since the company seems to have folded with no notice! The website is still up but the phone is disconnected. So if any readers have ideas on that I would be very open to them too.

    In any case LOGOS is still a good bet since I am pretty sure they will eventually have the CCC. When they do I am there. I just feel that is a very essential part of the package and hope that they get it to happen soon.

  • http://www.almostnotcatholic.com Brent

    Thanks Richard for the info!

  • http://onlyexe.blogspot.com/ Portable Exe

    One of the best-known software companies has recently started to sell a slightly simplified version of their software in a student package, stating that this is not for commercial use. Naturally, this is being distributed to everybody without regard to their true status as student or not!

  • http://www.thinveil.net/ Brandon Vogt

    Just as a side note, I learned that LOGOS is currently in the process of adding the CCC to all their Catholic packages, and when they do it will be a free update for current users.

    Also, I will say that in terms of alternatives, the best out there is “Faith Database” which I’ve used it for a while. In terms of content, it’s got 80-90% of what Logo’s offers. And it is much cheaper (I think it was $40 when I got it). But the problem is that it’s much, much clunkier and not nearly as interwoven as the LOGOS materials. You can do a simple “search” of any of the documents in Faith Database, but they are interlinked like in LOGOS.

  • Andrew Jones

    Brandon is right about the CCC. It is Logos’s number one priority. I am hopeful it will be available very soon.

  • http://www.almostnotcatholic.com Brent

    Thanks Andrew for the “official” update

  • http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com Richard G Evans

    WOW! All I can say is GO LOGOS!!! Apparently Andrew Jones read my “mixed” review above and contacted me personally as a result. I had already decided to order anyway, especially since they have some TREMENDOUS after Christmas specials until January 2 (go visit their site folks!), but still I carried just a bit of a mixed feeling since my other experience with a particular rep or two. But then again that can happen, especially in this crazy and busy season. They have difficult jobs indeed.

    Anyway since I have been a customer since 2001 (when I had returned to evangelical Protestantism but not yet Catholicism) and had somewhat given up on using the software due to it matching less and less with my Catholic journey, I was very, very pleasantly surprised to be offered a package I could indeed live with and a little something extra besides.

    My point–they really do go out of their way to assist each individual need, and he did indeed again confirm what Brandon said above about the CCC which will be added when possible. Hopefully the USCCB will not take quite as long to approve it as they did the new Mass translaton hehe.

    Thanks Brent and Brandon for pointing me in the right direction, but then again I would expect no less from either of you, and a special thanks to Andrew Jones for taking a personal interest in my situation as a “tried and true” customer who had a bit of frustration going on. I believe this is what “going the second mile” is all about.

    I am very excited. Best Christmas present ever.