This is the golden age of computer software which is useful to the Bible expositor. With tools like BibleWorks 7.0, Logos 3 (Libronix), and Grammcord/Accordance (for Macs) there are resources that will satisfy almost any preference when it comes to serious Bible study. I started using BibleWorks around 4.0 and Logos on and off for about the last 9 years. I have friends who swear by Grammcord (but of course all Mac guys are that way). With a little help, I believe these programs can trim time off the study process (primarily through search abilities) and allow for more time in thoughtful study and reflection over the text. Starting in March I will do a regular update on various features and functions related to these Bible software programs. My goal will be to help expositors who own these programs make better use of what they have at their fingertips. I’m no expert but I have taught BibleWorks and have learned Logos from some of the best. I will also be attending a BibleWorks training seminar next month in Birmingham and then a Logos training seminar this summer. I will try to relay what I learn here and pass on items that are useful to expositors (please feel free to share your ideas here as well).
For my tastes, Logos has only recently come into a realm that is helpful for doing real exegetical work. I know Logos aficionados will disagree but much of what has been called “exegetical tools” in Logos has really been subpar compared to more powerful exegetical programs. The strength of Logos is that it is a library tool where you can store hundreds of helpful reference works from dictionaries to commentaries. These can be interlinked and are easily searchable (more about all that in a future post). But I thought there were thousands of titles in Logos? There are, but the majority of the titles that come with the various packages (or add-ons) are worthless when it comes to exposition of Scripture (however everyone has their own likes/dislikes). Logos does seem to be working hard in their software development but it’s not as intuitive as some would have you believe. I do think it is an amazingly strong product but when it comes to the languages, BibleWorks does everything but polish the pulpit. BibleWorks 7.0 is a vast improvement over earlier versions and is the best for Greek/Hebrew language work (in Windows). It’s not perfect but it is way up there when it comes to exegetical research capabilities. I use both programs but I’m also one of those types who refuses to become a slave to the computer.
All of this means I want to spend my time making it all work for me and my purposes and not be wowed by the pretty colors and PR campaigns coming out of various companies. Those who work for the software companies will tell you that their product is the best but the benefit of having competition is that you don’t have to take their word for it. Every preacher has to decide what works best for him in the style that he has developed in the study. So the first lesson is don’t let someone else’s methods of software use dictate how you study and even more don’t let someone who is paid by a particular company tell you what you need (we usually call that “conflict of interest”). I will be writing more about this soon. Stay tuned.