Bible Study Software: To buy, or not to buy, and if to buy, which to buy

Accordance, or Logos. That is the question.



One of the perks of having slaved away over a hot computer over the holidays in my holiday job (more on that later) is that I can afford to invest in some Bible study software that will hopefully make my attempts to grapple with Greek, Hebrew, and essay writing, a little bit easier.

There are three options out there (fourth if you include just using the interwebs).

I’ve basically ruled out BibleWorks – because getting it to work on a Mac requires clunky parallel operating systems and I pretty much flat out refuse to do that – why would I go back to an inferior operating system? If I were a Windows user I may well go with it – because it has the benefit of being a cheap and easy language parser. But, because I’m a superficial marketing driven purchaser I can’t get past the ugly website and shoddy looking, WIndows 95esque user interface.

Next option, by price, is Accordance – and specifically the Scholars Premier + Library Premier option, currently on special for $599. Now. Accordance is designed for Mac. But I don’t like its website. It was designed for language work, and kind of tagged on the library stuff later. Twitter loves it. I put a call out yesterday and almost every response I got (possibly because the @accordance account retweeted my tweet) was in favour of Accordance.

 

The option I’m currently leaning towards is Logos. Logos just looks schmick. And it has multiplatform support in built. And the ability to add module after module of good stuff. Accordance has modules as well – but it doesn’t have the same publishing base (as far as I can tell) that Logos obviously offers. The base level Scholars pack is $629. It just looks schmick too. And as a marketer I like that. It looks like a Bible software package marketed by Apple, rather than made for Apple.

 

My college principal, a Mac user, uses Accordance, while possibly the widest reading lecturer at college uses Logos. Both have suggested their product of choice is a good choice.

Should I flip a coin?

Some helpful links if you’re facing this decision:

Arthur wrote a good little post pondering the merits of these packages here. There’s a lot of bloat – but the bloat might be useful if ever I do decide to pursue further study (a possible option in my mind).

This Ligonier comparison is worth a read too.

21 Comments Bible Study Software: To buy, or not to buy, and if to buy, which to buy

  1. roger fitz

    hey nath.

    I wonder if you’ve thought about how/if whatever programme you choose will work with [or not with] your mobile device of choice …

    roj

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Yeah. Both Accordance and Logos seem to work pretty nicely with the iOS operating system – so they’ll work well with my current and future iPhones and my iPad 2 when I buy it (that’s the other thing this summer job is raising funds for).

  2. Daniel Saunders

    Nathan,

    Logos works like a truck going up the Great Dividing Range on my Macbook (2010 model). Yes, it’s great for an electronic library (if that’s your thing – but it’s not kindle compatible), but all of its bells and whistles means that it’s just very sluggish.

    On the other hand, Accordance just flies.

    My bias is currently against the electronic books things – except for reference books. So I just use logos for some reference books, and Accordance for everything Greek/Hebrew (bibles, lexicons etc).

  3. Stuart

    Nathan,

    I’ve been using Accordance on my MacBook for 3-4 years & I’m very happy with it for straight Bible & language work. Quick to load & fast, comprehensive searching.

    I purposely steered away from Logos at the time due to a poor experience [sluggish to load & use; not liking the interface; etc] with a basic Logos install on my previous Win laptop. I can’t comment on its current offering as I haven’t experienced it in action lately & never on a Mac.

    Stu

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Thanks Stu. Everybody comments on Accordance’s speed. Which is interesting. It must be pretty noticeably different.

  4. Daniel

    Just thought of a big pro for Logos. I’m pretty sure that with Logos, your licensed to install the software + books on as many computers as you own. So you can install the program on your laptop, your wife’s laptop, and a desktop computer at home (running Windows or OS X) and you can access all your bibles, books, and tools (as long as you login with the same account everywhere).

    On the other hand, I think Accordance has a more traditional license, where you can only install the software on one machine at a time.

  5. David Lang

    Nathan, I would recommend you lean in favor of the best engineered program rather than the best marketed one. If you do that, the choice is clearly Accordance. Accordance is designed for Mac, and does not rely on Microsoft technologies like .NET. It is therefore incredibly fast, stable, and powerful. Accordance is designed to keep all its bells and whistles in the background until you need them, so I think on first inspection some people assume Logos “does more.” Yet I find myself frequently amazed at all the features Accordance users take for granted that no one else offers.

    I’m also intrigued by your impression that Accordance was “designed for language work, and kind of tagged on the library stuff later.” Accordance was indeed designed for language work, but we began adding secondary resources as early as version 2, released in 1996. So Accordance was also designed to offer instant access to a large library of secondary resources. In fact, we offer many resources no one else has, and our multi-field searching is actually the most flexible way to search large reference works without getting tons of extraneous hits.

    I think you’ll find that if you examine things further, Accordance is by far the “schmickest” Bible program available. :-)

    Sincerely,
    David Lang
    Accordance Development

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Hi David,

      Thanks for commenting – I’m wondering if you could comment on Daniel’s comment (which I’ve just moderated at the same time as I approved yours) – is it true that I’d only get a license for one of our computers? My wife is also at college (seminary).

      That comment about Accordance’s origins may be hearsay, so I’m happy to have it corrected. Thanks for taking the time to comment – though I think in fairness I’m now going to have to post the email that the Logos development team sent me in the comments here for balance…

  6. David Lang

    Nathan,

    Daniel is mistaken. Our license allows you to install Accordance on as many computers and iOS devices as you own. If you were a pastor and your wife were working full time in some ministry position and you were both using Accordance simultaneously all the time, then we would expect you to buy a second copy for her, but short of that, we have no problem with you both using Accordance on any devices you own.

    David Lang
    Accordance Development

  7. Dan Pritchett

    Nathan, go ahead and flip a coin.

    I’m not saying “flip a coin” because Accordance and Logos are two sides of the same coin, I’m just suggesting it makes for a more dramatic follow-up blog post, and I like marketing too! ;-)

    Seriously now… as you know, the best thing about any Bible software is its ability to get you into the Word. Clearly all the options you are contemplating have their loyal fans, so I’d surmise there are a lot of great ways to study the Bible out there.

    Pick the option you feel would motivate you to be in the Word more, and to get more out of it. Whether that is from daily devotionals, ease of use, Bible reading plans integrated with your iPhone, training videos, great tools, integration and availability of your favorite books, features that take you deeper, a schmick interface that makes you feel you should hang around and spend more time in your favorite software/books… whatever it is for you. Find what motivates you to be in the Word and go with that.

    I could talk all day about why Logos Bible Software is great, and I am sure someone from Accordance could do the same, but no matter how objective we try to be, it is hard not to love our own babies. In other words, employees of the respective companies are going to award their own baby the “cutest baby award” and aren’t the most objective candidates to talk about the “competition” in any category. :-)

    No matter which option you choose, I trust it will take you deeper and help you get into the Word!

    So go ahead and flip that coin, I can’t wait to read the follow-up blog post!

    Dan Pritchett
    Vice President, Sales & Marketing
    Logos Bible Software

    PS. Hey man, how come Accordance gets that sweet, sweet top graphic placement? Where’s the love? ;-)

    1. Daniel Saunders

      This counts as the best. response. ever. If I didn’t prefer Accordance, I would buy Logos on the basis of this philosophy from their marketing department (though I’m sure you’d hear the same thing from their competitors too).

  8. R. Mansfield

    I have both Logos and Accordance. Both are good programs that have their strengths and weaknesses, but I use Accordance for my heavy lifting. I turn to Accordance first teaching prep work, dissertation work and personal Bible study. Like others have noted, Accordance is considerably faster on the Mac, but I also find that doing the same kinds of tasks often takes fewer steps in Accordance.

    One of Logos’ big strengths is its vast library. I bought one of the larger Logos packages and don’t overly regret it, but if I had it all to do over with, I wish I had invested the money in more Accordance titles and merely purchased the occasional “Logos-only” title on an as-need basis. Since the Logos engine is free, it would be easy enough to invest in Accordance and buy Logos titles occasionally if they aren’t available in Accordance.

    From the way I read the licenses, both Logos and Oak Tree/Accordance have similar allowances and restrictions. The way I understand it, if both you and your spouse are using the software in a “professional” manner, you need to get two licenses.

  9. Arthur

    “Accordance doesn’t have the same publishing base that Logos obviously offers.”

    That’s the bundling talking, innit? What titles do you want that you can’t find on Accordance?

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Arthur,

      From my perusing of both websites, Logos just seems heaps easier to add stuff you actually want (in individual lots). Like single books, or commentary series. Accordance either doesn’t present its equal ability well on its site, or they don’t have the same ability to easily add specific titles to a library.

      That’s what I was actually swayed by. That and the 30% discount Logos offer students – from what I could gather online from Accordance – the discount they offer is only 10%.

      1. Rick Bennett

        For those that may still read this, it is actually very easy to add individual titles to Accordance. Simply add it to your cart from our site (or call sales), purchase, and sync via Easy Install. No unlock codes or discs (except a few titles we resell on media per the publisher).

        Also, fwiw, our discount is a non-inflated discount (my term there). Meaning, we sell things at a set price which trust me is always carefully set, and offer the same academic discount to all our users whether students or big name profs. With logos you can get anywhere from a 15-25% discount from a number websites (search and see); so the 30% is not much different than our 10%.

        We also offer higher discounts at conferences and seminars (usually 15-20%), and for you Aussies we’ll be there for several free seminars next month.

        Nathan, I hope you enjoy your software and it serves it’s purpose well. Keep us in mind in the future, and download our free iOS app if you’d like. :-)

        1. Nathan Campbell

          Hi Rick,

          Thanks again for clearing up misunderstandings. And for contributing to this discussion.

          I think there’s a very real possibility that I’ll end up getting Accordance for language work anyway. But given the Logos discount I was able to pick up the Silver Scholars pack for the price I’d budgeted this time around. And I can run it on my home desktop PC as well as my Mac laptop (which was another clincher).

          1. Rick Bennett

            Glad I could contribute. I do admit that the PC emulator we offer is not the most elegant solution for PC users, but there are a number of users that use this. We actually have a one at Hebrew University who has taught a course on Accordance using a Dell!

  10. Dan Pritchett

    Rick, I’m glad you brought this up, I never would have known about the sites you are referring to, because we are the only place to get Logos, and I already have it ;-) so I would never have thought to search for 25% off Logos! Good catch!

    You could really help if you would be so kind as to forward me the URLs for the 25% off Logos sites. I can’t imagine where that is happening, but I definitely want to look into this. Perhaps they are pirated copies?

    We don’t actually have any distribution or retailers now, so we are the only place to get the software. If someone is selling our products for 25% off, I’d really like to know about that.

    Please send me an email: dan@logos.com and I will do what I can to make sure that those sites are looked into.

    Thanks!

    1. Rick Bennett

      Hi Dan,

      I don’t believe we’ve met personally; maybe in passing at SBL. I appreciated your initial comment here.

      Allow me to clarify…I was not referring to resellers, but websites which offer a ‘referral’ discount (again my term; not sure what you call it officially). A few that come to mind are the PCA, SBL, and Resurgence, but I’ve seen others from time-to-time on Twitter. Of those I mentioned the discount ranges from 15-25%, but the norm is probably 15%. The 25% discount is through SBL, which admittedly requires a membership ($40/yr for students). And now that I attempted to login to the SBL’s site and find the actual page at Logos, it shows as not found…so either the discount isn’t offered any longer (which if so, the SBL site needs to be updated) or your page is down.

      I hope this helps to clarify things.

      Best,

      Rick

  11. Nathan Campbell

    Funny thing I just noticed when scrolling down the page on my blog and looking at the two images (I added one for Logos) from the respective websites of each package. Both use the words “right for you” in their marketing pitch.

    Accordance: Designed for Mac. Trusted by scholars. Right for you

    Logos: Find out which package is right for you

    Is this deliberate?

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