Bible Study Resources: BibleWorks vs. Logos, Revisited

I’ve been greatly blessed to have received free copies of both Logos and BibleWorks Bible research software. Both were given to me to review on this blog. I like them both — a lot.

But I’ve recently been forced to make a choice. You see, I decided to buy the Bauer-Danker Greek-English Lexicon (or “BDAG,” as it’s known about Greek students).This is the ultimate biblical Greek language resource, and I had some Christmas money left over — and I just couldn’t stand not having it.

It’s available from Amazon, Logos, and BibleWorks for about the same price. But Logos and BibleWorks don’t read each other’s documents, and thus a choice was forced.

I decided to go with a software version. It’s just too cool to be able to link each word in the Bible with the Greek dictionary. It’s really better than a hard copy. But which version?

After weeks of reflection (it’s a $150 investment!), I ultimately decided to go with BibleWorks. Here’s why –

* BibleWorks loads faster — 6.4 seconds vs. 28.6 seconds. And BibleWorks loads to a working page, whereas Logos loads to a marketing page. And plays music when it loads. And I want to decide what music my computer plays.

I just can’t stand waiting nearly 30 seconds just to open the program. I have a quad-core computer!

* BibleWorks finds what I need faster. It can load a verse within a second after I type the reference in, along with automatic links to each dictionary, each commentary, cross-references, commentaries, the Early Church Fathers, etc. It finds the resources faster than I can move my hand from my mouse to my keyboard.

Logos is a lot slower. It takes about 15 seconds to load Psalm 23 and its associated resources. It takes another mouse click and then about another 5 seconds to load the dictionary references.

I can find, read, and copy the reference I need from BibleWorks faster than Logos takes to load the resources to my screen.

* Now, both programs have their advantages and disadvantages. Both have their fair share of annoyances and brilliant features.

I once compared the two to a Jeep vs. a Lexus. I’m not sure that’s right. A Lexus does not lack acceleration. Logos does. Logos has more features than BibleWorks, but BibleWorks is just more practical for what I need.

I’m trying to think of a better comparison. How about — Logos is a like a beautiful woman who takes too long to get ready. Would you be proud to have her on your arm? Absolutely. Do you mind waiting a little longer so that she’ll look great? Well, a little longer. But making you wait too long is just rude.

(There is nothing inherent in the program that requires such slow load times. There’s a programming flaw in there somewhere.)

I continue to be bothered by BibleWorks’ lack of a back button (please, oh, please add one!) and it’s refusal to save a layout the way I want it (how hard could this be?). But speed and intuitive access to tons of resources? It’s the better choice for me.

(For a more detailed comparison, see this series.)

Avatar of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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8 Responses to Bible Study Resources: BibleWorks vs. Logos, Revisited

  1. “(There is nothing inherent in the program that requires such slow load times. There’s a programming flaw in there somewhere.)”

    Jay – I am curious about how you know this.

  2. Jay Guin says:

    Dwayne,

    It’s not complicated.

    1. A similar — maybe greater — number of resources pop up in BibleWorks much, much more quickly.

    2. Logos runs lengthy indexing routines when first installed and as updated. And yet despite being indexed, it takes half a minute to list the references to Psalm 23 — not a complex search at all for an indexed Bible resource database running on a quad-core computer with ample RAM.

    3. I run indexing software on my own databases, and they’re much faster even when searching huge databases and performing much more complex searches.

    Even with the pretty graphics and sound files and all, it just shouldn’t be that slow.

  3. Hector says:

    Hi Jay. I am a Logos user and I love it. There is a way to disable the initial music during start-up. This might prove helpful when trying to speed up the program. I have an Intel i5 Processor with 6 GB off RAM and it runs smoothly on my desktop. I have been considering upgrading my laptop computer to an MSATA Solid State Drive instead of the regular hard disk. I had a friend who did it and Logos runs incredibly fast. I hope you find my suggestion helpful. Thanks for your post

  4. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hector,

    Thanks for the suggestions, but I just can’t bring myself to buy a new computer just to run a Bible research problem. BibleWorks runs licketysplit on my computer as is.

    That solid state drive would be a nice though …

  5. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I had been at a loss in attempting to validate much of the presentations of a certain preacher. It was almost impossible to interconnect information that he was presenting in sermons with any study sources that I had which included the Bible software Quickverse through version 6 and Logos 3. Even in Google searches his information was not making connections that were valuable to an understanding if his communications. I finally found out that his source of information was this (WONDERFUL BOOK) BDAG, after Googling this I found the powerpoint by Rodney Decker. This still did not help me to follow him, I saw such complexity in this book which I would not pay the price for because I thought I certainly would have to spend the rest of my life attempting to learn how to use it to an advantage. I had already seen the effects of attempting to use it as reference in sermons to the general public, who could never comprehend lessons from it. It seems that the total purpose of his was to prove that his knowledge and resources were so superior to anyone that he was speaking to, that no one would ever attempt to doubt a single word he stated. It has been very hard for me to grasp information from men that delve this deeply into studies to attempt to learn what God has written for us. God wrote to the people that became his followers, the common people, very basic education and they are intended to understand the messages in the Bible. I fully believe the phrase, “A word in the scriptures means what it means in the context in which it is used”, referencing that individual words have several different meanings according to the modifiers surrounding them, ie: the context. I believe that this book attempts to distort many of the actual meanings of words to limit the amount of variations available in understanding the text. We appreciate your comments.

    PS: I did not find the actual path to where I located this powerpoint.

    BDAG Introduction Class
    Introducing … BDAG3
    Rodney J. Decker, Th.D.
    Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
    See note on last slide.
    More info & materials at:
    Note from last slide
    Please note that this material is designed to accompany a class lecture and is not complete in itself. It has been made available as a general guide that may be of interest to beginning Greek students. There is nothing new here for veterans. You are welcome to use it as you see fit, though please remember that it is a copyrighted production and may not be published or used for financial profit. Nor may it be modified or adapted in any way. There is a lengthy written introduction to the use of BDAG which supplements this material on the related web site: . Also see appendix A in my book, A Koine Greek Reader: Selections from the NT, LXX, and Early Christian Writers (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007). For more info on the book, see .

  6. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    BDAG is considered the most authoritative dictionary of NT Greek presently in existence. But, as you note, dictionary definitions are but one of many elements of proper exegesis — and can certainly be abused.

    In fact, I’ve often observed the use of a smidgen of Greek knowledge to intimidate others. Of course, there’s a time and place for reference to the Greek. After all, God chose to inspire the NT writers to write in Greek. But it should be used sparingly and only when the Greek adds something not already evident in the translation.

    The link to the BDAG introductory powerpoint you mention is http://ntresources.com/blog/?page_id=2526

  7. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Readers,

    The links to both the .ppt and .pdf formats for this material are broken due to the author’s relocation to a new blog provider. Presumably they’ll be fixed at some point.

  8. Alabama John says:

    No one understands Greek better than a Greek.
    How many Greeks believe exactly as we do? Or, how many of us believe exactly like the Greeks?

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