Posted on Dec 13, 2011
If the first several posts in this series have you considering the purchase of Bible study software, you’re probably wondering which package to invest in. I’m familiar with only two: Logos and Accordance. I’ve been told that Olive Tree is another good option, but I’m not in a position to comment on it. I’ll speak only of what I know. This review is based on downloaded review copies of the software provided by each company.
If you’re running on Windows system, my first recommendation would be to go buy a Mac—but you weren’t asking for that kind of advice, were you? Accordance runs only on Mac, so you can take Logos as my recommendation. I’ve enjoyed working with Logos. It’s been around a long time, it has as many modules and resources available as you could ever dream of using; so if it were the only Bible application available, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to use it, with great thankfulness for its flexibility, size, and features. It does everything I could ask of a software package of its type.
If you use a Macintosh computer, then you are blessed with a choice. Accordance’s one great advantage is that, unlike Logos, it was made for the Mac from the beginning. Many other benefits flow from that first one. I can illustrate the difference between the two with this screen shot from Logos. To print my study notes, I don’t find Print command under the File menu in the menu bar. Instead I find it (which too some considerable exploration the first time) by clicking on a blue notebook-ish icon in my Notes window tab. The preference pane is quite un-Mac-like, too (screenshot).
These software packages are large and complex. They have multiple purposes and multiple functions. They’re not as challenging as the statistical software that I spent a semester of grad school learning, but they still have a learning curve. I have had repeated occasions of wondering, “Now where will I find … ?” Those occasions have been considerably more frequent, and they have taken longer to resolve, on Logos.
That’s not just because Accordance’s interface is more Mac-like, by the way. It’s also because its demo videos, which the developers have made easy to find on their website, work well for training, too. I watched some of these short videos three or four times to help me learn how to learn to use the full features of Accordance.
I spent a long time hunting down something similar for Logos. Eventually I found something like it, but it was a longer hunt, and what I found was not quite as clearly usable. Even now as I write this I’m not quite sure where I found those Logos videos, which is why I’m not linking to them here. I’m speaking now of my own experience. Maybe some other Logos users will tell me I missed something obvious.
Serious Logos students will be glad to know, however, that the company offers frequent two-day intensive training seminars. That would be quite worthwhile, I’m sure. In fact I’m inclined to think that such training might make Logos more attractive in the end than Accordance because of its larger package offerings, but only for certain students: those who find vast quantities of materials (as in Accordance), and want massively vast quantities instead.
It’s also worth noting that Accordance loads quicker than Logos, and its default home screen is really focused on getting to work on Bible study. Logos’s home screen is a mix of study resources, news, and advertisement for other Logos resources.
The difference between Logos and Accordance is not in the magnitude of the libraries you can obtain through them. Logos offers more than Accordance, but Accordance offers more than you’re ever likely to need (or find time to use), so the difference between the two is of little importance. The package you choose will depend on your budget and your needs. Both Logos and Accordance offer multiple options as base packages, and you can add individual items or bundles on top of those base packages.
There are other interface differences between the two besides these that I have noted. Logos offers some ancillary services like Bible reading plans and a prayer journal. You’ll want to take your own look at details like these before you purchase.
Finally, both Logos and Accordance offer free mobile applications. Which materials (either Logos or Accordance) you can access on your phone or iPad will depend on how much you have purchased to use on your computer. On my iPhone I found both applications to be usable, though there again I have a definite preference for Accordance, for reasons I will save for later. Logos has an Android app; Accordance does not. (I can’t comment on their iPad apps unless one of you kind readers wants to send me an iPad to test them on .)
In summary, I’m not advising against Logos for Windows users by any means. For the Mac, though, my preference is clear.