To clarify what is probably already clear, I'm neither arguing with nor disputing Phil. Particularly on the subject of e-Sword, which is an absolutely amazing program, considering that it's freeware. For many believers, that program is all they'll ever need.
My backstory is not as technical as Phil's. It's about how I've used hard-copy Bibles. Since I was a new believer, I always wanted Bibles with margins roomy enough to allow my notes. The first was a wide-margin KJV from Oxford. Later, I got a wide-margin Greek New Testament which I had re-bound in leather.
However, the two I used most extensively were that Greek NT, and my NAS Ryrie Study Bible. I made marginal notes of varying kinds, but perhaps most were entering in some or all of the Hebrew or Greek text into the margin.
Or course, the troubles were several:
- There was only so much room
- I could only write (and read) so small; and
- Every time I got a new Bible, I had to start over
- Economical. The amount of material you get for the one price is simple amazing. Check it out. Plus, there have been additional free updates. All of this is for the basic full-version price of $349. For most, that package would be sufficient, but there are a score of additional modules available.
- Fast. What BW does, it does well-nigh instantaneously. I just upgraded my pc significantly. Additional RAM, CPU power, and a dedicated video card all have made my Logos a good bit spiffier. But BibleWorks? It was already really fast. It starts up faster... and that's about it. To be much faster, it would have to do the searches before I knew I wanted them. My point is that BW8 runs great on top-line pc's, but also runs great on aged pc's. You don't need to get the latest and greatest hardware to make BW8 hop and pop. It pretty much floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. Seriously: enter a word, and bang! there's every occurrence. Click on one. Push a button. Bang! You see that verse in every version you want. Go to the Hebrew. Mouse-over a word, bam! Up pops a window with full parsing and basic definition. Right click a word. Select search on lemma. Bang! there's every use of that word in the Hebrew text. I could go on and on, but it's amazingly powerful and fast.
- Notes. This is probably the single aspect that most has my heart. You know how you'll hear something great in a sermon, or read it in a book (or on a blog), or hear it in a conversation — something that sheds significant light on a verse or passage? Then two days later, it's gone? Doesn't have to be. BibleWorks makes it possible to make extended notes, in any font, with any hyperlinking, on any verse. With graphics. Move to another verse, and your notes are instantly saved. Go back to that verse — even just point your mouse at it — and your notes instantly display. I now have countless, countless notes on hundreds of verses, from my own observations, sermons, books, hymns, web sites, conversations, studies — all permanently stored in conjunction with my BW8. Get a laptop? New pc? No problem: just copy your Notes folder to a flash drive, then copy from there to your new device, and you can take up where you left off.
- No, really, notes! I love that feature so much, it deserves a second entry. My notes contain excerpts from Bible journals, anecdotes, textbooks, grammars, pictures, maps, and personal reflections that would otherwise have been lost. Now they're just there, in a flash. I use this in conjunction with Logos, copying what I find (with a great expenditure of time) there into the BW8 notes, for lightning-fast access when I need it. This feature alone sells me.
- Editor. In addition to the verse-by-verse notes, there's a fully-functional editor. So if you're doing a word-study, or a book-study, you can drag the Hebrew or Greek (or English or Spanish or whatever) into the Editor to build your document.
- Dedicated, responsive support. The BibleWorks forum is constantly monitored by the geniuses who create and maintain BW. When a problem crops up, they're on it like an Emergent on a frappé, and the next day's update will fix it. Bug fixes don't wait for months, they're sent out as they occur. Plus, email tech support is also always thoroughly and courteously responsive.
- This! Seriously! How could I not?
Unlike Phil, I don't have an iPad. I do have an iPhone, and on it, I never use Logos. It's simply too slow and unwieldy. Instead, I use Olive Tree's iPhone software. It's fast, powerful, intuitive, very nicely done.
here, for instance). But they are always having sales, plus there is community pricing and pre-publication pricing.
The aim of the two programs is different. BibleWorks is all about the text of Scripture, while Logos is a broader research tool. BibleWorks is like having a roomy desk with Biblical texts and exegetical tools right at hand. Logos is like having a fully-stocked library. Ideally, one should have both.
I do use Logos continually, and will enjoy it all the more now with the faster computer. But BibleWorks will remain my mainstay.
I think every pastor should have BibleWorks. If yours doesn't, it would make a terrific Christmas gift. I used part of a bonus once to give BW to a pastor I thought very well of, who was struggling by with GRAMCORD. He was bowled over. Is $349 too much for your wallet? Talk to the deacons or someone, and start a whisper-campaign to get the dough together, and do your whole church a favor by giving the pastor BibleWorks.
In sum: I respect, recommend, am grateful for and use Logos, and don't have a word of argument with anyone who loves and praises it.
But I love BibleWorks.