Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A question of Bible Software

I’ve been thinking this year about investing in some bible software, and here are some thoughts as I think out loud...

My big questions are about value and money. While at seminary, I picked up Bibleworks 6, which I still use, though far from its full potential. To be honest, I mainly use it to bring up Greek/Hebrew texts and cut and paste them into word documents. Occasionally I’ll use it for some comparisons or translating.

The two alternatives are Logos, and Bibleworks Version 8.

Logos has a large number of things going for it – my wife and I intend to go overseas in 2-3 years for mission work, in a seminary-training capacity, and so access to a personal academic library is exactly the kind of thing I will need. Electronic versions of commentary series, such as BECNT, NIGTC, etc., would be of real monetary and practical value. Furthermore, things like the work on Migne’s patristic texts will be invaluable for my future research.

The downside is cost. I do not earn a great deal in my current capacity, am unlikely to gain great sums of money in the near future, and will have to fund any such purchases straight out of my own pocket. The base packages of Logos material are full of huge amounts of worthless junk (to me that is), but then to buy individual books, like single bible translations, then becomes inordinately expensive. Moreover, texts such as Migne range in the hundreds, hundreds I will find hard to find and justify.

Bibleworks has a much lower scope of usefulness, in terms of academic/personal library. I am pleased to see the inclusion of the Early Church Fathers ANF/NPNF series included in the latest version, and costwise, the upgrade from 6 to 8 would almost certainly be worth it based on the new inclusions.

In the end, I suspect I will have to go down the Logos line sooner or later. It’s just some large up-front costs to get what I do want, and a lot of packaging of things I probably don’t, and the daunting reality of funding my own academia when I’m more and more cut off from quality libraries.

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