The Word of God is the most important tool that we have to for life. It opens the door to understanding the truth of all subjects that God has chosen to reveal to humans. Even more so, it offers a perspective that covers all of eternity from past through the present and into the future. No other resources is as comprehensive as Scripture. With such a valuable resource available to us, it is inherent that we make the best use of it.
Built upon that premise, I have found it important and necessary to look at the varying tools we have to aide us in our personal Bible study. It is a task that I have taken on for the last month by systematically working through the resources available to us. In line with the web-based Bibles and their accompanying resources that I shared two weeks ago, I find it a worthwhile use of our time to look at some of the available and most well-known apps.
Logos is a powerhouse of an application that has made itself known as the premier tool for Bible scholars of any level. With an abundance of resources, the staff of Logos have added value by working diligently to create potent tools.
The Pros: The advantage of logos are the tools that users have. One can search all available resources with a variety of criteria. Word studies and usage are made easier with this. Added to the value is the ability to find helpful articles and resources from your library on your study area. This is aided by the note taking tools installed within the application.
The Cons: First it can be complicated. There are plenty of resources to help you navigate, but you must be willing to put in the effort. Second, the sheer expense of Logos makes it prohibitive for many people. While I am appreciative of the volume of resources that Logos makes available to users, sometimes the sheer cost makes it worthwhile to use something cheaper like Kindle (if the resource is available). While Kindle doesn’t have the same tagging and searching capabilities, certain resources may not need this as much. The cost of Logos makes it a worthwhile tool geared towards those in full-time ministry. Don’t get me wrong. It’s got great value and if you will utilize it to even a small degree, then it may be worth it.
2) Bible Works:
Bible Works has offered itself as an alternative to Logos by building focusing on one area and focusing on it well: word studies.
The Pros: Significantly cheaper than Logos, Bible Works focuses primarily on languages. Logos does well on this, but Bible Works does it better. With hundreds of translations and varying languages and texts, it is a wonderful tool that will help you in exegeting the text from the original language.
The Cons: While the cost is minimal, it does not come with the wide array of resources that Logos seems to have. As a result, it does not have quite the same capabilities.
YouVersion is not so much of a Bible study application as much as it is a Bible reading app. It makes the Bible available to people around the world in their language both in a personal reading or a personal listening format.
The Pros: You Version is wonderful simply because it makes the Bible available. It comes in a variety of languages and even many of those languages have a variety of translations. That availability is accentuated more by the fact that it is available across a large number of electronic platforms. Even more, the cost to use it is free; this makes it a valuable resource for everyone to download.
The Cons: YouVersion does not come with the same availability of resources. Because this is not the focus of the app, it can hardly be considered a con, but is worth noting if you want something more.
Accordance is not quite as well known as some of the others, although it has been around for as long as any of them (longer than most I believe?).
The Pros: Accordance is beautifully laid out and brings forth an appealing quality that is unmatched by some of the others. It offers uniqueness in that it seems to have better developed resources and incorporation of many of the ancient texts.
The Cons: While the cost is minimal, in order to get the best use of the resources one must buy the ultimate package, which will set you back over $1200. No small investment. In many ways, this cost is cheaper than Logos, but the comprehensiveness lacks.
5) Olive Tree:
Before offering up opinions on Olive Tree, it is important that I share my limited interaction with Olive Tree. While i Have used the other resources to other one degree or another, my understanding of Olive Tree is limited to my own research and the input of those that I personally know who have used it.
Olive Tree is a full platform for one’s personal Bible study. It incorporates various tools and resources and allows a person to make highlights, notes, etc. and maintain them for future reference. The setup of this software makes it most beneficial for personal Bible study.
The Pros: Olive Tree allows you the opportunity to build your library from the ground up. This is nice because it requires less of an initial investment, but can cost more over time. The availability of resources makes it a worthwhile look for one to consider its use.
The Cons: Unfortunately it does not have the same capabilities and functions like the others. However, the setup for those not in full-time ministry makes it worthwhile for those focused on personal growth.
These five apps and platforms form the most well-known Bible study applications available for offline use. Each offers its varying benefits and is geared towards a specific focus. Like any tool we have covered over the last several weeks, choosing the best is dependent upon choosing what is right for your needs.
Bible study is crucial to the Christian life. As each of us seeks to grow in our Christian life, it is my hope that we would endeavor to surround ourselves with the tools that would best enable to us to learn and grow. May these platforms help you in just that.
To consider others tools and resources available to you in your personal Bible study, consider the previous articles published as part of the “Effective Resources for Bible Study” series:
2) The Tools
3) The Bible