A Word from Your BCC Team: Frequently on weekends we like to highlight and link to resources for biblical counselors. This weekend we’re highlighting an excellent review by biblical counselor Kyle Johnston of Logos 6 with a specific focus on how biblical counselors can benefit from it.
Logos Bible Software is brilliant. Logos 6, with its amazing features, is a phenomenal research program, and I am extremely grateful to God for giving those involved the vision for it, as well as the ability to produce it.
The sixth version was released late last year (2014), and as Logos seems to be growing increasingly popular, we thought it would be helpful to review its usefulness (and limitations)—especially for biblical counselors.
So, is Logos a tool that biblical counselors should consider investing in?
What is Logos 6?
Simply put, Logos 6 is all about delivering insight into the biblical text. Logos Bible Software helps you open up the Bible. It does this through a number of features: powerful search tools that yield the specific kind of information you might want, artistic media depicting biblical places and events (which helps you visualize the biblical world), impressive language assistance when it comes to studying the Greek and Hebrew words, the wonderful ability to compare commentaries or textual variants, and much, much more.
Logos 6 has more features than ever, and it really is an enormous help in opening up the Bible. So this software most certainly aids you in understanding the biblical text, but Logos has also made other books available for you to purchase and download, and add to your electronic library. In fact, you can specifically purchase a number of counseling book collections if you desire to develop a counseling library.
Because biblical counselors are striving to be proficient theologians, Logos 6 is very useful because it can be a tool that helps you grow in your understanding of the Bible. Through purchasing other books, Logos can also help you grow in your knowledge of other counseling-related issues (though, that will depend on the library you develop). In fact, just because of my base package, as well as discounts on books that I’ve noticed, I have read a number of counseling titles I would not otherwise have come across. And so, because Logos promotes learning both theology and counseling, it can be extremely helpful for those seeking to practice biblical counseling.
One of the things I have personally appreciated about Logos (I’ve been using it since its 4th version) is how using the software has fostered a greater desire in me to do more thorough research. It has made me want to go deeper into the text, as well as read more widely when it comes to researching a topic. The more I have used Logos, the more adept I have become at using its features, and the more I have appreciated its ability to deliver insight.
On a slightly more practical note, I’ll share one cool presentation feature that I have sometimes used in pastoral counseling. Logos has a visual copy tool, where you can put a verse or quote onto a colorful background so that the text really pops. This is fantastic for highlighting a verse during a counseling session, or for emailing to a counselee afterwards as a “memory verse” assignment.
So, should biblical counselors use Logos 6? Yes, absolutely!
But in order to provide more than an unqualified endorsement, I’ll mention some of its costs and limitations, before drawing a conclusion.
The Costs and Limitations of Logos 6
The most obvious and significant cost of Logos 6 (especially for those who live in countries where the currency is far weaker than the powerful US dollar) is financial. But this critique is fairly nuanced: Logos is not cheap, but one does get a large selection of books for what one buys. It is certainly cheaper for me to build commentary collections via Logos than by ordering physical books from the US or UK. So, although obtaining Logos 6 may not be initially cheap, I do think that one can build a library for less over time. Additionally, users get a free book every month, as well as birthday vouchers and other opportunities to win books. In that way, Logos may actually be a more economical option when it comes to developing your library. But it does require an initial cost, and that is a real barrier to entry for many.
The other cost, as others have noted, is the amount of training required to really use Logos to its potential. I’ve been using Logos for a few years now, and I am still growing in my understanding of how to maximize its usefulness. Sadly, many just use Logos as an electronic library, but it really is so much more. However, one’s ability to use it well really depends on learning how to use the tools most effectively—and that takes time. So, if you get Logos, it’s worth trying to budget some time every week to learning the features—so that is a bit of a time cost.
Logos is also limited in terms of the books it has. Wonderfully, it has a lot of fantastic commentaries and academic theological books—which, in my opinion, are the most valuable kind of books because they help you understand the biblical text. It also has a wide range of counseling books from a variety of counseling perspectives. However, in my opinion, their Biblical Counseling collection is not particularly strong. In my view, it lacks a number of important titles, and so I have not purchased it. Many of the New Growth Press titles related to Biblical Counseling have not yet appeared. Thankfully, they do have the Journal of Biblical Counseling, but apart from that, there’s not a huge amount available in Logos format. I would really love to see more of Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tim Chester, Ed Welch, Tim Lane, etc. in Logos format. Perhaps an updated Biblical Counseling Collection will appear sometime?
If they can afford it, I would encourage biblical counselors to invest in Logos Bible Software. It’s good to be aware of the financial cost and the required training time commitment, as well as being cognizant of the fact that you may not be able to get all the books you want in Logos format. However, even in the light of those costs and limitations, it really is an absolutely fantastic research tool. I use it daily in pastoral ministry, whether for counseling or research, and I am glad to warmly commend it to others.