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5 Factors To Consider When Choosing Bible Software

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Consider your focus, needed features, and budget when choosing Bible study software

I remember lugging around my backpack full of lecture notes, commentaries, my laptop, and flashcards while studying for a Master’s in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College. It was tough enough to try to cram everything into one bag, but hoisting my bag onto my shoulders meant I’d be rucking half my body weight in Biblical insights through the streets of Chicago, on my lap during the train commute, and step-by-step across campus until reaching the library or a lecture hall. That was the norm for me until I discovered Bible software, and I feel like I’ve tried them all at one point or another in my studies. 

For more than a decade I have been installing and testing different Bible software applications across different operating systems and for a variety of purposes, so I hope what I have to say is helpful as you seek to choose Bible software for yourself.

Bible software can be a great resource for Bible study, graduate studies, sermon prep, personal devotions, group reading plans, and the list goes on. But with so many different options on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. The following considerations will help.

Consider your focus, needed features, and budget when choosing Bible study software.

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing Bible Software

1. What Bible Software Focus Do You Need?

First, what type of Bible study do you want to do? There are all types of Bible studies! But which one is right for you? 

Narrow it down before you make your decision. There are software programs that can help with things like Bible journaling, sermon preparation, deep exegetical research, or any number of steps to better understand the Bible. 

Decide what type of Bible study you want to do, and then look for software that specializes in that area. Narrowing it down by genre can also help. For example, do you want to study the Bible chronologically? Topically? By character? Or in their original languages? Studies can be more specific too, like women in the Bible, or Daily Devotions.

Whatever your preference, once you’ve decided on a type of study, there are plenty of resources available. Many websites and software programs offer different takes on Bible study, but as with most goals it is crucial to know where you’re going before you begin, so it is important to consider your focus before you get started!

Two helpful examples:

  • Dwell is a great option for those wanting to listen to Scripture and not get distracted by anything other than hearing the Word of God.
  • Glo Bible focuses on visuals and would be a nice option for someone who does not need anything more than media-first Bible software for casual exploration of the Bible.
When choosing Bible software, ask yourself how you want to study: Chronologically? Topically? By character? Original languages? Studies can be more specific too, like women in the Bible, or Daily Devotions. Click To Tweet

2. What Bible Software Features Do You Need?

When choosing Bible software, what features are you looking for? Bible software programs can greatly vary in the features they offer. Some offer study tools that allow you to dig deeper into the meaning of the text. Other Bible software programs offer devotional aids to help you grow in your faith. Still, other programs offer practical features like the ability to create custom reading plans or bookmark passages for easy reference. No matter what your goals are for using Bible software, there is a program out there that can help you meet those goals.

Two helpful examples:

  • YouVersion is well-known as one of the go-to Bible apps and was one of the first on the scene to community-focused or dare I even say social network style, reading plans.
  • Logos Bible Software has uniquely tagged its resources (even the original languages) to allow for a quick, in-depth search for exhaustive and insightful Bible research.

Innovation: Logos Bible Software Launches Kerusso Collective

3. Do You Have a Bible Software Budget?

Third, what is your budget? Bible software can range in price from free to hundreds of dollars. Bible software can be found for free online, or you can purchase a more comprehensive program. More comprehensive Bible software programs offer study tools and resources, while others are more basic. It all depends on your needs and budget.

Whether you’re looking for a simple Bible app or something more robust, there’s a Bible software program out there to suit your needs. It’s important to consider what you’re willing to spend before making a purchase.

Two helpful examples:

  • BlueLetterBible.org is free to use and gives you access to a number of resources, original languages, and Bible translations but limits you to their library.
  • As with any number of respected Bible apps, Olive Tree allows you to purchase books as add-ons to your library after starting with a package if you’d like.

4. Have You Considered Your Device or Operating System For Your Bible Software?

Fourth, what platforms are you using? Bible software is now available for both desktop and mobile devices! This means you can access Scripture anywhere, anytime. So whether you’re at home or on the go, you can always keep the Word of God close at hand. Make sure to check that the software you’re interested in is compatible with the devices you’re using.

Two helpful examples:

Another review: Accordance 13 Bible Software [Review]

5. What Are Others Saying in Bible Software Reviews?

Finally, what do other users think?  

Read reviews of Bible software to help you decide if it is right for you. You can find these reviews by searching online, or by asking people you know if they have any experience with the software. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, take some time to read online reviews and after you have read a few reviews, you should be able to decide if the Bible software is right for you. This can give you a good idea of what others think about the Bible software you’re considering.

Bible Software Solutions

I understand that there is plenty to consider when you choose Bible software, including your budget, your intent, what others are saying, and so much more. As someone who trains people to make the most of their Bible software and has been a user himself for years, be encouraged to step back and set your own standards and boundaries before you look for your Bible software solution. Ask yourself questions like why you need it, how much you are willing to spend, and how you will be using it? Once you have answered those questions, then begin comparing Bible software solutions to find the one that will work best for you and your studies.

Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out what I personally use…

What I Personally Use

I’ve defined my own goals and budget, I’ve taken the time to compare the different software platforms, and I’ve looked closely at what others are saying about the different Bible software options; so where did I land? Logos Bible Software offers features and tools unlike other platforms, allows me to grow my library as I need to (making it easy on the wallet), and even lets me sync up with others in my church through reading plans. 

Logos Features:

  • Search: Quickly search my entire library (including original languages and media).
  • Notes & Highlighting: Markup the text the way I need to and organize insights.
  • Workflows: Logos walks me through each step in studying a passage.
  • Sermon Builder: Outline my sermons as I prepare to preach.
  • Preaching Mode: Remove distractions and watch the clock as I preach.
  • And so many more features!

In fact, I’ve fallen so in love with using Logos Bible Software that I gathered a group of friends to start a service to help others best use their software. If you have a desire to leverage your digital library, but find it easier to visit Google than to navigate Logos, consider a Logos Daily Logos 9 Training Course or one-on-one time in training with a Logos expert.

Speaking of reviews, check out one pastor’s thorough review of Logos Bible Software.

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