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#1 Darin Allen

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:29 PM

Hi Everyone,

So let me start by saying I am a new user, but have really been impressed by the community among Accordance users. My issue is, I am really struggling with which bible software to get. I have been leaning towards the Logos Scholar's Gold package for some time now due to the large number of quality resources and commentaries it comes with, especially the entire New International Greek Testament Commentary and others. However, I am a mac guy, and the more I read about Accordance the more I hear about its superior elegance and design over Logos. Is Logos really that bad/that cumbersome/that awkward? This makes me want to choose Accordance, but I am really hoping to get some solid commentaries along with my software and Logos seems to have the edge there, at least in their core packages. So here is my question, the Logos Scholar's Gold package will cost me $965, as I am a seminary student and get a discount. What would be the best use of comparable money with Accordance? Could I get additional packages, modules, etc. to make the initial collection more comparable to the Logos Gold? I am a seminary student studying to be a pastor, so I really wanted some good commentaries, but what else have you all found that has been your “must have/go to” tools with Accordance? I'm thinking of going with a basic collection, as I'm not really as intrigued by some of the additional resources in the standard/premier level collections. Should I be? I feel like I'd rather go basic and then add on modules, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise. Here is the package I was thinking about putting together:

Accordance Intro bundle with Library Standard and Scholar's Standard: $199
BDAG/HALOT Bundle: On sale $249. This seems highly recommended by many.
Graphics DVD Bundle: On sale $149. This looks too cool to resist.
Word Biblical Commentary: On sale $399. This would be a big help in the commentary department I think.
Bonus Bible Bundle: $88. I need this for the ESV, NASB, NIV translations which I use a lot.

So this all comes out to $1084, which might be slightly reduced by a student discount, though not significantly. This does not get me nearly the resources I would get with the Logos Gold package. Is it really worth it just for the nicer interface?

And two final questions:

1)Does anyone know a better way to structure these items that would be a better value?
2)What other packages/modules/resources in Accordance have you found to be invaluable that you would recommend adding on, especially for a seminary student studying to be a pastor?

Any thoughts or insight would truly be appreciated. Thanks!
Darin Allen
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#2 Joe Weaks

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:50 PM

Hi Darin,

One thing that I have found, and have heard confirmed again and again, that a great activity is to call OakTree and let the consultant talk through the best-bang-for-your-buck-and-interest with you. Everyone's interests are so specialized, and they have so many offerings that this would be beneficial.

I would encourage identifying what resources in each Accordance and Logos package "materially matter" so that an apples to apples comparison is possible. All packages, from both software companies, come with stuff you don't need, want or will ever use.

You didn't mention what seminary/what denomination, for that will offer some input into what commentary(ies) you'd most benefit from.

The Atlas in the Graphics bundle is amazing, and there's nothing out there like it.

As for interface, the long history of successful Mac development is more than just eye candy. Good UI design getting the best use possible out of the tools that are ready to hand, in a way that can powerfully do whatever you can come up with asking it to do.

You're sure to get more input on package options.
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#3 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 03:49 PM

Note that the Intro Bundle includes the Library Intro and Scholar's Intro, not the Standard levels.
Both Intro packages include a free $30 Bible unlock, so that should take care of two of the three translations you mention.

In terms of the ESV and the NIV, you should ask yourself if you want the key number versions of those two translations, the ESVS and the NIV-G/K. I think the only way to get the NIV-G/K is as part of the Zondervan Essential Bible Study Suite. The ESVS is part of the Standard level of the Library 8 collection, or you can buy it separately for $49.

That said, I second Joe's suggestion that you call Oak Tree and talk with them. They are interested in getting you the package that best fits your needs and your budget.

Oak Tree does offer discounts for full-time students.

Lorinda
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#4 Darin Allen

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:13 PM

Joe,

Thanks, I might try giving the Oak Tree consultants a call. For what it's worth I am an MDiv student at Fuller Theological Seminary, although I'm admittedly one of the rare exceptions at Fuller who fall on the reformed/conservative side of biblical interpretation. If you know anything about Fuller, it's not ridiculously liberal, but finding a guy like me there still seems like trying to find a snow leopard in the wilderness. I'm definitely not a hardcore fundamentalist or anything, I just grew up in a typical non-denominational Christian church that tends to take what the bible says at face value, rather than questioning it's reliability at every turn, which feels pretty common in Fuller biblical studies classes.

Lorinda,

I'm sure this may sound like a foolish question for a guy who's in seminary, but I am unfamiliar with the key number versions of bibles. What advantage do those offer?
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#5 Darin Allen

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:28 PM

Nevermind, ESVS has Strongs numbers, I know what that means :) So I take it that just increases the functionality in Accordance with how you can look up the Greek?
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#6 RobM

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:36 PM

Lorinda,

I'm sure this may sound like a foolish question for a guy who's in seminary, but I am unfamiliar with the key number versions of bibles. What advantage do those offer?


Darin, check out today's blog post by David Lang (http://www.accordancebible.com/blog/) for a description of key number versions. He talks primarily about the NRSVS (the last 'S' stands for "Strong's Numbers"), but it applies to other Bible translations as well.

#7 Thomas

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:56 PM

Though I do not know your needs and skill level, here is my list of what to pick up:

Hebrew Bible:
BHS-4(BHS tagged): I also have the version with the apparatus included in the Mac Studienbibel.
HALOT: This is the new scholarly standard for Hebrew studies (supplanting the very dated BDB), but you should have some familiarity with Hebrew (and if possible other ancient Near Eastern languages) to get the most out of this resource.
Optional: LXX modules tagged and/or translations; Targumim, DSS Bible, JPS English translation of the Hebrew Bible

Christian Literature:

GNT-T(=NA27 tagged). Personally, I have absolutely no use for TIS, WH, or the TR and would not pick them up if I had to do again.
UBS Lexicon or BDAG (BDAG is more expansive; the UBS Lexicon is the lexicon from the GNT)
Optional: Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament if you're into text-critical readings. You would need a text, print or digital, that has the apparatus to use Metzger. Accordance offers one as part of the Mac Studienbibel Collection. It's very nice to have.

General:
Timeline (you can add your own events, people, etc.)
Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Bible Atlas
WBC as you noted in your wishlist.

Edited by Thomas, 07 May 2009 - 05:19 PM.


#8 Rick Bennett

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 09:58 PM

Hi Darin,

I would second Joe's advice to figure out what items are essential to you, then compare from there. Here's a few of my recommendations (as a fellow seminary student)…

Scholar's Standard - All the original language resources you will initially need, plus two $30 Bible unlocks. You can also apply the $30 towards one of the Key Number texts like the ESVS. Now includes Scott's Simplified Guide to BHS, which is a must have for navigating the BHS.

BDAG/HALOT Combo - The standard lexicons, no explanation needed.

Zondervan Scholarly - includes at least 4 texts that will likely be required, which alone make it worth the price: Carson/Moo - Intro to NT, Dillard/Longman - Intro to OT, Mounce - BBG & MBG, Wallace - Exegetical Syntax (with the exception of Wallace these are not available except through Zondervan's PC software). You can also unlock the NIDOTTE and NIDNTT from this cd (also exclusive to Accordance, except Zondervan's PC software).

IVP Essential Reference - Includes the popular 'black dictionaries', which are very useful.

As far as commentaries, well, that is a pretty subjective area. The special on the WBC is a very good deal, less than $7.00/volume! Of course the NIGTC is great, but it may serve you better to buy the individual volumes as you need them. The Bible Speaks Today is a great NT commentary for a low price. We also have Pillar, JPS Torah, and some of the older classics as well.

These are all high quality resources that you will regularly use. Of course I could keep listing the resources, like Hebrew grammars (Joüon, Waltke/O'Connor), theological works (Grudem's Systematic Theology), or pastoral items (Piper's Sermon Library), etc.

These are some of my pics that I have used regularly during my seminary experience. There's plenty of room to grow. You will never be penalized for starting small. :)

HTH…

Rick Bennett
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#9 David Lang

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:41 PM

Darin,

Keep in mind that your comparison of Logos Scholar's Gold and $1000 worth of Accordance stuff is not really an apples to apples comparison. For that $1000, Logos Scholar's Gold does not include much of what you listed. It does not include BDAG or HALOT, so you're looking at an additional $275. It does not include Word Biblical Commentary, so you're looking at an additional $699. And, of course, it doesn't have anything like the Atlas, PhotoGuide, and Timeline. In other words, you've spent your hypothetical $1000 budget in Accordance on some high-quality add-ons, while in Logos you've merely taken whatever is included in their biggest package.

A better apples to apples comparison would be to look at a bigger initial bundle of Library and Scholar's resources. For example, the Accordance Super Bundle is $639 and includes the Library Premier, the Scholar's Premier, and the Graphics Bundle. That combination includes the KJVS, the NAS95S, the original NASB, the ESVS, the NLT, the HCSB, the NET Bible, and a bunch of other English Bibles, plus your choice of six additional modern Bibles. It also includes the tagged Greek, Hebrew, and LXX, Louw & Nida, BDB, TWOT, TLOT (Jenni-Westermann), TLNT (Spicq), and other lexicons. In the way of commentaries, you get the New International Bible Commentary, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Keil & Delitzsch, Calvin, Henry, Barnes, Wesley, etc. There's a lot more in there, but you get the idea.

Now if you add the BDAG/HALOT bundle to that you're up to $888, and if you add WBC you're up to $1287. Minus your student discount that would come to $1158 and some change. And that's with high quality resources that will cost you an additional $974 with Logos (minus whatever discounts they offer).

Should you decide not to get WBC at this time, you could instead choose other add-ons like the Expositor's Bible Commentary, the IVP Reference Collection (which includes the New Bible Commentary and Bible Background Commentaries), the Zondervan Scholarly package Rick mentioned, etc.

I hope this gives you a better feel for what you can get for the money with Accordance.
Sincerely,
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#10 Steve Raine

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:51 PM

Hi Darin--

At Fuller, a 'bare-bones' suggestion that will serve you quite well:

NRSV-- must have this at Fuller
Anchor
IVP
GNT-T
BDAG
BHS-4
HALOT
WORD BC if you can afford it.

This is a pretty solid-core 'starter assortment' for Fuller.

Be sure to ask any Profs w Macs if they use Accordance, and what they have appreciated most.


Enjoy your studies at Fuller. The Fuller Profs are not going to pat you on the back and tell you that you're a good guy and 'believe right'. They come from a variety of theological backgrounds which will enrich your faith walk with the Lord. Many will also go across the street with you to M & S to talk and share from their hearts. They are going to challenge the heck out of you. They want you to better understand what you believe and why...
and to be able to articulate it intelligently in seminary, in church, and in the world.


Blessings,
Steve

#11 Joe Weaks

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:25 PM

Darin,
With the deal on WBC and your self-description, I think you'll be very happy with WBC.

And...

I would second Joe's advice...

I'm sorry, Rick, but you're out of line. Lorinda already added a second.

That said, I second Joe's suggestion...


B)

#12 Darin Allen

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:57 AM

Thanks for all the helpful advice everyone. I am just trying to be wise and careful about my purchase, especially since there is no 30 day money back guarantee on Accordance software as with competing programs. I know another guy mentioned this recently, but I would really encourage the team at Accordance to consider revising this policy. The demo is very helpful, but doesn't really give me an apples to apples comparison with other full programs I can try out, and I don't really have the money to just buy an intro package and then decide later that I'd rather go in another direction. I know you guys care about feedback, so I thought I'd throw my vote in the bucket for a 30 day guarantee at some point down the road, even though I'll probably end up going with Accordance regardless. From what I can tell by word of mouth, most people who have both Accordance and Logos just use Accordance mostly and Logos not so much. It's kind of unfortunate considering all the great resources Logos has, but I guess it's not just about the quantity and quality of resources but also the ease and elegance of accessing those resources. Thanks again for all the input guys!

Edited by Darin Allen, 09 May 2009 - 02:58 AM.

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#13 Dewayne Davis

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 10:53 AM

It is really more like Quantity vs. Quality. With Logos, I always found myself wanting more, more, more. Until one day I realized that there was more than one could ever get, and to what end? With Accordance, it is about using the text efficiently. Now I find myself able to actually use the software. For what it is worth, I have the Gold with tons of additional resources in Logos. In Accordance I have the Library 8 Premier, IVP, Greek Group, TJL 1-11, the 3 Zondervan Titles including the EBC, and the BHS-W4. I hope to pick up the NIGTC and possibly the Scholar's Premier someday. And at that time I will have no use for the Logos at all.

#14 Steve Raine

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:03 PM

Hi again Darin--

I would be quite surprised if you did not find Accordance to be as valuable as many, many others of us have. As a matter of fact, thanks largely to a member of this Forum, I switched from a PC to a Mac because of Accordance (the "emulatored version" back then did not meet my needs.)
I have not regretted either decision.

Blessings,
Steve

#15 Darin Allen

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 08:25 PM

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to thank you all again for your helpful advice. I just wanted to update everyone on my bible software search. For the past week I have been trying out the Mac version of Logos Scholar's Gold package (they have a 30 day money back guarantee) and doing what I can to push the Accordance demo to the max. My initial thoughts, are that I don't hate Logos as much as I was expecting to. In fact, it has been a mostly positive experience. I also have grown increasingly fond of Accordance. So I thought I would tell you all some of the things I have liked and not liked in both, and then let you know the decision I ultimately made.

Logos likes:
There are an incredible amount of resources in Scholar's Gold. And while MANY of these are useless, I have found many to be phenomenal. The quality and scope of commentaries has impressed me the most. Just to name a few, the UBS handbook series, New American Commentary, and the New International Greek Testament Commentary are all amazing and offer an incredible value.

Their pre-pub program is excellent, and offers an incredible value. I heard they had the Hermeneia series on there for $500 for a while. That's just stellar. In my opinion, Accordance should look into offering something like this down the road.

The ability to do topical searches is very cool, and Logos has the quantity/quality of books to back up those searches with lots of relevant results. This would be helpful as a pastor, as often you need to find biblical answers about a given topic, not necessarily about a specific book of the Bible. Accordance may have something similar to this, but I'm not sure.

Logos Dislikes:
One thing I am not so crazy about that I discussed with my new friend Thomas is that new windows are constantly popping up haphazardly. It's very Windowsy of them. I believe there is a tab system in the windows version, but if this functionality is in the Mac version I have yet to find it. Sometimes it feels like the software equivalent of having papers scattered all over my desk and trying to find a post-it note with an important phone number on it somewhere in the mix.

It's definitely not very intuitive. I had Logos up in my exegetical methods class, the teacher asked a question about the original greek and it took me way too long to find the answer I needed. Usually, I will not be in a time crunch to find an answer like this, but this example reveals a deeper principle about using the software in general I think.

In the current build of their Mac version, I can't customize any of the fonts or anything like that. This is unfortunate since I LOVE the customizable interface of Accordance.

Most people complain about the speed of Logos, but I actually did not mind this. While they should be able to make it faster, it really isn't that slow considering the vast amount of resources it is searching, and is only an issue due to the incredibly impatient society we live in. I mean, if the worst of my problems is that my bible software takes 20 seconds to search over 700 books for insightful and relevant biblical material, I'd say life in the 21st century is treating me just fine.

Accordance likes:
The Bible is indeed central, and while I get very excited about reading what other brilliant men and women of God have written about Scripture and gaining from their insight, I do hope that the majority of my time in Bible study is spent diving into the Word myself and praying for God to reveal His truth to me. Accordance seems to share my priority here. It is also easy to switch between different bible versions in Accordance, whereas in Logos it is more of a chore.

Visually, Accordance is a breath of fresh air. As many have said before, it truly is elegant, and I like that a lot. It's also just plain fun to use, mostly due to the intuitive nature of it, at least at the basic level (I hear that complex searches come with a steeper learning curve). I am a big fan of the way Accordance does their layout, adding additional panes in a way that keeps things organized and uncluttered.

The searching in Accordance is easier to pick up and learn than the searching in Logos in my opinion. I have enjoyed conducting searches in Accordance.

While I haven't been able to test it out, the video demonstrations of the Accordance Atlas/Timeline seem amazing. There's just nothing in Logos that can compete with this.

Accordance Dislikes:
Pricing and resources included in the primary collections. Thankfully, additional Accordance modules are comparably priced to Logos (although Logos' pre-pub program is unmatched), but I really wish Accordance had more high quality resources in their primary collections, especially one or two high profile commentaries included. I couldn't find much in Scholar's Standard or Premier that I wanted, other than the tagged Septuagint. The Library collections offered more I was interested in, but compared to Logos still felt lacking to me in terms of the quality of resources, commentaries in particular.

My Decision:
If you don't like/agree with some of my critiques or feel they are unfair in any way, you will at least like my decision. Today, I invested in Accordance, and I went with David Lang's advice: Super Bundle, BDAG/HALOT, Word Biblical Commentary. I was so torn I ended up making this decision almost as much on the advice of others as I did my own experiences. From what I have read, there are many people who have used Logos extensively that love it. The same is true of Accordance. However, for those who have used BOTH extensively, these people mainly seem to prefer using Accordance, and Logos collects dust. This tells me that those who don't know any better are perfectly content with Logos, but those who have used Accordance are officially spoiled and feel like the scales have dropped from their eyes. Therefore, I must conclude that I would probably feel the same, and leaned towards Accordance.

Even so, I still probably would have gone with Logos just due to needing the high quality commentaries. Ultimately, Accordance's pricing special on the Word Biblical Commentary is what solidified it for me. This is an amazing deal (better than Logos for WBC) and is the one major leg up Accordance has over Logos in the commentary department in my opinion. This is what pushed me over the edge. I am grateful to the Accordance team for offering this deal, otherwise it might not have happened.

Conclusions:
If I had to be honest, I would say it was a much closer call than I would have thought. I thought I was going to hate Logos. I didn't. I actually really like a lot about it. It was not a disaster to navigate or find what I needed, just not quite as sleek and elegant as Accordance. Their 30 day money back guarantee allowed me to try the best version of their software, and this really almost lost the sale for Accordance, as I enjoyed my time using the software. I would encourage the Accordance team to consider revising this policy, as I undoubtedly would have taken the plunge much sooner if there were a 30 day guarantee, and I'm guessing I never would have looked back.

The last suggestion I would submit is to consider trying to make a deal with one of the high profile commentary distributers (WBC, Pillar, NIGTC, Baker Exegetical, etc) to include their set in one of Accordance's primary collections. Perhaps a new collection bundle that is a few hundred dollars more but includes WBC (thus creating revenue from bulk, while offering the customer more value than paying separately for it), or something similar with a different series. It's highly possible the team has already looked into this and just haven't been able to work something out yet with the right publisher, but it would help even the commentary tables with Logos in my opinion. I know many commentaries are currently included in Accordance collections, but none seem to rival the best of the Logos packages.

As a tangent, does anyone know if the "New International Commentary on the New/Old Testament" series is resisting inclusion in Accordance/Logos? To my knowledge, no software has this resource yet and it is one of the most widely acclaimed from my reading. If Accordance could lock that down, I would officially be Accordance's poster boy.

Well, I hope you all have found any of this interesting, and I hope I haven't offended anyone by being forthright and honest about some of the things I liked about Logos or wasn't crazy about with Accordance. I realize this is an Accordance forum, so if this doesn't include enough pro-Accordance propaganda, I'd be happy to edit it and include more :-) Ultimately, I feel great about my decision to choose Accordance, and look forward to joining your community of enthusiasts!
Darin Allen
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#16 Steve Raine

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 08:50 PM

Hi Darin--

I doubt any Accordance users are afraid of a comparison with other Bible software products.

Welcome to the family!

You will not be disappointed.


Richest blessings on your continuing walk with the Lord,
Steve

#17 jackcav

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:53 PM

Darin

I own and use both Accordance and Logos. Logos is not all that cumbersome and awkward, as far as Windows applications go. The Mac version is of very little value, so you would need an emulator (VMWare Fusion, Parallels, Boot Camp, etc). I believe someone else already advised you to compare the resources you would actually use in the offering of both applications. Logos Scholar's Gold is worth the price, but it also contains much fluff. I was actually disappointed with some resources I expected to use quite often.

Jack




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