Moving from Hardcopy to Digital
I first shared with you my excitement after getting the Kindle after Father’s Day of 2008. For someone who loves books, lots of them, it was a huge step. Leading up to that I had been weaning my library down (from about 3-4 thousand books down to a few hundred–about a 6 year process which picked up intensity in the last year or so).
Why did I do that?
Ego & Identity: My books were sort of like an ego boost and homage to my graduate school degrees, as if my books made me smart. And my identity started getting wrapped up in them. They had become too important. They were taking over my life basically.
I have been excited about Logos for years it seems like, ever since they started making announcements and I was hearing rumors about it for the Mac. You see, I had been using another software tool for years, but I quite couldn’t make the leap to use it appropriately or sufficiently to help me make that leap. But more recently, more and more of my friends started using Logos and I thought it was about time. I sent out a Twitter to @logos during the Innovation3 Gathering about the product and Ryan Burns contacted me within an hour or so to help me with any questions I had. Talk about great customer service.
Transitioning to Digital
I know this is a hard leap for many of us. We love our books, and I don’t know if anyone loves their books more than seminary students. It’s the pride and joy of our education in many ways, and a tangible reminder of the knowledge we obtained during the time in school. But after a while one just has a lot of books on the shelves. Sometimes I wonder how many books are on someone’s shelves that will never be picked up again, either to be read or referred to? Lots, but they stay there as a sort of decoration and symbol of intellectual knowledge.
Now here me out…I’m not saying there is anything wrong with books or having lots of them. But from a pure practical standpoint, I began to wonder how effective all those books on my shelves were to my ministry? How often are we locked away in our office preparing sermons all week with commentaries open, Greek Synopis open, etc.? Probably not too often. If you are like me, and many of you are, your sermon preparation consists of multiple trips to coffee shops, some uninterrupted time in the office, disjointed time at home, especially if there are children around. So at the end of the day, I really didn’t have all the right tools that I needed in one place, to do my sermon prep.
The one constant was…you guessed it…my computer. That goes everywhere with me so it only began to make sense that my tools for ministry also needed to be contained on my computer. That would make life easier.
At the end of the day, it just made a lot of common sense to simplify my life, and the tools for ministry. I still have lots of books, but if I don’t refer to them very often, then they are gone. I had one professor tell me that if he didn’t use a book in a 3 month time period then he got rid of that book. I’m not saying that’s the right way, but it makes sense that if I’m not using books, then they are just taking up space.
So when I prepare sermons, small groups, or do research, I usually have a few books with me of relevance but I do a lot of my Greek/Hebrew work, work from multiple translations, research history, etc…all from my Scholar’s Library from Logos.
Let me break it down for you:
- Cost: I know that the initial investment into Logos may seem expensive, but I started thinking about how quickly buying books, especially commentaries and language tools got…and it went way past the price quickly. Logos says, “Scholar’s Library is a value-priced collection of texts and tools for serious Bible study using Greek, Hebrew, and English resources. It is the best value in Bible software today with more than 330 Bibles and Bible Reference titles worth over $6,100.00 in equivalent print editions!” And I’m not buying all the bookshelves to store them.
- Space: Everything is on my computer. I can literally go to the coffee shop with my computer and maybe 1-2 other books if necessary and prepare my whole sermon.
- Portability: Sort of like the space issue…but it’s amazing to take everything with me, wherever I go.
- Practicality: I just was honest with myself and asked some hard questions about my books. I had paid a lot for money of them, but it was time to wean them down, and to acquire tools that fit with my mobile lifestyle. I would be more likely to use the tools that are in my computer that I use everyday, than go to my bookshelves and pull numerous books off, to put in my backpack, and take them to the coffee shop.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to post some more on my use of Logos as I get more comfortable with the software, and I will introduce you to some people using it effectively in their ministries, as well as talk about some of the cool features that I enjoy the most.
Do you use a Bible/Theology software program?
Would you consider using one? Why or why not?
What are your thoughts on Logos?