I’ve looked into many of the electronic library options for a Christian resource library, the most popular being Logos, but there is also Accordance, Bible Works, Olive Tree and PC Study Bible. I also came across something from Zondervan called Praxis that appears to only have the full version of the Expositor’s Commentary Series. It also looks like its old enough to be run on DOS. I’ve also had some samples of the PC Study Bible. Ultimately, I went with Olive Tree.
It came down to a few reasons. Frist, its app based, this was particularly important because at the time I was looking, I didn’t have a computer with Windows. I had/have a Chromebook, so there isn’t even the possibility of installing software. Of course, I found out that Olive Tree doesn’t have an app for Chromebook. However, it does have it for just about everything else. I have it on my tablet that I use as my Bible for church and Study, my wife has the app on her phone for her Bible Study and I have it on both my home and work computers.
Probably the best feature to me was the ability to sync my notes. I can type my notes on the computer, then pull out the tablet at Chic-fil-a, hop on their Wi-Fi and have all of them there. My wife will also sync my notes to her phone when she has forgotten to read, so there’s that. I’m sure others may have this ability, but I liked Olive Tree’s setup the most.
What sold me the most, and what made me initially download the app was the Tyndale Commentary on the whole Bible (43 Volumes) for only $99. I saw it pop up once and skipped it, then regretted it. When it came up again, I jumped on it. Now I see it comes up about three or four times a year. This is a great deal and they have been very useful. I was also able to download the ESV Study Bible notes for $9. Again, tough to beat. The ESV text is free, along with many others.
Why not the others? Other than the portability issues, it was mainly because I didn’t want to buy any of the packages. The packages are massive and very expensive. If you are a full-time pastor or professor, Logos is probably worth it. If you are looking to enhance your study, it seems a bit much to me. I figure I’d be unlikely to read all of it. If I were to buy one of the systems with packages, it’d likely be PC Study Bible. They are much more affordable than Logos.
Another problem with many of the packages is that so many just offer multiple versions of the Bible. When you want get into the commentaries or languages, that’s when the prices really hit you. If you decide to pass on the packages and buy individual volumes or sets, they prices do not seem to be that affordable.
Finally, I’m not super tech savvy, despite being a millennial. I enjoy have an actual book. When I do my prep, I like to lay out a few different commentaries and Bibles and make my notes on the Chromebook or even a lowly pen and paper. However, I must note that have the tablet option is incredible and anyone looking for basic study guidance from one of the above companies, should look at tablet compatibility first and foremost. I really enjoy the split screen option with the ESV up top and Tyndale below (or my notes). It gives you a lot of options while in a Bible study to go further or deeper into the text as questions arise. As long as you have a good Wi-Fi signal.