I am now the owner of two different Bible software solutions and felt the need for writing a short article on them. If you search for Accordance vs. Logos on the web you’ll get all sorts of results. You’ll find users convinced one is superior over the other. Sometimes you get actual support for the opinion. It was difficult to decide whether to invest in Accordance since I was already heavily involved with Logos. I have the Scholars Library: Gold, which means I have a LOT of resources already at my finger tips, but I still wanted to see what it had to offer. So I picked up a copy of Accordance so that I could experiment with it a little. What I found was a comparison of two products that take two considerably different approaches to Bible study. To make comparison a little easier, I will provide introductions to each and then group both softwares together according to different categories.
Logos Bible Software 4
Logos has been at the forefront of Bible study software for years, having started around 1992. They have an absolutely staggering amount of resources available and the rate at which they add new ones is also very impressive. I wasn’t really into Bible study software until Libronix v.2 for Windows. From there I purchased Libronix v.3 and cross graded to Logos for Mac 1. Logos for Mac 1 was essentially a port of Libronix 3 and it was pretty good. No, it didn’t have all of the features of Libronix 3 for Windows but it was quick, allowed for all of my resources to be accessed and, in short, got the job done for all basic Bible study needs. Then came Logos 4 and it promised to redefine Bible study. For one, cross-platform was going to mean more than porting. It meant native code shared between the two platforms, feature parity between them, and updates released at the same time. It was an exciting time for Bible software lovers everywhere (well, at least I was a bit excited). There was a nominal upgrade fee as well as cross-grade fee since the Mac version wasn’t out yet (hmm), but all-in-all, it was very different and very impressive. Logos 4 had a slightly rough start but the folks over in Washington state made things right very quickly. I have to say this, while many criticize what Logos is doing, I’m impressed with their drivenness, dedication, and customer support (I had no intention of alliterating right there).
Accordance Bible Software 9
Accordance can trace its Mac roots all the way back to 1988, so they definitely aren’t the new kid on the block when it comes to Mac Bible software. To precisely determine who has more total resources might be difficult but right now I’d have to say it’s probably Logos. That said, Accordance also has an incredible library of resources available to a person. Their Mega Bundle, price-wise, is comparable to the Logos Scholar’s Library: Platinum. However the Logos package, from what I can tell, comes with substantially more resources. Moving back to history, Accordance itself was actually release in 1994 and has seen version and dot updates continually throughout its history. Accordance has no plans to go Windows as far as I can tell and I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. If they are a smaller company, as I suspect they are, they have calculated what would be necessary to do so and have decided against it. Accordance support is fantastic. They are always polite, courteous, and professional (again, I refuse to alliterate).
Technical Details and Performane
Logos 4 is programmed using Microsoft’s .NET framework (among others). It falls into a category known as “managed code language.” For more information on that, search the web or go to ACM.org. This allows Logos to quickly program for both Windows and Macintosh platforms by reusing the most amount of code. Bottom line, Logos 4 for Windows and Logos 4 for Mac look a lot alike, OS details aside. Why is this important? Mainly because it means that you have a consistent Bible study experience regardless of the operating system you’re using. If you’re using Logos 4, then there isn’t a learning curve. The same can’t be said for Accordance since it’s Mac only. Want to use Accordance? You have to find yourself a Mac. So is there a drawback to this wonderful concept? In theory, performance often suffers as a result of using a higher level language to make programming easier. If you go to the Logos User Forums, there are a host of people who say that Logos screams on their systems. Mind you, most of those people (at least that I’ve read) have high-end Intel Core i7 desktops with 8GB (or more) of RAM and fast hard drives (or solid-state drives). Those with “”lesser” hardware say that it’s not as quick as Logos 3 or Logos for Mac 1.x but that stands to reason even considering the sheer number of new features added to Logos 4. I am currently running Logos 4.5b SR-1 on a MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Quad-Core i7 w/ 16GB RAM and a Solid-State Drive. In short, my notebook computer is a beast. It’s fast, really fast. Logos 4, with defaults left on, has an average boot time of 17 seconds. This is from click to the Front Page (more on that in a minute) fully displayed (default settings). I’ve included a screen recording below.
If you remove all of the default content that loads from the internet, you can shave 4-5 seconds off of this load time. If you turn the “Use Internet” setting to off, Logos starts in roughly 7-8 seconds. That’s less than half the time, making the internet connection the clear bottleneck for startup performance (tested using a 25mbps internet connection).
Accordance, being Mac only, benefits from being able to utilize the inherent strengths of the Mac OS (as does Logos for Windows in some regards). In 2005, they rewrote the program code to be native to OS X. As a result, there is now a forked development of Accordance that allows for native Mac OS 9 and native Mac OS X binaries. They also utilize Quartz for the program rendering. The result? Accordance is fast. As in, crazy fast. On just about any Mac. I’ve tested Accordance (for the purpose of this post only) on everything from a 2007 MacBook to a 2011 MacBook Pro to a 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac. Obviously there is noticeable speed differences between such a gamut of machines but not as much as you’d expect. The reason? There isn’t much room for improvement. No really, there isn’t. I can’t say the same for Logos 4 for Mac. On a 2007 MacBook the program is pretty unbearable. Searching and moving within Logos on such a system is painful. That simply isn’t the case with Accordance.
Resources and Getting to Them
As mentioned before, Logos has a staggering amount of resources available to you in a variety of packages. When I was in Bible college, I was blessed to have someone pay for over half of my package. Add in a deep student discount and the payment plan available and I was able to purchase the Scholar’s Library: Gold package. The current total of resources is close to 950 as of the time of this writing. That’s a lot. Are all of them practical? To one person, probably not, but I believe that any publication can be a viable resource in one way or another. I won’t bother with the resource breakdown as I’m not evaluating what you get for resources but rather the process of studying with them as this is what I found to be the most striking difference between Accordance and Logos. If you’d like to see the different packages available and how they are broken down, click here. Before we get to the process of study, I want to touch on the user interface (UI), which is probably the second most striking difference between the two products. Logos uses a system that, for the most part, uses a unified window interface. By this I mean that when you begin your study, the resources and panes all open in a single window. Below is a screenshot of Logos 4 on first open:
Everything is in one window: Home button, Library button, Search button, Command line. Then below that you have your Passage Guide start point (the white bar beside the “Go” button), your Preferred Bible, and some other user related information. Then you have what I call the Front Page. Think of this section like a newspaper. These are the headlines of information that Logos thinks might interest you. It can be a great starting point for any number of things like a morning devotion or reading, some interesting upcoming events, new discoveries in Bible scholarship/archeology, Logos usage tips, and more.
Accordance has a wide range of resources available to the Bible student. They aren’t as many as Logos, but I surmise that they would be more than adequate for most. The startup screen for Accordance is quite different from Logos. That is, there isn’t one really. You basically begin with your various panes (more on that below) and a workspace. What the workspace displays depends on your settings but other than that, there isn’t a plethora of information greeting you when you first start up. Below is the Accordance startup screen.
Two Paths to Discovering Truth
I’m sure there will be some that disagree with what I’m about to say. More so, they’ll disagree with how I chose to describe them. So be it. Hopefully though, you’ll be able to see what I mean rather than get stuck on my choice of vocabulary. Logos and Accordance have very different start screens because they take two very different approaches to Bible study. I would liken Logos to Accordance the way I would Deductive vs Inductive speaking. Whereas Logos lays out all the information it can find for you, Accordance puts all of the resources at your finger tips but requires you to inquire of the text. This is difficult to put into typed words so I will divide these up and provide some videos.
*Update* They are currently under production due to our temporary move. The rest of this review will become a running review as it’s been two weeks and I still haven’t posted any of my findings.