How to Save Yourself Hundreds of Dollars

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Andrew Baguley | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:17 AM

The Lexham Bible Guides are set to cost hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands, given that it costs $420 just for the letters of Paul and $110 for Genesis at pre-pub prices.  Are they worth it?

There has been good discussion of some of the issues here: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/57188.aspx?PageIndex=1

However, I thought I would give my views, based on the Ephesians volume that has already shipped.  The format is likely to be the same throughout the series.

On exporting to Microsoft Word, there are remarkably few pages of text, once the large slides and a little of the extra spacing have been removed.

The first page is the title page and series preface.  This is followed by a two-page introduction to the book, consisting of an overview of message, themes, genre, composition and historical setting, plus a one-page structure of the book.  The introduction is clear and well-written, but there are no links to external sources and there is no discussion of controversies, scholarly debate or alternative views.  Therefore, it is no better than a very short introduction in a well-written commentary.  This seems like a lost opportunity and something that might have been expected.

The discussion of the text is broken into sections, each covering roughly one chapter.  They each have the same format: overview, structure (extracted from the introduction), place within the book, place within the canon, issues at a glance and application overview.  The overview has one external link, but this is the only link to any other resource (other than the Bible) outside of the issues at a glance.  Again, there is no discussion of alternative views or scholarly debate.

This means that the ‘issues at a glance’ section for each chapter is the only unique part of the book.  Each of these sections has the same format: a list of the issues and keywords, followed by a short paragraph or two outlining the issue or keyword background and a few links to carefully chosen resources that discuss the issue.  The keywords have two to four simple links each, but the issues themselves have a sentence or two outlining the author’s view to help you to decide whether to click and have between two and ten links each.  Of course, the links will only work if you already own the resources.  The sample pages provided are fairly typical.

There are 39 issues and 24 keywords discussed over the six chapters, with eight of the issues relating to the armour of God, and the first few issues include a discussion of letters (expanded since the sample screenshot was taken), authorship and authenticity, and the letter’s destination.

The 12 dictionaries and encyclopedias that are linked are: three IVP black dictionaries, AYBD, BDAG, BEB, EDB, EDNT, NDB, NIDNTT, TDNT and WSNTDICT (Zodhiates).  The 10 commentaries that are linked are: Anchor Yale, BECNT, EBC (First Edition), ICC, Interpretation, NICNT, NIVAC, PNTC, WBC and ZECNT.  See http://community.logos.com/forums/t/57188.aspx?PageIndex=1 for details.  This seems a likely list for other Bible Guides. 

Only the ‘issues at a glance’ section provides information and links that you may not find in a good short commentary.  The keywords are fairly obvious keywords and an even greater supply of links can be quickly found by right-clicking on a word in a Bible, selecting Bible Word Study and consulting the Lemma section.  The links to commentaries can be found by running a Passage Guide and consulting the commentaries section.  The Bible Word Study and Passage Guide offer links to resources that the Bible Guides have not selected and allow the user to prioritise their favourite resources.  This leaves only the succinct summary of issues as a unique selling point.

Therefore, in short, and as stated elsewhere, these Bible Guides are helpful in summarising issues and providing links.  However, I suspect that for most Logos users who have invested in the linked resources, it will not be worth spending further thousands of dollars on the few succinct summaries that these guides provide.  For those with few of the linked resources, the usefulness and worth of these guides will be even lower.  Whether the slightly cheaper Pastorum Series will be better value is yet to be seen.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:48 AM

Andrew, thank you for taking the time to review this resource for all of us.

Unfortunately in their latest site upgrade Logos removed the feature that allows people to add reviews of resources. I think your review, while not very positive from Logos' standpoint, would have been great to post there.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:53 AM

Mark Smith:

Andrew, thank you for taking the time to review this resource for all of us.

Unfortunately in their latest site upgrade Logos removed the feature that allows people to add reviews of resources. I think your review, while not very positive from Logos' standpoint, would have been great to post there.

Yes

 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:54 AM

Andrew Baguley:
However, I suspect that for most Logos users who have invested in the linked resources, it will not be worth spending further thousands of dollars on the few succinct summaries that these guides provide. 

Thank you Andrew. I did not conduct a review anywhere near as thorough as yours, but I reached the same conclusion.

Posts 550
John Kaess | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:57 AM

This seems like a fair review.  I have considered getting these resources but was dissuaded by 2 things:

1.  They are very pricey

2.  It seems like they mostly just present the things I can learn using the tools already in logos like Passage Guide, Bible word Study and Exegetical Guide.

Posts 767
Alan Charles Gielczyk | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 11:02 AM

Yes, thank you Andrew. I came to the conclusion with just a cursory glance at these resources that I would not buy them at a quarter of what Logos is asking. It seems to me they do only what we all bought Logos to do in the first place, make our research easier. I have no idea how Logos can justify charging what they do. I might take them if they were free.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 11:10 AM

Alan Charles Gielczyk:
I might take them if they were free.

Then again, they might clutter up one's library. You are a tough sell, Alan, but my initial reaction to this set was like yours.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 11:15 AM

Mark Smith:
but my initial reaction to this set was like yours.

That was my impression as well after looking at the Ephesians volume. Too much money for too little original content.

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 11:40 AM

 

John Kaess:

This seems like a fair review.  I have considered getting these resources but was dissuaded by 2 things:

1.  They are very pricey

2.  It seems like they mostly just present the things I can learn using the tools already in logos like Passage Guide, Bible word Study and Exegetical Guide.

Because of the two reasons you mentioned (and the fact that the results are not thorough enough for my taste) I was expecting Logos to include the resources in version 5. This was the only way I could make sense of it… as reader digest version of the tools that are already there and added to the premium libraries (gold and above).

Now that the Lexham guides are not included, I am left scratching my head.

 

Because of the two reasons you mentioned I was expecting Logos to include the resources in version 5. This was the only way I could make sense of it. as reader digest of the tools that are already there


I will save my money and will continue to do the work myself.

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Posts 450
Alexander | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 2:13 PM

Alain Maashe:

 

John Kaess:

This seems like a fair review.  I have considered getting these resources but was dissuaded by 2 things:

1.  They are very pricey

2.  It seems like they mostly just present the things I can learn using the tools already in logos like Passage Guide, Bible word Study and Exegetical Guide.

Because of the two reasons you mentioned (and the fact that the results are not thorough enough for my taste) I was expecting Logos to include the resources in version 5. This was the only way I could make sense of it… as reader digest version of the tools that are already there and added to the premium libraries (gold and above).

Now that the Lexham guides are not included, I am left scratching my head.

 

Because of the two reasons you mentioned I was expecting Logos to include the resources in version 5. This was the only way I could make sense of it. as reader digest of the tools that are already there


I will save my money and will continue to do the work myself.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

 

I agree - it's like Logos 5 usurped the need for the Lexham Bible Guides. Ephesians was not badly done, its just the price doesn't reflect the content. It would be great for an entry level read through but who could afford that at thousands of dollars for the whole Protestant Bible (that's for you MJ!)

Posts 99
john joyce | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 9:49 PM

All I will say is Ephesians was the first time I have taken advantage of the 30 day return!

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2012 10:59 PM

Mark Smith:
Unfortunately in their latest site upgrade Logos removed the feature that allows people to add reviews of resources.

That must have been temporary, because I have no problem seeing them now.

Mark Smith:
I think your review, while not very positive from Logos' standpoint, would have been great to post there.

Yes

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 2277
Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2012 12:27 AM

Andrew Baguley:
Therefore, in short, and as stated elsewhere, these Bible Guides are helpful in summarising issues and providing links.  However, I suspect that for most Logos users who have invested in the linked resources, it will not be worth spending further thousands of dollars on the few succinct summaries that these guides provide.

Thank you for what is, in my opinion, a fair and balanced review.

I personally was more than a little disappointed with the Ephesians instalment. I share your view that the content is light (particularly given the cost). I also question the philosophy of the resource. The summary of secondary material is so brief as to be of little value and the links to AYB, ICC, ZEC, etc. are of no value if one does not own the resources in question. I am guessing many, if not most, Logos customers do not own AYB or ICC (for example). It is my assumption that this series and the AYB/ICC are aimed at very different readerships. 

Posts 1928
Donovan R. Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2012 6:05 AM

I completely agree with this review.  I honestly like this resource for something quick and fast when I am in a hurry. The price point is what rules it out. This could possibly be one of the most expensive resources in my library and I can't say that I need it that bad.

Posts 27
John D. Barry | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 19 2012 10:53 AM

Thank you for your feedback. I have no doubt that Logos Bible Software is capable of helping you do the kind of work shown in Lexham Bible Guides. Logos Bible Software is, among many other things, capable of saving you time. You all have different reasons for making your purchases with us, but saving time is one reason customers often cite. We took this value and applied it to Lexham Bible Guides—they take saving time to a whole new level. Not only do the Lexham Bible Guides summarize content from your library, point you to major issues you may not be aware of, and explain various viewpoints, they save you the time you would otherwise spend doing this work. We have professional researchers, with graduate level degrees (PhDs and MAs), working through all the material in a particular book to present you with what you need to know in an easy to use format. We curate and synthesize this information for you—all to save you time. We also include slides, professionally designed, to help you share this information easily in an elegant format.

Since we aim to give you what you need/may want in the process, there are links to content you may or may not own. These are meant to help you go further. However, you do not have to own that material for the Guides to be valuable. We’re already giving the basics of what’s covered there. If you’re writing a research paper, you would still want to look at the original source (because that’s good research), but if you’re using the material to preach from or glean the basics for a Sunday school class, small group discussion, or conversation on a particular topic, we give you everything you need to speak intelligently about the subjects covered. We take the best of what you glean from a Bible dictionary article and package it per literary unit. (Who said what on a debate? We have that info for you too.)

So, when evaluating the price of Lexham Bible Guides, consider the cost of hiring a research team to do this work for you. Consider the value of your time. Consider the value of the knowledge base we bring to the table with each book. Consider the expertise that is giving you time back for ministry, family, and writing. We are here to make your job easier and I think we’re doing that for a pretty good price.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 19 2012 11:07 AM

John D. Barry:

Thank you for your feedback. I have no doubt that Logos Bible Software is capable of helping you do the kind of work shown in Lexham Bible Guides. Logos Bible Software is, among many other things, capable of saving you time. You all have different reasons for making your purchases with us, but saving time is one reason customers often cite. We took this value and applied it to Lexham Bible Guides—they take saving time to a whole new level. Not only do the Lexham Bible Guides summarize content from your library, point you to major issues you may not be aware of, and explain various viewpoints, they save you the time you would otherwise spend doing this work. We have professional researchers, with graduate level degrees (PhDs and MAs), working through all the material in a particular book to present you with what you need to know in an easy to use format. We curate and synthesize this information for you—all to save you time. We also include slides, professionally designed, to help you share this information easily in an elegant format.

 

Since we aim to give you what you need/may want in the process, there are links to content you may or may not own. These are meant to help you go further. However, you do not have to own that material for the Guides to be valuable. We’re already giving the basics of what’s covered there. If you’re writing a research paper, you would still want to look at the original source (because that’s good research), but if you’re using the material to preach from or glean the basics for a Sunday school class, small group discussion, or conversation on a particular topic, we give you everything you need to speak intelligently about the subjects covered. We take the best of what you glean from a Bible dictionary article and package it per literary unit. (Who said what on a debate? We have that info for you too.)

 

So, when evaluating the price of Lexham Bible Guides, consider the cost of hiring a research team to do this work for you. Consider the value of your time. Consider the value of the knowledge base we bring to the table with each book. Consider the expertise that is giving you time back for ministry, family, and writing. We are here to make your job easier and I think we’re doing that for a pretty good price.

And what we are saying is that the material is not worth the $$$.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 19 2012 1:22 PM

tom:
And what we are saying is that the material is not worth the $$.

That is my belief also.

Posts 579
Andrew Baguley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 19 2012 1:59 PM

John D. Barry:

So, when evaluating the price of Lexham Bible Guides, consider the cost of hiring a research team to do this work for you. Consider the value of your time. Consider the value of the knowledge base we bring to the table with each book. Consider the expertise that is giving you time back for ministry, family, and writing. We are here to make your job easier and I think we’re doing that for a pretty good price.

Thanks for the response, John, but does Logos really think that the first 19 Lexham Bible Guides are worth $685, covering just Genesis, Ruth, Jonah, Luke, Paul's letters and 1 Peter, when the 59 volume Word Biblical Commentary series, covering most of the Bible, is available for $699?  

The two sets clearly do different things, but the research team who have worked on the Word Biblical Commentaries, the knowledge base being brought to each book and the expertise that has gone into writing them is surely not that much lower in quality than that being brought to bear in the Lexham Bible Guides, is it?  The price quoted for the Lexham Bible Guides is the pre-pub price, so set to rise, and the Ephesians volume has very few pages, especially compared to the 565-pages of closely argued text of the WBC Ephesians volume with its thousands of links to the Bible, TDNT, Josephus, Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls... (though admittedly not all the works that could have been linked have been, e.g. Talmud, Mishnah, commentaries including ICC, NICNT, Calvin..., but that's another issue).

It seems that the Word Biblical Commentaries are being sold to reap their return over a much longer period.  The Lexham Bible Guides would surely be more popular if they were more competitively priced, had more discussion of a scholarly nature and more links.  I still think they are a good idea, but they are much lighter than I was expecting, in terms of issues covered, depth of discussion, number of links and length of the text.  There is no promise of free future updates and many of the commentaries available in Logos receive no mention whatsoever.  If the Pastorum series is aimed at preachers, then why are these also aimed at preachers?  Personally, I would happily see the Pastorum guides and Bible guides combined into the same resource, with more issues covered, including contrasts within the introduction.  There is a really useful set waiting to be published by Logos, but I'm not sure that this is yet it...

 

Posts 737
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 19 2012 9:49 PM

tom:

And what we are saying is that the material is not worth the $$.

That's how I feel. It is the first time in 15 (?) years that I canceled a pre-pub and requested a refund on the Ephesians resource.

Armin

Posts 8893
fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 20 2012 2:57 AM

Andrew Baguley:

does Logos really think that the first 19 Lexham Bible Guides are worth $685, covering just Genesis, Ruth, Jonah, Luke, Paul's letters and 1 Peter, when the 59 volume Word Biblical Commentary series, covering most of the Bible, is available for $699?  

(...)  The price quoted for the Lexham Bible Guides is the pre-pub price, so set to rise

While the WBC, on the other hand, tends to be on sale third-party for $389-$499 several times a year (and usually in a package with loads of other books included as well).

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

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