Does Logos Really Save You Time?

It depends on the meaning of “save.”

Time is very important to us in our busy world. Most of us feel like we never have enough of it. There are so many good and important things vying for our time. That’s why we in the marketing department like to stress how much time Logos can save you. Pastors can greatly reduce the amount of time they spend preparing sermons by not having to (1) pull print books off shelves, (2) look up references in hard-to-read indexes, (3) turn pages by hand, and (4) type out things they want to quote. By running the Passage Guide and the Exegetical Guide, they have instant access to a wealth of information at the click of a mouse.

But I wonder how it really works in the real world. Do pastors who used to spend 15 hours a week doing sermon prep with paper books now spend only 7 or 8 hours with Logos? Do they “save” time in the sense of spending less than they used to?

I was talking with a pastor recently who just got Scholar’s Library: Gold, our biggest collection of resources. After he finished installing it and started exploring all the features and books, his wife began to wonder what to think of his new toy—I mean, tool. Would she now have even less time to spend with her husband? I tried to reassure her that Logos would in theory give her husband more time to spend with her, not less.

The pastor replied to me later in an email—half joking, I think—that instead of taking half the time, his sermons might actually take him twice as long to prepare, considering how much fun he was having digging into such a huge library of resources!

While it’s true that Logos greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to perform certain Bible study tasks, it’s possible that you may find yourself, like this pastor, enjoying your sermon prep so much that instead of spending less time, you’re actually spending as much time or more—and turning out a better product. Now, to be sure, Logos is still helping you “save” time, even if you do end up spending more of it than you used it. How so? With Logos you can be far more productive. Your time is better spent because less of it is wasted. And less wasted time means more time saved.

Whether you’re spending more or less time than you used to spend, the biggest benefit of Logos is how it dramatically improves your efficiency and quality of study. So in either sense, Logos does really save you time by enabling you to get more done—in whatever length of time you choose to spend—than you could with your print library.

I’m curious to hear from our pastors. Which category do you generally fall into? Do you find yourself spending less time now that you use Logos? Or do you just prepare a better sermon in the same block of time?

Comments

  1. Jason Siemens says:

    What I have found is that over the years my sermon prep has gotten shorter due to the demands on my time, but with Logos I’m still able to do in depth study and I feel that my sermons are getting better all the time. What I find is that I know to use Logos so can get the information I need in mere seconds by opening my workspace, running my passage guide to get my commentaries I want, and search my entire Library for passage. I then have all the information I need at my finger tips as I prepare. I have dual monitors so have Logos open on one side, my Word document on the other and go back and forth as I write my outline. I could never do that with print books. And now that my 2 favorite print commentaries are coming, Lenski and People’s Bible Commentary, I won’t have to have any books open on my desk as I prepare.
    Does it save time, absolutely, as it helps me work the most efficiently as I can with the time that I have.

  2. Pastor Rob says:

    Having Logos at my disposal has changed my life. Logos does save me time. I have not gone to the seminary library to work on a sermon in years. All I need is right there! However, I struggle with information overload. I don’t know how to not feel like I have to look at every single commentary or resource, in case I missed something. Sometimes I am reading the same observation about a verse in several commentaries…then I feel like I am wasting time. But I would rather have all of these resources than just a Matthew Henry (that’s all I had back in the day!). But I am reminded that much is required to whom much is given!

  3. It’s a decade-old question – do computers really save time? They certainly can if that’s your goal, you have the expertise, and you’re disciplined. Simply using the multiple bible versions side by side plug-in and nothing else makes things dramatically faster, especially when you have the color coding what changed between versions (plug: the color coding really should be in any base edition, not only in the expensive ones, with everyone else having to buy it separately. Plug 2: while it’s probably a licensing issue with the publisher, having the Amplified version would be awesome).

  4. Ted Hans says:

    Hi Phil Since i could not improve on your comments i will quote you
    “the biggest benefit of Logos is how it dramatically improves your efficiency and quality of study” THIS IS TRUE
    “how much fun he was having digging into such a huge library of resources” AMAZING WHAT RESEARCH ONE CAN DO & ITS SEARCH CAPABILITY IS BEYOND BELIEF!
    “While it’s true that Logos greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to perform certain Bible study tasks, it’s possible that you may find yourself, like this pastor, enjoying your sermon prep so much that instead of spending less time, you’re actually spending as much time or more—and turning out a better product. Now, to be sure, Logos is still helping you “save” time, even if you do end up spending more of it than you used it. How so? With Logos you can be far more productive. Your time is better spent because less of it is wasted. And less wasted time means more time saved”. TIME FLIES AWAY WHEN I AM USING LOGOS AND I GET A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE PASSAGE I AM STUDYING.

  5. Great comments, guys.
    Joe, the Amplified Bible is available as part of the NAS Electronic Bible Library.

  6. I’m a student, not a pastor, but I do manage to preach about once a month. I bought Logos Silver just before I started my MA. Having access to hundreds of books at all times has allowed me to attend school, work 26-40 hours per week at a retail job and still have time to preach once a month and teach Sunday school two or three times a month. Of course if I didn’t spend so much on books I wouldn’t have to work so much :) Logos hasn’t so much ‘saved’ me time as much as allowing me to do so much more with the time I have. I plan to work overseas and consider Logos a godsend for both the present and the future.

  7. Thanks for this. I am writing an article for Christian Computing magazine on this very topic and this discussion has been a real aid in helping me focus my thoughts. For my opinion come check us out at http://www.ccmag.com.

  8. Personally I don’t believe that Logos saves me time but it does enable me to make better use of my time and to get through more material in the same time. I could not physically own a ‘real’ library the size of my digital library and if I could I would spend more time looking for books and trawling through indexes that I would reading. I see the benefits in sermon preparation, general study and even when I’m just browsing.

  9. I find that with so many resources, I am doing so much more study–thus spending more time in study.I find that I love to just go deeper and deeper into the text. It’s all very stimulating. Sure wish Logos was around when I was in Seminary in the early 80′s.

  10. Dan DeVilder says:

    I will always be grateful and excited about Logos. There is no doubt it saves time in looking at resources that are pulled up through the Passage Guide, or especially being able to instantly mouse over bible references to double check those German theologian’s work. :) But there are some things where it takes more time: not knowing how to do something, fumbling around with some areas that are not so smooth or bug free, like the note files. Also, with books on the shelf, I can pan over them and easily visually see what I have. That is sometimes rewarded by seeing a work that is relevant. With Logos, it is not always so easy or visual, even with the different groupings one can do. It sure has quirks, but still, I love it and pour money into it!

  11. I am a missionary and grad student, not a pastor, but I do use logos nearly daily to prepare lessons, sermons, or to write exegetical papers. I think that it does save time, but it is possible to waste time with it. One must be disciplined and stay on task. I usually set goals before a study session, and that helps tremendously. It is much like being in a large seminary library; the options are almost limitless, and wasting time is possible. For me, discipline is the answer.

  12. Dale Durnell says:

    Phil,
    I still spend a great amount of time on my sermon preparation. But, instead of dragging books off the shelf, I have many of those resources available in Libronix.
    I don’t know of many pastors who feel they ever have enough time for sermon preparation (unless they have a mega staff to do the majority of the work). So the challenge is to work smarter. I believe Libronix has allowed me to do just that.
    One of the first things I do in sermon prep is to review many Bible translations. Having them on my computer makes that task easier.
    I also like to bring my work home with me — I have never always prepared my sermon in my study at the church. Rather, in the evenings, I will work at the parsonage in preparing my sermons also. However, with Libronix, I’m not required to lug home a sack of books from my library — it’s on my computer at the house as well as at the office.
    And, anymore, when I’m out of town on a trip, I can take my laptop with Libronix software loaded and keep on working — regardless of where I find myself.
    So, to answer your original question — I do not spend any less time on my sermons than I ever did. But, I like to think that the advent of computer technology for Bible study — I can get more accomplished in that same time.
    Blessings,
    Dale

  13. Edwin Bowden says:

    I have a large library. I have been teaching through the Bible for 40 years. Each time that I prepare to teach a book of the Bible again, I review the titles on my shelf and add some newer titles.
    I have used different Bible software for years. I always thought that I did not need electronic versions of titles that were already on my shelf.
    After purchasing Logos software last fall, I experienced a paradigm shift. I now prefer the ease and thoroughness of searching through the resources using Logos. I recently wanted to see what the A.B. Bruce classic The Training of the Twelve had to say about a passage. I accessed it through Logos and was blown away. I realized that the title had sat on my shelf for decades without being used, but now I was benefiting from it through Logos.
    I am able to organize materials electronically for use in my Sunday School class that would have been unrealistic to do without Logos.
    I look forward to adding more Logos resources in the years to come. I also look forward to learning how to better use Logos at Camp Logos next month.

  14. Working on my masters at seminary have to write a paper with, minimum, 15 sources. Had Libronix do a search for me; had over 100 sources in 5 minutes. my biggest problem is what “not” to use!!!

  15. Save time? Sorta…
    I can do the same task in less time, but now I just do more, and that can take more time. That’s how computers work. I do not spend any less time in preparation, I can just prepare for more things or more thoroughly in the same amount of time.