Make A List; Check It Twice
This is a good time of year for me to remind you and you of an important principle: don’t listen to Logos when they let their marketing folks write the following:
The sheer volume of content in Logos base packages makes them incredibly valuable.
There’s a fundamental error here—or at least a faulty assumption: quantity and quality are not the same thing, even in products from an excellent company like Logos. In a given year I use a relatively small percentage of my Logos resources. Here’s what I use most frequently:
- Bibles: ESV, NIrV, GNT, BHS
- Bible Dictionaries (like the NDBT, NDT, NBD, etc.)
- A number of journals
- Systematics (like Grudem and Hodge)
- Assorted individual books (Piper, Schreiner, Levinsohn, etc.)
The money I spent on the above resources also purchased for me a great quantity of other materials, much of which is simply of lower quality than the stuff I do use. I simply don’t have the time or inclination to check everything my library has to say about a given passage—much as it would be a waste of time to check everything my school’s library says about it. When I have top-level resources, I don’t generally need to check low-level ones. So I’ve “hidden” the following resources:
- The Pulpit Commentary (not helpful; out of date)
- Semeia (typically too liberal and arcane)
- Wilmington’s Bible Handbook
- Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists
- Preach for a Year #s 1 and 2 (sermon outlines; yech)
- Bob Utley’s various commentaries
There may come a time when introductory level works are useful for me if I teach a discipleship class, but for now the NICOT, NICNT, NIGTC, NAC, WBC, TOTC, PNTC, and BST series (plus a few more) are more than adequate for my research needs. I paid good money for what I use, but I paid for quality, not quantity. Don’t get a baseball-card mentality when it comes to buying books. Your collection’s value may actually decrease with size; it can be hard to wade through junk.
So make a list of what you’ll actually use and check it twice against “analog” book prices before you buy. Your list will likely look different from mine (for example, I use BDAG and notes in BibleWorks, not Logos), but you’ve got to make one or you may waste money.