Now that Faithlife bought Wordsearch, what does it mean for users of both programs and where will Bible software go in the future?

In case you didn’t know, the publishers of Logos Bible Software and Proclaim Worship Software, Faithlife, bought Wordsearch Bible Software from LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. I shared a little about it here and at ChurchTechToday.com, where I sometimes write.

When we face significant changes, we feel afraid and wonder what will happen and how will it affect us. Those feelings will affect Wordsearch customers more than Logos customers. However, it will also offer some positive changes. We’ll look at both the negatives and the positives and then consider the future of Bible software.

Simplicity and Comfort with Wordsearch for Users

People who used Wordsearch for a long time liked that they could collect a large library of excellent Bible study tools and ministry books from excellent publishers. Wordsearch produced a lot of great digital content for their software users. Wordsearch also presented those excellent tools in a simple, familiar format. The program added features and changed the way it looked over time, but it always had a look that reminded us of Windows Explorer or macOS Finder. The list of content showed up in easy to recognize folders along the left, while the content showed up on the right. You could display a Bible in one window, a commentary in another, and notes in a third. It all made sense.

accordance bible software library

Moving from Wordsearch to another program felt more jarring than most moves because the other high-powered windows software looked very different. At least Accordance had the library list on the left. Logos hid their library in a drop-down list that you could open as a window and put on the left, but it took some work to set up a familiar layout that Wordsearch users would consider familiar.

logos bible software library

Disappearing ZipScript; Gone But Not Forgotten

ZipScript appealed to Wordsearch users and many of those trying to jump to Logos, the new Wordsearch overlords, experience consternation at seeing it go away when the program stops working. Understand that the deadline won’t come anytime soon. But one day it will quit.

ZipScript sat in the Windows Taskbar Ready anytime.

ZipScript ran in the background and grabbed scripture from a chosen Bible from the Wordsearch library. Users could quickly paste it into a Word document or some other text editor or even a website. It worked simply and elegantly.

zipscript verse chooser
ZipScript let you quickly insert Bible text into any document.

Logos has something similar in the Copy Bible Verse tool, but you have to open Logos to get at it. We’ll show you how to use Copy Bible Verses in Logos below.

logos bible software copy bible verses

And that leads me to some hope for Wordsearch users. You can do most of what you really love in Logos or some other third-party application. It will take some time and training to get the most out of it. So let’s look at the hopeful side of the buyout of Wordsearch by Faithlife.

Reasons for Hope for Both Logos and Wordsearch Bible Software Users

Logos users will experience the most hopefulness with the purchase of Wordsearch. Users now can access a large library of books and tools not available before in Logos.

The Complete Biblical Library includes a commentary and some language study tools to name a few resources. Logos didn’t offer this package until now. Wordsearch and Accordance did. That’s just one of the hundreds of books Logos users can now buy and use. More will become available as they finish converting the digital files into Logos book formats.

Wordsearch users will also get access to a lot of resources that weren’t available to them before. Both customer bases could buy thousands of Bibles, commentaries, reference books, and other titles. Now they can get even more.

In addition to more books, Wordsearch users willing to take the time to learn how to use the powerful and complex features in Logos 9 will discover that their new program is more like owning an aircraft carrier than a 400-foot luxury yacht. Both float in the water and both will get you across the Pacific Ocean, but one can do it in a simple familiar way while the other feels more like a highly technical piece of machinery ready to attack any task with skill and advanced expertise like nothing else in existence. I think Accordance would disagree with that last bit. It’s similarly powerful, but I hope you get the meaning of my flawed analogy.

I recommend that Wordsearch users patiently take the time to learn to use Logos. Here are a few ways to help…

The last recommendation above is important. Just because you won’t likely get any software updates in the future from Logos, the program will probably keep running fine until Microsoft updates Windows and breaks it. If that happens, then don’t upgrade windows. I’m guessing you can keep using Wordsearch for at least another year or more. That might extend for years, especially if you don’t mind staying on current versions of Windows. Eventually, however, it will shut down and you’ll have to move on.

The Future of Bible Software

Where will the Bible software community end up in a couple of years or longer? That’s a hard question to answer and I’ve never been a good prognosticator. I thought Covid would last a few weeks at most. But let’s give it a try.

Bible software is both expanding and contracting at the same time. Over at ChurchTechToday.com my editor, Lauren Hunter, wrote about the future of Bible software quoting Rick Meyers, the generous creator of e-Sword. He said…

 “This same decade has seen new Bible software companies emerge who are embracing these new hardware/platform changes. So, in the decade which saw WORDsearch first sold to LifeWay, and now to Faithlife, we have seen the rise of YouVersion. One generation of programmers hands off the baton to the next generation of programmers; meanwhile, God’s Word remains as popular as ever.”

I agree. We see more options for quality Bible software. At the same time, we now have fewer options for the advanced Bible study needed for academic Bible study or translating the Bible into more languages on the mission field.

With that, I think that Bible software companies that offer a strong online presence will win in the long run. And that means Logos. They are the only advanced Bible study option that works on all platforms including…

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Online
  • Chromebooks
  • Kindle

Others work on many of those like Olive Tree, but they don’t offer a website for Bible study. Accordance is in the same boat.

Some of the best online sites work great in a desktop browser, but not as well on mobile. Some of those show up as apps in the app store, but not all.

With the contraction of the number of powerful programs, it may seem like Bible software is in trouble. However, the big names are strong and not going anywhere soon. So, I’m hopeful.

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