Recently I had the opportunity to review one of the latest offerings from the folks at Logos Bible Software. For those of you who are not familiar with the company, this Bellevue, WA based company began providing a software platform for Bible study in 1991. They provide tools for complex Bible searches (and more) and digitize texts so you can use their software for study or as a digital library. Their software is currently in version 5, and I began using it when it was in version 2, so I’ve been following them for some time.
There have been a number of new initiatives at Logos. They’ve begun to “go social” with Bible study, making the FaithLife Study Bible. They have their own imprint, “Kirkdale Press,” from which they publish Christian fiction and other titles. And, what is most relevant to this review, they have begun to publish their own curriculum and material. “Mary: Devoted to God’s Plan” is the second in the “Studies in Faithful Living” series, which I will be reviewing.
The standalone resource can be purchased currently for $19.95 and is intended for individuals and group members. The full church curriculum adds a leader’s guide and collection of media resources for a total of $84.95. Herein lies the first challenge: there is no print version available, so your group members will need to purchase it digitally from Logos, and read/follow-along in one of a number of digital ways (desktop application, web app, mobile phone or tablet app). While the digital format has progressed to allow “writable answer boxes” I think many churches would appreciate the option of physical books. Perhaps Logos can provide a print run in the future.
How is the bundled content? I think churches will be pleased with the organization, presentation, and quality of the material. There are 8 chapters, and I appreciate that they are largely expositional; each chapter has a Scripture passage as its focus. In this way it is neither Catholic- nor Protestant-branded, but simply biblical. To help the pastor, there are pre-made powerpoint/keynote presentations as well as sermon notes and handouts. Whether pastors/church leaders use this as canned material, or whether they consult it as a reference on Mary for their own sermons and small group studies is up to them, but I am grateful that there is more material, rather than less. Among the media resources, I’m sure others will find images and infographics to be helpful, even if they want to make their own presentation. The discussion prompts and reflection questions help to consider Mary as a teenage mother, to see from her perspective, sympathize with her, and appreciate her faith.
Is this for you? You’ll have to determine whether its use personally or at your church warrants its price tag. Logos offers a 30-day refund policy, so I’d encourage you to purchase it and try it out if you’re interested. You have nothing to lose!