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The "Business" of Bible Software

Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Logos Research Systems, blogs about whether Bible software should be considered just like any other business or there is something more to it. Interesting discussion, coming from someone who's directly involved in the Bible software industry. Is competition a good thing? Well, I think so. Should Bible software companies make profit? Certainly! So what's special about it? It seems to me that the unique feature lies in the fact that this industry should be both a business and a ministry (in the strictest sense of the Greek term DIAKONIA). If we lose the vocational nature of Bible software, I think we'll end up with just another (legitimate) way of making a living. I'd like to think that selling potatoes or cloths is not quite the same as selling Bible software (or teaching theology, or being involved in another full-time ministry, for that matter). Some people choose to make their products available as freeware or shareware, while others commit themselves to developing commercial Bible software. It is their choice, and I don't see anything ethically or Biblically wrong about either approach. And once the commercial alternative is pursued, it is taken for granted that there will be some measure of competition (which is also present, BTW, among freeware/shareware applications). Having said that, from the viewpoint of Bible software users it is important to note that no single product will satisfy everyone's needs. It is true that many of the features in most Bible software packages overlap to some degree. But it is equally true that there is some complementarity as well. Not all users have the same needs, and so it shouldn't be too difficult to find the software that best suits our personal interests and needs, whatever they might be. And this brings me to my last point: I think the price of Bible software should be reasonable enough so that people could actually afford to use more than one package. This may not be necessary for those using the software for personal study and general teaching, but it is a must for users involved in an academic study of the Scriptures.

Ideally, then, Bible software companies should strike a balance between business and ministry. Yeah, I know. It's easy to say, but very hard to do. However, just because something is hard doesn't mean we must give up, right?


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 18, 2004 10:00 AM.

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