Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bible Software and the Decline of Wisdom

I first began using Bible software in the early '90s, back when it came on 5 1/4" floppy disks. It provided nearly instant access to the Bible in numerous translations, as well as Hebrew and Greek.

Today Bible software remains useful. I have access to more than a dozen Bible versions on my primary Bible software, as well as the ability to call up thousands of pages of reference works such as commentaries, study notes, entire books, and more. If we don't have Bible software, we can easily go online to places such as Bible Gateway and search more than 100 versions in similar fashion.

But if misused, Bible software contributes to a decline of wisdom, diminishes our ability to internalize God's Word wisely, allows us to overlook the importance of context, and can turn our study of the Bible into a search for material to support our preconceptions.

Bible software can also contribute, ironically, to biblical illiteracy. For example, some may no longer see a need to internalize Scripture by memorizing portions of it. After all, if the entire Bible is at our fingertips via software, why bother memorizing it? Or why bother studying it?

In addition, a search for a key word or phrase may simply serve as a way to support personal prejudices. If we search for what we'd like to find, facilitated by Bible software, we will probably find what we want. But at what expense? We may end up with a laundry list of verses, but are they interpreted in context?

If we apply the Google mentality to Bible software searches, we're in trouble. God's Word does not work that way. We can't merely expect to look at some of the top "hits" and find what we want, much less understand it.

Bible software does offer many benefits, but our usage of it must be tempered. We cannot become so enamored with the many abilities of Bible software that we lose sight of the pursuit of wisdom and understanding when it comes to Bible study and reading.

The Bible is much more than digital fragments -- it is a cohesive whole, meant to be savored, studied, pondered, internalized, and understood in a proper context.

1 comment:

Nick said...

When I started growing in my faith I had used Google to find answers myself, and sadly it resulted in me getting extremely confused by many different sites with either verses taken out of context, personal opinions of other Christians on what they're referring to, famous preachers who either say the right things or may not be interpreting them properly in even the best of intentions, and at worst anonymous people who may just be out there to lie and mess with you. It made me realize that the internet can be a very dangerous place for biblical doctrine if the facts aren't completely straight. There's a lot of doctrines floating around, but there's only one truth and only one that can be right.