Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

12Apr/100

Thoughts on the Future of the Bible…

The Bible daily becomes more and more accessible to the world through increased literacy, cheap printing methods, and online downloads…the problem, however, is that the people now reading the Word of God do not know how to find it’s true meaning.

I, myself, have struggled with this very problem for most of my own life. My affection for sermons and books comes from a dependence upon other people, whom I trust to interpret the Word of God accurately in my ignorance.

In my previous small group, it was requested that we take time apart from study guides to study a book of the Bible directly, and I specifically avoided doing so because of my fear of misinterpreting the text.

In my time here, I have spent time specifically learning how to study the Bible on an academic level, and in a small group setting, thanks both to my school and my church. I am grateful for the opportunity to sit under men who have spent time learning to facilitate group discussion. I am elated to be listening to the instruction of men who have spent their entire careers studying the Word of God and translating many of the English Bibles we use today, including the newly released Lexham English Bible.

Unfortunately, the proper tools for proper Bible interpretation are still largely inaccessible. The most used English Bible interpretations are not free electronically (NIV, NASB, NKJV, MSG, NCV, NLT) and the only commentaries and lexical aids available are those that are so old they are outside copyright protection. These commentaries, like the one by Matthew Henry, are not helpful in understanding the text, since they mainly rely upon a limited understanding of Greek and the context of first century Israel. Dictionaries and Commentaries (IVP Bible Background Commentary and the TDNT) and Lexical Aids like BDAG and HALOT are $100+ a copy, in print or electronically. Bible Software with relatively helpful and accurate commentaries cost from $200 up to $2,000.

Scholars and teachers in the Christian circles get paid poorly enough, so I do no wish to downplay what little royalties they receive, however, I dearly hope that we can make these resources cheaper and cheaper in the future. In this respect, I do recommend to the computer user, The Word Bible Software, which is available freely and includes some original language tools, and iLumina Software, which is the best commentary-type resource I can find for the price.

The Word Bible Software

 

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I am also extremely hopeful that we can start teaching our church members, especially our small group leaders, to lead Bible studies with a accurate understanding of the text. I think the Bible is a book that needs to be experienced in a group setting apart from listening to the pastor lecture from the pulpit. I think it is powerful and life changing to discuss the text at every level, and I hope to help men and women feel more confident in leading those discussions in the future.

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