Searching for resources on the danger of Bible study tools.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Jun 23 2021 3:28 PM

Yes, I am serious. Yes, I am struggling to find the correct way to frame with question. First, think in terms of education - are there any studies on how particular Bible study tools effect Bible learning? Then take it to the next step - are there any studies on becoming too reliant on the study tools (think, to the neglect of the text itself)?

Or for those who love methodology (and imagery) as much as I, has anyone written what happens when we wrap the Word of God in so many layers of methods, tools, and techniques that we are forever "peeling the onion" and never getting to the core?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 3:44 PM

I am not aware of anything to your specific question. But back in school I did read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, where he speaks quite a bit about how different medias have different cultures. And as much as we would like to pretend otherwise, in spite of this software being in many ways Book/Resource centered, it is NOT bringing back an old style Print Culture.

But then again, I am reminded of the University Science Professor who pointed out to us that Albert Einstein didn't have the value of the Speed of Light memorized, since he could look it up whenever he needed to do so. And being able to do so let him do his thought experiments that gave us so many insights into Physics, and what Time and Space indeed are. There are opportunities in being freed from some of the grunt work - as long as we are able to use the saved time to actually be PRODUCTIVE.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Rick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 3:57 PM

Larosa Johnson had a blog post that gave a few examples of why he prefers to use a physical Bible over an app. It might not be as in depth as you are looking for though.

Link: https://biblestudy.tips/physical-bible/ 

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 4:36 PM

MJ. Smith:
First, think in terms of education - are there any studies on how particular Bible study tools effect Bible learning? Then take it to the next step - are there any studies on becoming too reliant on the study tools (think, to the neglect of the text itself)?

I think you're asking an impossible question, and probably resources to answer it.

If you lived at Mt Athos (ignoring gender), would such a question even make sense?  I don't know.

I spent the proverbial (and literal) solid 5-figures on Logos to answer a single question. Now that the question is answered, the software has no more significant value. A Bible is fine.

I grew up in the slice-it-dice-it not-a-denomination, only to be shocked at the ceremonial and mystical ... could 'the text' ever deliver that?

I guess it depends on the destination ... and you're far more knowledgable about that.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 4:48 PM

DMB:
If you lived at Mt Athos (ignoring gender), would such a question even make sense?  I don't know.

I suspect they would get stuck a step earlier on bibliolatry where the Bible as text becomes more important than the Living Word of God.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 5:03 PM

I know of no studies. 

I think the 'danger' of almost any Bible study tool is that it can short-circuit thinking, the work of the Holy Spirit, and personal reflection. If we treat the tool as the instrument to give us the answer, we are in danger because we'll only discover what the tool can deliver.

Tools are wonderful. I was glad for my first concordance and first copy of Nave's Topical Bible. I am of the opinion, however, that one learns the Bible not primarily through tools, but through spiritually open repeated reading of and reflecting on the text. Somehow early Christians loved God intensely and were his instruments in explosively growing the church with few, if any, Bible tools. Tool collecting and using can be a hobby in itself and owning a pile of tools may not result in one becoming more Christ-like living or greater fruitfulness for God.

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Bob | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 5:52 PM

Mark Smith:

I know of no studies. 

I think the 'danger' of almost any Bible study tool is that it can short-circuit thinking, the work of the Holy Spirit, and personal reflection. If we treat the tool as the instrument to give us the answer, we are in danger because we'll only discover what the tool can deliver.

Tools are wonderful. I was glad for my first concordance and first copy of Nave's Topical Bible. I am of the opinion, however, that one learns the Bible not primarily through tools, but through spiritually open repeated reading of and reflecting on the text. Somehow early Christians loved God intensely and were his instruments in explosively growing the church with few, if any, Bible tools. Tool collecting and using can be a hobby in itself and owning a pile of tools may not result in one becoming more Christ-like living or greater fruitfulness for God.

I agree wholeheartedly.  Personally, I have found that the information in the tools have increased my thinking and personal reflection and trying to listen to the Holy Spirit.   I have had to grow out of my own small world of church to explore other viewpoints,  mainly non-essential viewpoints.  The tools allow me to have a better understanding of differing interpretations.  So many of you, I can tell, are way more intelligent in these matters than I am.  I do find the tools helpful in expanding my understanding of scripture.  I always remember the saying, “what you know, may not be so”.

Bob

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 5:56 PM

MJ. Smith:
has anyone written what happens when we wrap the Word of God in so many layers of methods, tools, and techniques that we are forever "peeling the onion" and never getting to the core?

I did find this:

THE LAST WORD

Here’s the bottom line on Bible study tools: I have traveled in many parts of the world where even the best-equipped pastors have only a study Bible, a concordance, and perhaps a Bible dictionary. Three or four books at most—and no computer resources at all! These pastors have learned how to study the Scriptures inductively on their own, without relying on commentaries or other tools. It is interesting to note that most of the church growth worldwide is currently occurring in these third-world countries. Clearly, having a huge library of books is not the most important factor. You can buy the best Bible study tools available and still not be a good Bible student.
I don’t mean to downplay the usefulness of these many resources (and certainly in the United States we are blessed to have so much help available), but I do want to emphasize the importance of desiring “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2).
Heitzig, S. (2002). How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It (pp. 25–26). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale.

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Beside the study materials and your own creative approach to Bible study, there are other resources that provide help in group study. I suggest the following Bible study tools, in descending order of importance:
1. A good study Bible. (The NIV Study Bible is excellent, but there are other good choices.)
2. A good concordance—either in back of a study Bible or a complete concordance like Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or Young’s.
3. A Bible dictionary or encyclopedia.
4. A book-by-book analysis of each book of the Bible including author, recipients, date, purpose, setting and outline—a good study Bible has one, but Unger’s and Eerdman’s handbooks are helpful.
5. A good commentary.
Arnold, J., & Black, S. (1992). The big book on small groups. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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But I also found this:-

STUDY LIKE A PRO

Cutting-Edge Tools for Bible Teachers

Two New Features in Logos 8: A Step-by-Step User’s Guide and a Hub for Theological Studies

By Mark L. Ward, Jr.

Every new resource in biblical studies seems to want to promise benefits for everyone, from layperson to biblical scholar. Logos 8 is no exception—and it delivers. But two features in Logos 8 are designed not so much to help laypeople and scholars study the Bible, but to help them teach the Bible. (And if they learn something as well, so much the better.)
Ward, M. L., Jr. (2018). Study like a Pro: Cutting-Edge Tools for Bible Teachers. Bible Study Magazine Vol 11,1


STUDY BIBLES

Faithlife Study Bible: To engage the Bible at a deeper level, a solid study Bible is a must. The Faithlife Study Bible is unique because its notes are based on the Hebrew and Greek text of Scripture. This means the insights you’ll find are unpacking the meaning of the original languages, rather than explaining a specific English translation.
Study Tools: Resources for Deeper Bible Study. (2019). Bible Study Magazine Vol 11,6

DIGITAL STUDY TOOLS      

Logos Bible Software: Logos is more than a software program. It’s a massive Bible study library with built-in tools and resources—everything you need to dig into the Bible.
Study Tools: Resources for Deeper Bible Study. (2019). Bible Study Magazine Vol 11,6

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from a Basic Search of study NEAR tools NEAR bible

Dave
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 23 2021 9:22 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded ... I've gotten some food for thought that should lead to productive searches.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 24 2021 4:21 PM

DMB:
I spent the proverbial (and literal) solid 5-figures on Logos to answer a single question. Now that the question is answered, the software has no more significant value.

Way to make me curious about the question.

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