Note: This was originally posted on my personal blog in December, 2005.
In the computer age, bible study is no different than stock investing. There’s such a thing as ‘information overload’. Years ago you would have to go to the library, search through the Dewey decimal system, pull your books from the shelves, make photo copies of what you wanted, then gather everything together everything you wanted on a particular topic.
Computers and the internet have changed all of that. Years ago, men would sit down on a Saturday and literally graph out the stocks they were interested in. Image the time that would take to research ten stocks. Now, in less than a minute, I can pull up any stock I want, imput the parameters I want, refresh the screen, and print out the chart. There are tons of investing websites on the internet, all eagerly trying to get you to sign up for their monthly subscription.
With the internet, I can find books on any subject I want, and with a few clicks order them immediately. I can decide if I want a new or used selection or if I want paperback or hardbound. In a few days it magically appears at my doorstep.
The study of religion has its own share of information overload. There are many, many translations of the bible. I’m not talking about bibles in languages other than English. I’m talking about translations within the English language. Of course, you have the traditional King James Version, then there is the King James Version – 1611. From there you can go to the New King James Version (another one I like) and the New International Version (NIV). There are probably a hundred other translations, all claiming to be the most accurate one available. Naturally, they are all available on computer software packages, which is a whole other topic.
From there go investigate the various ministries around the world. Certainly everyone has heard of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham; but all of the radio and TV evangelists have their own website – all promoting their products. What to go to school – tons and I mean tons of either actual seminary, on line, or correspondence classes are available. Prices go all the way from free to thousands of dollars a year.
Want to study a particular theme, doctrine, or book of the bible? It’s easy to do once you decide if you want cassette, CD, DVD, or book version. Let’s not forget the mp3 versions. Many preachers are putting their sermons on the web for free download. Missed Charles Stanley’s Sunday sermon? No problem, just go to his website and watch it.
In all of this, it’s easy to get lost by wasting time exploring the internet.
The bottom line – grab one (or two) versions of the bible that you like, sit down, and read it. If you want, get a dry yellow highlighter (no not the regular kinds, but one made for thin paper such as bibles), a pad, and take some notes. A good commentary doesn’t help either as well as a bible dictionary and atlas. Turn off the radio, CD, TV, and computer.
That’s really all you need, along with the desire to study the bible. Just remember the KISS philosophy – Keep It Simple Stupid.
Read and meditate on the word. Read it again and again.
I’d like to comment some more on this topic, but right now the book of Acts is calling me.