Re: Computers and misinterpretation of Scripture

From: Ruben Gomez (
Date: Wed Aug 05 1998 - 04:35:32 EDT

I want to thank all of you who contributed to this thread (I only get the
digested version of B-Greek, so there might be more to come). Thank you to
Carl Conrad and Jim West for his complimentary comments, and also to Mark &
Mary Markham, Wes Williams, and Jonathan Robie for their responses
(Christiane D'haese Radano does not really follow the same thread). I must
say that I am not new to the list. I have been around for quite sometime,
and have occasionally participated in some threads. I enjoy B-Greek, I
learn a lot and I'm glad to stop lurking when I feel I can make a positive
contribution. On the other hand, I keep remembering the words of an old
sage "Silence is beautiful, so if what you are about to say is not going to
improve it, then just keep quiet".

It seems that a couple of people did not quite understand what I was aiming
at with my previous post (the authorial intent, if you like). This fact has
been brought to my attention both on and off-list. Let me say, first of
all, that I was consciously trying to spark off some debate over this whole
area. Secondly, I didn't feel it would be a good idea for me to try to
answer my own questions, rather, I wanted to learn from your different
viewpoints by throwing in some general thought-provoking questions. I think
a bit of brainstorming is appropriate and healthy every now and again.

Having said that, and since I didn't include any titles or professional
information in my signature, let me say that I am ordained Baptist
minister, Bible Software Beta Tester and Freelance Translator, among other
things (I don't want to bore you...) So, it should be pretty obvious to
everyone that both my religious affiliation and my academic and
professional experience make me a firm believer in the fact that the Bible
is for the people, and not just for the academics, and that I warmly
welcome, endorse, and actively participate in the latest technical and
linguistic advancements of the top-notch Bible research programs out there.
So, in this hypothetical "Populist vs. Purist debate", to use Jonathan's
words, I am definitely on the populist side. Sorry if I gave the wrong

Nevertheless, I do believe that a word of caution is necessary here (and
THAT was the whole point of my post). Bible software technology is way
ahead the biblical and linguistic skills of most people. Therefore, IMHO,
we should all strive to equip everyone, and one another, to the best of our
ability, with some practical knowledge and advice on this matter, lest
every person with a computer and a fairly good Bible program thinks he/she
has already achieved THE only and real grasp on the Greek New Testament's
meaning. I, for one, miss a lot more critical thinking on everybody's part,
and think there are far too many dogmatic assertions on what such and such
a word or passage means in the original Greek.

So, to sum it all up. I'm hundred per cent in favour of computer-assisted
Bible study tools, and would like to see more people - laymen, students,
scholars or what have you - making use of its sheer power and ease of use.
On the other hand, I'm convinced that we need to counterbalance this with a
real willingness to study, to do the spade work, so to speak, and to know
how little we know, and how much remains to be known if we don't get
discouraged by the difficulties that lie ahead. The question is: Do we
settle for mediocrity and just put up with it and learn to live with it for
the rest of our lives? Or do we commit ourselves to academic excellence (as
London's University motto says) at its various stages - local church,
college, seminary, university? It is not a matter of academic pride or
elitism, but one of responsibility.

I hope this helps to clarify the intended meaning and more o less implicit
concern of my original post. Incidentally, I wish we had the original NT
authors around to tell us what their intended meaning was when they penned
and/or compiled their works. But there again, what would we do with B-Greek
if that were the case? ;-)


Ruben Gomez

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