So there is a rising trend that has me concerned. We know that some passages of Scripture are quite straightforward but others are not quite so. Some passages require some effort and research.
I was sitting in a Sabbath School class and the question was, “what is Armageddon?”. One member of the class whipped out their phone and did a Google search.
I was in a church Bible study and we were discussing 1Corinthians 14:34 (let the women keep silent in churches), and while the facilitator was breaking down how we should study and interpret the Bible one member of the church brought forward the answer they found in a Google search.
There was a question raised in a WhatsApp group I am in. The question was about wine (topic for another day) and I had to fight back the thought that someone would just go pick up an explanation from Google and paste it on the group. I even wanted to check some answers on Google.
Should we really be using Google for Bible study? Sola Scriptura and Googlia? Is there a line to draw?
Well… It’s not all so cut and dried but I can definitely tell you some pointers.
Google is a powerful tool. But it must be used right.
It is certainly helpful when looking up definitions of words. Google is also a great place to find out the historical backgrounds and settings, giving more context to Biblical passage. It is also very useful when it comes to bringing forward the popular belief (which is not always a good thing if you are unsure). It is also a great way to bring up a compilation of different theories (again this could be bad) and allows one to see from different perspectives and not just see their own voice echoed.
We must realise its limits. Running a Google search will only retreive what you ask it for and will bring forward the most optimised results first. And first does not always mean best in this case.
Popular does not always mean correct. We don’t know who is writing the articles we read on the net half the time. I mean, what do you think Google would have had to say about Noah if it was back in his day?
So what do we do?
I would suggest:
1. Pray. Pray. Pray – Whenever we are going to study scripture we should imvite the Author of scripture to guide our minds. The Spirit should guide us into all truth (John 16:13) as He is willing to do. Even with straight forward scripture.
2. Bible interprets the Bible – Back to basics. Sola Scriptura. Let the Bible interpret itself. Where there seems to be something that is confusing, there is surely a place in the Bible where the same principle is spelt out more clearly.
Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:10)
To the law and to the testimony, if they speak no according to this word it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
We see the New Testament writers use Old Testament Scripture this way. Building their belief on the established Word of God.
3. Get a solid grounded Bible answer – Dont be lazy. God is not trying to hide from us. Actually He longs to bring us into full knowledge (as far as we can) to who He is. So before checking concordances and commentaries, check the passages in and around that same text. Check similar situations of the same principle in the rest of the Bible. Even see where similar words show up in scripture. Study to show yourself approved (2Timothy 2:15)
4. Hold fast – it would be worthless to study and then come away and have no change in your life.
Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
So Google is not our Bible study enemy but always make sure that it is a tool used correctly if you need to use it at all. Don’t let doctrine be based on “but Google said….”, But on a clear, “It is written.”