On Choosing Which Bible Software to Use

Posted by on December 7, 2009 in Blog/Article Watch, General | 2 comments

It seems to me that Karyn Traphagen has opened a can of worms, and I mean that in a positive sense. Her question is, Should Schools or Students Choose Bible Software?

In my view, every school and every student should be free to choose, provided the software package in question is suitable for academic purposes. Schools should teach students how to use the tools of the trade, not tell them what tool to use (when there are comparable tools available, that is). Yes, this means more work for instructors –who would necessarily have to be acquainted with more than one program–, but it would also mean that students can learn the big picture about computer-assisted study and enrich one another when actually trying to apply those general rules to their particular brand of advanced Bible software.

And in case you worry about the additional burden of requiring computer skills from your students, instead of focusing on more biblical and theological matters, keep in mind that in many European institutions you need to learn a second modern language to get a degree, and it is taken for granted that you will know that language (and pass the exam!) by the time you graduate, without actually taking any classes at that particular seminary or university. Similarly, computer skills should probably be taken for granted, at least in Western countries. Let  professors worry about their own computer skills and command of different Bible software packages. Students will do just fine.

I personally like having different choices, and therefore, in my view, the decision should be yours and only yours. But whatever decision you make, make sure it is an informed decision and don’t let others do the thinking for you!

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  1. It’s probably more reasonable to have an official package, and if you want to use something else, you’ve got to take your own responsibility to learn how to use it.

  2. Thank you for drawing attention to the question I raised on my blog. I am grateful for the readers who are taking the time to write comments. I hope that the opinions expressed will help schools, teachers, and software companies think through the issues.


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