Like just about everybody else, I spend my days online during the pandemic. Well, actually, I spent my days online before that since I’m a remote worker. Even before that, when spending a considerable part of each day commuting to and from New York City, once I got there I’d sit in a cubicle and work online all day anyway. To borrow a tagline, the truth is out there. Somewhere on the internet, I think. Probably on the deep web, but I understand that’s a scary place. I’m not sure why it is that I started receiving email ads for something called Virtual Bible Study. I suppose I spend enough time, and my computer eats enough cookies on Bible Gateway that the Virtual Bible Study people think I’m the typical customer.
Having led many Bible studies in my life, and having taught biblical studies professionally, I’m aware that you can never learn it all. Indeed, biblical study is the original never-ending story. Stay with it long enough and you’ll earn plenty of enemies. Recently my mother was telling me that she’s doing a Bible Study where you follow a schedule and read the “liner notes” that come with a particular curriculum. She mentioned to me that she was having trouble with Deuteronomy 28. It’s a chapter with which I’m quite familiar. I remember reading it as a young person and being terror-struck by it (those who wonder what horror might have to do with the Good Book ought to read it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. You can find it on Bible Gateway.). This is one of those places where God spells out the blessings (somewhat limited) for obedience and the curses (very many) for failure. The list is long and terrible. I’m not a chapter-and-verse citer, but from my very first read-through of the Bible I could tell you what was in Deuteronomy 28. It was burned into my memory.
I do have to wonder about the efficacy of online Bible Study. I sure do appreciate not having to look everything up in a print concordance any more. That was quite a time-consuming activity and you needed to be very familiar with the particular version you were using to make it work. I know I grouse a bit about technology on this blog, but given my vocation, and avocation, I sure like having Google on my side when I need to look up a verse that I can only partially recall. I do have to wonder, however, since the truth is out there, whether anybody’s found a good way to comfort their elders who get stuck on the curses that essentially wrap up the covenant in good old Deuteronomy.