Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

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Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Lee Moses » November 30th, 2011, 1:17 pm

In his introduction, Vivek from India made an interesting comment. He wrote,

I love greek and use it every week...but using BibleWorks has made me slightly dull (parsing help)


This made me wonder, Does Bible software help or hinder actual Greek reading skills?
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby NathanSmith » December 1st, 2011, 2:12 am

I have never been much for Bible software in general. Sure the searching and cross-referencing capabilities are fantastic, but it will not help you understand the language any more. I think when lexical aides are just a mouse hover away it actually hinders vocabulary acquisition.

But do many people read as such from Bible study software? I only have used it for research.
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby George F Somsel » December 1st, 2011, 2:29 am

I have used Logos bible software for years. In my experience whether it helps or hinders depends on how it is used. I could check everything with the software so that I become dependent upon the software to provide all of the answers. On the other hand, I could do what has been my practice which is to only check those items where I have any question and then only AFTER I have made my own judgment on it. This can be extrapolated to almost any tool other than a bare text. With an interlinear, however, it is virtually impossible to ignore the "helps" provided since they are right there staring you in the face, and I can guarantee that, if your primary language is English, your eye will go to the English line first so I would strongly recommend that interlinears be avoided like the plague they are. If you use an interlinear, it is almost assured that you will never become proficient in Greek (or Hebrew).
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Lee Moses » December 1st, 2011, 1:39 pm

I have been reading the Greek New Testament at varying levels for about 10 years now, but it is only about the past year and a half or so that I acquired BibleWorks. Since I acquired it, I do some Greek and Hebrew reading from it. Like George, I try not to use the helps immediately. As I mentioned in the other thread, while I may use the parsing info when I do not immediate recognize a form, I will also quickly go to the paradigms and go through the conjugation I failed to identify. It seems if someone uses the lexical/parsing information sparingly, but yet has it quickly available for difficult words and forms, it would develop reading skills just as well as, if not better than, using, say, a "Reader's Greek New Testament."
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Barry Hofstetter » December 1st, 2011, 5:56 pm

I had already been doing Greek (and Latin) for many years before any kind of Bible software was available. By the time I started Hebrew, DOS and early Mac versions of some of these were starting to come out. My experience, and what I have seen in many others: if you know the languages well, such software can be a fantastic tool, save lots of time, and so forth. If you don't, it's simply a hindrance to learning, and I have seen many people come to interpretive conclusions based on the "original languages" that have very little to do with what the text actually says. It's the old problems of "concordance Greek" on steroids. Learn Greek (and Hebrew) first and well, then have fun with the software.
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Vivek Jones » December 9th, 2011, 2:29 am

i know I triggered this discussion. I agree that BW can be a great tool. But here's my story. I aced greek in seminary. I was sharp. I could read and translate and bring the nuance of the text (please don't think I am boasting as I'm soon gonna bring myself down). But as soon as I got into ministry, I was given BW. I loved the tool. I loved many features it provided-like in 2 clicks get all the imperatives in the book of Romans. That was like Wow! But before I knew it, i disregarded my GNT and started weekly sermon preps on BW. So as i looked at the greek, i thought "Ah I know it (parsing)" but my eyes quickly drifted over the translation below. Before very long i found myself dragging my mouse over some of the greek to see the parsing still saying "I kinda knew it". A bit later I was always looking at each word "just for confirmation". And before i knew it, I couldn't translate anymore without help. Now, I knew it all along that I was losing it. But then did not have the guts to discipline myself as I had gone all the way into it.
BW can be a great tool if used with great discretion. I was unwise. Today I confess it to anyone I meet and I am recovering/reviving my parsing skills. I think looking at exegetical commentaries early on in sermon prep also does the same damage to your syntactical skills. Oh I love them but now I use them only in the final stages as a check.
All these tools are like having a Ferrari and not knowing how to control the speed (illustration taken from Dr. Con Campbell's book on Keep your Greek). You can do much or you could die in a wreck. I almost died!
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Barry Hofstetter » December 10th, 2011, 8:46 am

Vivek Jones wrote:BW can be a great tool if used with great discretion. I was unwise. Today I confess it to anyone I meet and I am recovering/reviving my parsing skills. I think looking at exegetical commentaries early on in sermon prep also does the same damage to your syntactical skills. Oh I love them but now I use them only in the final stages as a check.
All these tools are like having a Ferrari and not knowing how to control the speed (illustration taken from Dr. Con Campbell's book on Keep your Greek). You can do much or you could die in a wreck. I almost died!


I wonder, is there a recovery group for BW addicts? BW anonymous? Just say no to software? :lol:

However, I actually hope that you get to the point where you never consciously parse again. Your experience, in part, reflects what is wrong about the way Greek it taught in our seminaries. Parsing and translating, while it can serve a part in the learning process, should never be the end goal of learning the language. You know the language when you can read a text and understand it as a Greek text. Can you paraphrase it once you've read it? The ideal would be to paraphrase it in Greek, but even being able to paraphrase it English or answer questions based on the text would be a significant advance on the level of comprehension that most of our seminary students come away after the all too minimal instruction that they receive. By all means continue parsing, but make your goal the ability to read and understand the Greek. That takes lots of practice, not just parsing, but reading lots of Greek.

The more you read... :)
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby George F Somsel » December 10th, 2011, 12:02 pm

Vivek Jones wrote:
i thought "Ah I know it (parsing)" but my eyes quickly drifted over the translation below.


It sounds as though you are using an interlinear. Get rid of it ! There is nothing more pernicious than an interlinear, and you stated the reason for its detrimental effect quite well. In the Logos forum I read all sorts of comments on their interlinears and inwardly groan. In my opinion, whoever created the interlinears should be nailed to the wall with a nail through his thumbs. If you insist on using an interlinear, you will never be proficient in Greek.

BTW: You said it was
like wow
If it was only "like wow", what was it really?
george
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… search for truth, hear truth,
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
defend the truth till death.



- Jan Hus
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby joshhuntnm » September 30th, 2012, 1:08 am

I use logos and love using it. you are a couple clicks away from discovering how any word is translated in other places.
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Re: Bible Software - A Help or Hindrance in Reading Greek

Postby Justin Cofer » January 23rd, 2013, 5:29 pm

Daniel Streett has recently posted a blog post about this very topic. Bibleworks like every other tool is helpful if you know what you're doing and dangerous if you don't.

http://danielstreett.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/bibleworks-for-rapid-reading-pt-2-bibleworks-9-review/

Bibleworks is best used for rapid reading. The best part of BW is that it has the capability to be utilized as a Reader's Greek NT. For instance in the screenshot below all words found 30x or more is in the blue color. Unlike a Greek Reader which words found 29x or less in the footnotes, BW can be adjusted to whatever level the reader desires, say down to say 10x or less.
Attachments
BW.png
BW.png (87.42 KiB) Viewed 2499 times
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