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Global Consultation Brings Technology and Bible Study Together

Winter 2011
[original publication]

Four continents, five languages, twenty people, one purpose—to spread the word about the Word In November 2009 CTS [Calvin Theological Seminary] hosted a consultation on using Bible software effectively in the classroom and in the pastorate. The ultimate goal of those who attended was that seminary students would continue to use their Bible software in the church for their personal study and sermon writing, as well as for preaching, teaching, and discipling their congregations.

Participants came from Europe, South Africa, South America, and North America—a gathering of data producers, soft ware designers, professors, pastors, and students. One attendee, Dr. Christo van de Merwe of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, reported from his research that with the use of Libronix Bible software, pastors retain their use of the original languages at a greater percentage than with traditional language study. Pastors who were on campus at the time of the consult confirmed that reality. Scott Greenway of Caledonia, Michigan, Jack Gray of Wright, Iowa, and Joseph Kim of Anaheim, California, spoke enthusiastically about their use of Libronix, their excitement for using its new "Version 4," and the great benefits it has for ministry.

Attendees at the consultation included representatives of the Libronix software system produced by Logos Research Systems and the German Bible Society. Professors came from the University of Stellenbosch in South A frica; Mackenzie University in Brazil; Protestant Reformed and Puritan Reformed Seminaries; Calvin, Dordt, and Hope Colleges; Moody Bible Institute; and Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School. Pastors from Grand Rapids and Fremont, Michigan, and Vancouver, British Columbia, joined the discussion.

The consultation also filled a growing need for conversations between professors at college and seminary levels who use Bible software in the classroom. Attendees were encouraged to rethink their teaching of biblical languages, using dialogue and community as well as technology in the process. But the group did not just talk about the ancient languages of the Bible. They considered pedagogical questions for using Bible software in the entire seminary curriculum.

CTS is a leader in the use of Bible software in the seminary curriculum. Consultation organizer and Old Testament Professor Carl J. Bosma has developed a detailed seminar-like course that teaches students how to use the Libronix program step by step; students take this course at the beginning of their first term. As a result, the I.T. department and the professors all work together with students on the same program, and students are allowed to collaborate and share resources they develop. By the time they graduate, seminarians have a personal library of notes and sermons all linked in their Libronix program to help them prepare Bible studies and sermons utilizing all their Logos resources.

A second meeting is already in the works for next November to continue the learning and the relationships that are developing. An overwhelming majority of the participants reported the consultation to be "very valuable." Seeing a variety of views and approaches to teaching and learning was beneficial to all. Practical training gained along the way in Libronix itself was also very useful. More than that, the personal relationships that developed over the hospitality of lunches and a Brazilian barbecue renewed appreciation for God's gifting and calling of a variety of individuals and for dialogue between them—for the purpose of encouraging the preaching and teaching of God's Word.