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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The meaning not found in numbers

Beware the law of the instrument.

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

To a man with a database, everything looks like a data point.

To a man with a search engine, everything can be measured in search result counts.

I remember back in the 1980's a missionary noting the possible distortions to our interpretation of the Bible through Bible software.

Being able to easily and quickly search the Bible is very useful.

Interpreting the Bible based on word counts could be misleading.

One phrase that's been used now and then of late is noting about which the Bible speaks loudly and softly. If this is based on word counts, the interpretation could be way off.

For instance, if the punishment in the Law for one sin were death, and for another sin was some lesser punishment, but each was only mentioned once, an interpretation by count would hold them to the same level even though one clearly must be more egregious than the other.

Technology can be a useful tool. It still takes wisdom to see through and overcome the limitations or bias of how the tool works and the nature of its presentations.

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