I struggled (not very long-really) with how I should write this section. Should I write in the third person, using my own name and talking about myself as if I was someone else? But, that felt too weird. So, I settled very quickly on the alternative.
I had been in Bible classes from childhood every Sunday and Wednesday Night. When I was old enough to be in the adult class, there were only two basic methods being used to teach. One was the class book method which I was used to in the children’s classes while growing up. Using this method, the student usually answered questions during the week which would be discussed the upcoming Sunday or Wednesday Night. Some questions would be fill-in-the-blank types of various Bible verses. The other questions might be from the text composed by the book’s author. Sometimes it was hard to figure out what the author meant. Sometimes he might refer to an event that the general brotherhood knew about (like some highly visible issue) when the book was being written. In the years following, as those issues declined in prominence, the ability to follow those thoughts and issues became more difficult.
The other method was the verse-by-verse study. Most times these would be frequented by comments all over the board including, “It says what it means and it means what it says”, after which heads nodded in agreement and the next verse was read and ‘approved’ by the class. Occasionally, some helpful comments were invoked, but the class usually went from one topic to another or stayed on someone’s pet issue.
The above comments are not meant to be critical of individuals, but of the methods. Wandering from topic to topic was unavoidable. Further, it was static and uninspiring.
At that time I was about to enter college. And, that was another transition that took some getting used to…
While in College, I had the great fortune of studying under some great professors. One was John Clark. He was famous for his teaching ability. It was almost as if, during registration, if the students could have held picket signs, they would have said, “John Clark for Freshman Bible” – he was that popular. Well, I couldn’t get him for Freshman Bible, but I did for Humanities. And, he gave copious amounts of notes, but he taught you how to learn and think.
When I came back home, that’s about when someone gave me a copy of Irving L. Jensen’s Independent Bible Study. That was an epiphany for me. In this little book (now out of print) a whole new way of looking at the Bible was unfolded before my eyes. When I read Jensen’s book, I was challenged to rethink how to study the Bible. It seemed tedious, but the rewards were great. Study became deep and involved. It was work, but it was fantastic. I kept the Jensen book and kept coming back to it. And, the more I studied in this way, the more I began to realize that this way held an advantage over other methods and that I would be missing something by not studying in the ways outlined in Jensen’s book. I read it and became more and more familiar with it and the method. Soon, a small group began to meet and study or attempt to study using the method. Bible Study became the serious endeavor it should be and I became a serious student.
In a few years, I began to teach occasionally, then more. I taught the inductive method. Soon, a preacher asked me if I had ever considered a web site for Bible Study-a new challenge. That was 1998. The World-Wide Web was very new. My first site was done using FrontPage – yuck! This was crazy. Why couldn’t you get the site to look on the web like it looked on your computer screen?
Enter the discovery of Dreamweaver. Expensive, but it did what you thought it was going to do. You could then not worry as much about how things would look which enabled you to spend more time on content. When the content was right, you knew you could make it look good and not be stricken with horror from some misaligned graphic. My first Dreamweaver site was hosted by the new defunct Geocities. It was a static site as most were back then.
And, it went that way for a few years. But, as technology increased, so did the ability to do more. Soon, I was able to record lessons in MP3 format and post on the site.
At the same time, WordPress was becoming more prominent as a viable option and I was administrating another site using WordPress. Since WordPress is dynamic instead of static, and the code renders very quickly, it made CSS coding really powerful.That is, WordPress uses PHP which is different from HTML in the way in which it executes. PHP is server side and HTML is client side. HTML has to download the code and graphics to your computer and then execute in the browser. PHP executes on the server, so it is much faster. And, many powerful plugins were/are available that make podcasting – real podcasting viable. So, it was time to change.