Remember those dreaded term papers we used to have to write? Maybe you are still taking classes that require them. Actually, I don’t mind the writing part. I just don’t relish the research process.
Here’s the old way: go to the library; find reference books; take notes, being careful to write down your sources for the bibliography. Copy sections that you want to quote verbatim. Check out books on the subject you are researching. Read, read, read.
Here’s the new way: click on the computer for any subject you wish to know about; click the books listed to select passages you wish to copy; click to print out the information; click to copy and print the information for the bibliography. Click, click, click. That’s an oversimplification, but it’s easier than it used to be.
Right now I’m doing research for a Sunday School lesson I will be teaching soon. I listen to things and read things from the internet and enjoy the digging process. The challenge is to make the information interesting and practical for my class friends. I’ll find pictures, make a chart, and hand out a copy of a verse to be contemplated.
One of the best research tools I have found is a website called BibleGateway.com. You can type in a subject, a phrase, a reference, and see what pops up. I like to compare various translations. There are over 60 listed. For example, here are several translations of James 1:2-3.
New King James Version: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
New International Version: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
New Living Translation: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
J.B. Phillips New Testament: When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.
We certainly can’t miss the point, can we? How about doing a little research on one of your favorite passages?