I am presently at 35,000 feet typing this blog post on my laptop, which is connected to the wi-fi on my flight back from Seattle. When I am done I will connect to the WordPress server and schedule it to be published Wednesday morning around 11:00 am. I am doing this to prove a point to myself about the pervasiveness and power of technology. We readily see the power of technology to change the way we communicate, but as a professor I am now beginning to see the power of technology to change deeply the way in which we educate, but also to alter (perhaps unexpectedly) the educational outcome. The power of technology is clear when we look at how Bible software aids the exegetical task. Software enables us to gather information more quickly and efficiently, which we can then marshal for our exegetical decisions. But a more crucial question is, has Bible software changed the exegetical task itself? The exegetical training I received focused on a particular method that only used technology in a very limited sense; the Bible software program as such had not really matured to a point where it could be readily, consistently, and easily used. The situation now is very different, with multiple vendors offering various packages that can do some incredible things we could not imagine even a few years ago. It is becoming apparent to me that the availability of certain functions in the software will change the very method we teach.
More to the point of my thoughts: Has the center of influence in exegetical training shifted from those who teach the best method to those who make the best tool? In an exegetical world where the tool is central, will we value the one who uses the tool in the best way, or the one with the best method? I don't have an answer, and only time will tell. I see a central task in my career as a professor of exegesis is to wed technology to the exegetical task to achieve the same outcome. This will require dialogue with both the creators and users of Bible software over a long period of time.