I’ll admit it—I’m part of the “Google Generation”. I have a Gmail account, I use Google Maps to get around and I’m a bit of a [recovering] YouTube junkie. When I need to find out something, I don’t search through books or seek out the counsel of a wise and learned individual. I go to Google.
Instead of taking the time to open my Bible, I opened my web browser . . . This approach simply isn’t good enough.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve googled everything from the crisis in Syria to the Canadian National Anthem (did you know the anthem used to be in the Adventist hymnal?). I’ve also looked up information on lyrebirds, The LEGO Movie and the life of Nelson Mandela.
It’s quite handy having the answers to all my questions just a few clicks away. But as great as that sounds, there is a downside.
In making the wealth of the world’s information so easily accessible, Google has created an undesirable breed of “instant experts”. All it takes is a few minutes of searching and one can suddenly talk about topics in which they have no business.
“Boy, that was a great game by the Seattle Seahawks in February. They absolutely dominated the Broncos. That defence by Chris Clemons at the end of the first half was huge. Kam Chancellor also came up big!”
I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. In fact, I’ve never watched a game of NFL. Yet all it took was a quick Google search for me to become a so-called “expert” on one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
This sort of research isn’t really research; it’s regurgitation. The information is quickly consumed and just as quickly disposed. This process fails to produce real, lasting knowledge.
Why is this important? Well, it’s not if we’re talking about trivial matters like the Super Bowl. The issue becomes serious, however, when it comes to our knowledge of God and the Bible.
“Your word I have [googled on my phone], that I may not sin against you.”
In an age of uninterrupted access to technology and the internet, the temptation to replace authentic Bible study for a Google search is all too real. I’m guilty of this as much as anyone. I did it a few weeks ago for one of my editorials. Instead of taking the time to open my Bible, I opened my web browser. It took only a minute for me to find the verse I wanted. No worries, no time wasted, but no real knowledge. I can’t even remember the location of the verse.
This approach simply isn’t good enough. I need to do better; my God deserves better.
You don’t see too many Bibles these days with copious amounts of notes scattered across pages. And that’s a shame. Messy as it may be, the scribbles serve as a sign of a person earnestly seeking to learn more about God.
Maybe it’s time we brought the messy Bible back into fashion. After all, if we want to get to know God and to please Him, we need to be more than “instant experts” with a fleeting knowledge of Scripture. We need God’s Word etched in our minds and hearts.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11)*.
Let’s spend less time on Google and more time in the Word of God.
* This verse was not googled.
Linden Chuang is assistant editor of Record—digital.