Articles home page

A message about my articles

(Garth D. Wiebe, Dec. 2017; additional Smith reference May 2018, Stagg reference Nov. 2018, Conrad reference Dec. 2018, video added and last edit Jan 2019)

Click here to download or watch video on Vimeo instead of YouTube

I've been writing online articles on various topics for over thirty years now, beginning in employee-interest online forums at the former Digital Equipment Corporation in the mid-1980's, and then on the World Wide Web in the mid-1990's. I do not have a "systematic theology" to present. I am committed in devotion to the Lord Jesus, and to the inspiration of the scriptures as they were originally penned by their inspired authors. Most of my assortment of articles are meant to address peculiar issues that I have not seen adequately addressed elsewhere.

I have tried to be as simple, straightforward, concise, and succinct as possible, rather than flowery or verbose. I just want to get the information across. In some cases, you may need to read slowly or read sections twice, because I usually don't repeat much, but state a point and then move forward with it.

In a few instances I challenge mainstream translational accuracy.*  I want to make it clear that this does not mean that I think that the major, reputable, mainstream English translations are fraught with error and peril. I like to say, at least anecdotally speaking, that the major, reputable, mainstream English translations are clear and unambiguous "98%" of the time, and then in "19 out of 20" remaining cases you can look at the original language text and resolve any remaining semantic issues, bringing you to "99.9%" clarity on all scriptures. Even so, no major, foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is at risk after reading the English text in context. Put another way, it is because of some peculiarity or troublesome text that I would write such an article, and not because I think that the whole English Bible translation is that way.

There is another issue. I write assuming the reader is educated, English as primary language, and reading at the level of a high school graduate. In my case, I graduated from high school in 1975. On one hand, it was an inner-city public school. On the other hand, it was a college preparatory school (Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio). Regardless, the issue is that academic standards have plummeted drastically over the second half of the twentieth century. By the mid 1990's, that same reading and writing level would be generally characteristic of a four-year, liberal arts college graduate. By the mid 2010's that same reading and writing level is now generally characteristic of someone with a graduate college education (i.e. master's or doctorate). Put a different way, today's four-year college graduates now often read and write at what we would have considered an eighth-grade level in the 1970's.

Keep in mind that I am not a degreed, professional writer, by any stretch of the imagination. I took my last academic educational course in English in high school, not even college (as an engineering student with a verbal SAT score of 450, I could not compete with my liberal-arts peers at Northwestern University, so I tried my best to avoid such courses). I am a degreed, early-retired, career electrical/computer engineer.

Besides the issue of plummeting academic standards, other factors to consider are the widespread addiction to television, movies, and other kinds of video media. SMS and social media messaging, e-mail, and other forms of communication are usually brief and superficial, without depth, and with little to no thought given to proper grammar and punctuation. People are becoming more and more passive and wanting to be passively spoon-fed, primarily passively entertained.

People are now mostly accustomed to oral communications and oral presentation. What they know of the Bible they do not know because they actually read it, cover to cover, as they should have, but what people have preached about it from the pulpit or in popular Christian media. Here, fame and celebrity rule over personal research and critical thinking skills. This is unfortunate.

It is an amazing irony that, although the invention of the printing press in 1440 contributed to widespread availability of printed material and, with it, rising literacy rates, and although we now have reached the point that written material can be disseminated easily and without limit over the Internet to anyone's computing device the world over, yet, at the same time, the ease with which video media can be disseminated has lured people away from reading text.

Back to the subject of my articles, I do want to write as simply as possible; I do not intentionally use complicated or technical words if I can avoid it. However, there is only so much that I can "dumb down" my articles without compromising the content and principles that I wish to communicate.

If there is something that is hard to understand about what I have written, please contact me. I value other people's review and input as to how I can make what I am writing clear. So far, I have not been inundated with e-mail, and have been able to answer questions and requests for clarification, and any occasional challenges or criticisms, which I welcome, by the way. It helps me to hear from you, regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. I periodically edit and update my articles to improve them. They are not set in stone. If changes are minor, such as correcting grammar or punctuation errors, or changing a word to a better synonym, or a case of mere HTML formatting, I do not note these changes as I go. But if changes are substantial, I note them in parentheses at the top of each article, so that if you previously read or copied the article, you will know that something changed.

As I have noted in each case, my articles are "granted to the public domain," therefore with no copyright restrictions. This is a legal statement. You can do with my articles whatever you wish, without any obligation to consult me beforehand. You can even make money off of them if that is your desire, whereas I have no desire to peddle truth and fact for financial gain. There only remains the ethical and literary mandate to credit and attribute authorship to the original source. Not doing so is called "plagiarism." However, that is not a legal matter, but rather one of ethics.

Accordingly, I write with a view to share facts and knowledge, not with a view to profit by it (or prevent anyone else from profiting by it).

Those following my articles will note that I have recently started supplementing them with video presentations. Hopefully this will be helpful to many.

*Scholars questioning any of my few instances of non-standard Koine Greek grammatical assertions that are contrary to the status quo, and requiring scholarly, credentialed academic verification, can refer to Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research (PDF, 52 MB) by A.T. Robertson, which is conveniently accessible online in digitized form and also in the public domain. That work further references an immense collection of other scholarly works, too many for even that author to exhaustively list in his bibliography, which is 21 pages long. The aorist problem is most thoroughly addressed in this article by Charles R. Smith in the Grace Theological Journal 2.2 (Fall 1981), p. 205-226, and this article by Frank Stagg in the Journal of Biblical Literature (1972), p.222-31. The so-called "deponency" issue is thorougly addressed by A.T. Robertson (op. cit.) and other scholars here, here, here, here, here, and here.

No copyrightI grant this work to the public domain.

Attribution required: Jason Scott for VT100 photograph (CC by 2.0)