(updated ~ 02/07/11 ~ I have written a couple of long posts in the past few days because I have had time to do so, and will taking a few days off to work on other projects – see you then. bb)
As I referenced in one of my previous comments, it is probably a good idea to cover this subject, even though it seems boring - it is ethical and proper to do so.
One of the prolific and overwhelming problems fostered by the introduction of the Internet is that of plagiarism. In fact it is so rampant that it is more common, than uncommon. All that a person needs to do to verify this is do a Google search of a documented statement, utilizing parentheses so that the exact statement is searched for, and the results are unbelievable in regards to how many times it is plagiarized.
Part of this is fostered by the creation of such tools as search engines, like: Google, Bing, Yahoo (but to name only a few) which are great aids in locating material and information across the continuum that we refer to as the Internet.
On the positive side there are research tools on the Internet which are very helpful, such as: “Wikipedia,” which I personally enjoy, and have found to be very accurate on most subjects (though when it comes to things concerning God as far as doctrines, is subject to the heresies of liberalism, the cults, faults doctrine, and just plain subjective opinion), “Theopedia,” which is light concerning volume, but to a few that I use.
When it comes to biblical doctrine, one of the unfortunate byproducts of Internet is what can be the abuse of “cutting and pasting,” which I resentfully refer to as “regurgitation,” when individuals present themselves as teachers, yet in reality all they do is cut-and-paste other teacher’s work. I do not state concerning the normal use of cutting and pasting, as long as it is not plagiarism; and I only use the term “regurgitation” concerning false presenters posing as Bible teachers.
These individuals do little, if any ”original source work” (unlike the term “source work,” which is synonymous with “coursework,” which is the production of high school or college students concerning essays) for themselves. The difference between now, with the and adoption of the Internet as compared to prior to 10 years ago; is that previous teachers who stole the work of others without giving reference, did not have the volume of information they have now, especially concerning that which was obscure long ago. What this leads to is the deception that these individuals sound much more intelligent, astute, and knowledgeable concerning their subject matter; at the least, much more than they really are; and at the worst, hiding their complete lack of true knowledge on the subject – which is all made possible with the invention of the Internet.
Original Source Work
This is why the deception of many false doctrines, as well as cults has flourished so fast in the last few years; it is not just because of the availability of information via the Internet, but the ability of false leaders to produce teachings that sound legitimate and intellectual, because of this theft of previous authors writings. Even an idiot can sound intellectual, and correct in his presentation of a false doctrine if he utilizes other’s work found on the web; because of the great volume to choose from, and they are not stifled by the potential confrontation of a one-on-one presentation; all of which is made possible by the utilization of the Internet. Plus, if someone catches them, they are not exposed to a face-to-face confrontation, they don’t respond to an email – there is no accountability.
“Original Source work,” is defined as tracking down original sources of information, both for presentation and in the verification of a subject matter. It is a dry and boring pursuit that at its best is tedious, and at its worst is mind-numbing. Though the pursuit of the term was indelibly linked to philosophy (and its step-child: psychology), etymology, and linguistics denotatively (specifically/precisely) speaking; yet it has become connotatively (generally/commonly) related to any academic pursuit, especially those that are ancient in their origin. Original source work is what teachers of the Word of God should be doing, especially in regards to the original languages of the Bible; always in order to protect the sanctity of Biblical doctrine, to work in ethicacy, and maintain moral integrity.
Side Trip 1 ~ Research and the Teaching of God’s Word
According to Ephesians 4:11 (1); you cannot be a preacher without being a teacher, biblically speaking. Though this does not negate the ability that we have teachers who are not pastors, there are always subordinate teachers within the body of Christ. Pastors in a congregation, are Biblically referred to in the New Testament as elders(the New Testament churches had multiple pastors within any local congregation – the word “pastor” is a derivative of the Greek word, poimen, which means: “to shepherd,” the elders of a local congregation were seen as shepherding the flock of God).
I personally take offense when pastors or Biblical teachers state that handling the Greek or Hebrew of the Bible is not their forte, therefore they do not do so. God chose to precisely manipulate time wherein these two languages, which are very diverse (please see my blog, entitled: “Regarding the Greek and Hebrew Languages,” located to the right, within the ”Brent’s ~ Topics,” folder, under the ”Biblical Word Studies” category folder), would be utilized in the creation of what we referred to as “The Bible” (Latin for “The Book,” with an emphasis on the particular article, “The,” used to recognition that this book is different than any other book ever penned), yet as recognized within both Testaments as: “The Word of God,” singular; in that it is a complete volume authored by God, yet pinned by 40 different man, from 3 continents, utilizing 3 separate languages (Hebrew and Greek, with a small amount of Aramaic, a Babylonian derivative, as seen in Daniel chapter 4, where Nebuchadnezzar dictates to the world his subjugation to the God of heaven, Daniel’s God; and in the book of Ezra; it is also used in small places here and there in both Testaments), over 1600 years – it is God’s singular revelation to man, which includes 66 volumes.
Anyone that proclaims themselves to be a teacher, is Biblically speaking as a prophet (the word “prophet” literally means “to speak for another,” yet has been abused to the absurdity of meaning only concerning future events. However, this is wrong. John the Baptist was called the greatest prophet born of women, yet he never spoke a word of future events [Luke 7:28] – however, he did speak God’s word to the people), he is a spokesman for God – which is what an individual does when they presume to teach God’s Word. They can only do this by teaching from God’s Word, the Bible; and since God chose these 2 languages, which are very diverse in every aspect from the English, how can that teacher avoid at least a tepid handling of the languages that God chose. I find it the height of arrogance to attempt to teach God’s Word without studying the original language.
The original website of this ministry, http://www.FaithBibleMinistries.com (originally known as: http://www.faithvideoministries.com) was created in order to present and explain the many incorrectly taught passages which are utilized in churches today (the link is: “Something To Think About,” the page is entitled: “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth ~ Part 2″ – see the heading: “Areas of Abuse” = LINK), which are wrongfully taught because of a lack of understanding of the original languages. What is ridiculous, is that the mistakes that are made are so easily understood as mistakes with very little time spent in study.
Personally, I beat my body into submission in attempting to understand these languages so that I can correctly handle the Word of God. This is how we are to “rightly handled the word of truth” (2), in integrity and commitment to our sovereign God. Therefore, to do otherwise is misfeasance, if not malfeasance of anyone claiming to be a teacher of God’s Word.
And whenever I state, “handling the original languages,” which is a euphemism for studying the Greek or Hebrew text, I do not mean turning to the dictionary in the back of Strong’s Concordance and looking up a generic rendering of a Greek word. In fact, if you are a Biblical teacher or preacher; the use of Word studies is inadequate, even Vines word dictionary or Spiros Zodhiate’s “Word Studies,” which are excellent resources for the layman, but far too generic for the preaching of God’s Word.
It is when a teacher digs into the specific grammar of a specific word, within a specific text, that he can present more fully what God would desire concerning the presentation of Biblcal text out of God’s Word; and to avoid this type of exegesis is wrong. Now, if this statement is true how much worse is it when a preacher or teacher refuses to dig into the original languages. We must understand that English can be such a watered-down language, that achieving close proximity, on a word-for-word basis is difficult at the least. Within these languages, it sometimes takes a combination of two or more English words to appropriately translate one word in the original language.
The Koine Greek language of the New Testament is so precise and elegant, that a majority of a time a English word would be spelt the same in 2 different passages of an English New Testament translation; however, it would be diverse in the Greek New Testament, either by combining words or adding or changing specific letters; which would change the exact meaning of the word in context to the other words surrounding it in the Greek – this is where understanding the grammar becomes important.
If you look at footnote number 1, this is an example of how the Greek word “and“ (a conjunctive) can have different meanings concerning the words that it connects, especially the conjunctive changes according to the use or lack of use of the “definite article.”
Another example is seen concerning the use of “oo” within a Koine Greek word, which means that the word “is an outward expression of that which is inside” (as seen in my post entitled: “Does James Contradict Paul,” located to the right, within the ”Brent’s ~ Topics,” folder, under the “Biblical Word Studies” category folder).
One more vibrant example is seen in the English word “another.” In Koine Greek, there are 2 different words translated into the English word for “another,” which is not apparent. There is: 1). Another, of the same of the same kind; and 2). Another, of the same of a different kind.
1). Whereas the Greek word (allos) [G243], translated “another” in the English means: another of the same type.
2).The Greek word (het’eros) [G2087], translated into the English word “another,” actually means: another of a different type.
An example of this is seen when comparing John 14:16, and Acts7:18. The John 14:16 passages states:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another (allos) Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”
And Acts 7:18, which states:
“Till another (het’eros) king arose, which knew not Joseph.”
In the first example, the word for “another” as in John 14:16 means: the same of the same kind, in which there is a connection made between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as being of the same essence.
However, the second example of the word “another“, as in Acts 7:18 is an example of: the same of a different kind. Here, Stephen in giving the Old Testament Bible study, declares that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was not Egyptian (we learn from Isa. 52:4, that he was an Assyrian); he was “another king,” but of a different race. When Moses speaks about this Pharaoh, it does not give any details as to there being any difference (though the Septuagint and the Talmud state the difference). Moses states in Exo. 1:8: “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.“
Side Trip 2 ~ Modernity
Modernity is the concept that with improvements in technology, a culture is changed by the introduction of those technologies. These changes take place very slowly and discreetly, yet are even reflected in expressions which display the type of thinking that is current, such as:
“More is Better than Less,” “Bigger is Better than Smaller,” “Newer is Better than Older,” “Winning Is the Only Thing That Matters,” “Win at Any Cost,” “Instant Gratification,” “Sometimes you have to do Something Wrong, to do Something Right,” “and the most diabolical of them all; “The Ends Justify the Means.”
Each one of these axioms are unbiblical; yet, permeate our society, and therefore skew our perspectives (there is an old expression that “a sick mind cannot cure sick mind”). Other examples can be seen in such mundane behaviors as watching TV. The idea of getting up out of our chair, and physically going over and manually changing the channel on our television is repugnant to those of us who grew up with remote controls. The idea of waiting more than 10 minutes for a meal at a fast food restaurant when we are doing errands, is ridiculous.
What we don’t think of naturally is how these technologies have changed the way that we think, and how we behave. An example of this can be seen in transportation. While it may be somewhat inconvenient to go to an airport, board a plane, sit in a chair for 5 hours, arrive at a destination, de-plane, pick up our luggage, and leave the airport; this endeavor can be done traveling coast-to-coast in a few hours, whereas 100 years ago it would’ve taken up to a year.
200 years ago, in order to enjoy a cup of hot tea, it would have taken over 30 minutes to boil the water outside in an open pit fire, using a cast iron pot. 50 years later, it would’ve only taken 20 minutes using a cast iron stove indoors. 20 years after that it would’ve only taken 15 minutes by simply changing to the use of a pewter (not wise) pot. 20 years after that it would’ve only taken approximately 10 minutes to boil water utilizing a gas stove and an aluminum pot. Another 40 years after that it would’ve been cut to about 7 minutes using an electric stove, and today it takes 3 minutes or less using a microwave.
Changes Over Time
It’s hard to imagine that almost 6000 years ago man could walk about 30 miles in a day, yet if he was in a hurry he could run that same distance in half the time. And that within less than the few hundred years after this, man could still walk in the same amount of time, however, if he was in a hurry he could utilize a horse and cover 5 times the distance without much exertion, as man had domesticated horses shortly after his creation. What’s hard to recognize is that this mode of transportation concerning speed stayed the same for over five thousand years until the seventeenth century, when man could travel at approximately 50 miles an hour on a train, and today at over 300 miles an hour in a plane.
My long and drawn out presentation is to simply point out that with technologies cultures change and especially out thinking – which affect the issue of standards and values. We have become lazier, greedier, grow greater expectations, and become more self-centered (it’s all about “me”); all of which makes us more inpatient, and intolerant of things that take time. While also losing value of things that are older, and slower – immediate gratification has become the norm.
Now back to my point, biblical research is many times very dry and tedious work, which goes against modernity, and the above mentioned current traits of our culture. This type of through research is undesirable and hard. This is why it is so common for many Christians to simply “cut-and-paste” their way through life, when it comes to biblical doctrine and insights.
I am not suggesting that we should stop “cutting and pasting,” because I enjoy the ease that it has created myself; and actually don’t have a problem with doing so, as long as we always cite the sources of the original work, or in such cases that it is unknown, at least acknowledge that it is not our own production. This is where the efficacy of writing and posting blogs should concern us.
While I will always suggest that we validate what we cut-and-paste according to source material in order to maintain integrity, this does not mandate that we create original concepts based on new material. Yet, it does mandate that we maintain integrity by giving credit where credit is due - this should be especially true for Christians, for as the use of the name “Christ” suggest, in defining who we are as followers of Christ, as Christians; we should act more like Him. With this in mind the following is presented.
According to dictionary.com, plagiarism is defined as:
“the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.(4)“
The unauthorized use aspect is pretty straightforward, it is the “close imitation” definition that we need to always keep mindful when dealing with something that someone else has previously stated that we add too and improve. Therefore the following is probably an appropriate consideration.
Improving and Using Part of Someone Else’s Idea
When may we utilize part of someone else’s idea, not violating copyright protection, federal patent laws, civil, or criminal law, and do so ethically?
If we use only part of someone’s intellectual property, and our new concept still functions without the necessity of the remaining aspects of their original insight, we have not infringed upon them ethically. Concerning the legality of our actions, we should research federal, state, and local authorities concerning any individual violations, as each case may be different. According to some laws if one changes every 4th word in a sentence, then the intellectual property of another is not violated.
What we should not accept on this blogsite is the copying and pasting of someone else’s writings from anywhere without giving due credit to the true author, or acting like the work was created by the blogger (by omission). This is theft and should not be tolerated, blogger’s are subject to banning for this type of theft. We must list any quotes, unless the original author is unknown – then simply acknowledge that. This material must not be presented as the bloggers.
However, it is also acknowledged that many doctrinal presentations and Biblical teaching are so numerously restated in print and text wherein the original authorship is unknown or disputed, that these writings may be restated without fear of abuse. The question of plagiarism within Christian circles must sometimes be determined according to the intent of the blogger, as we know that all knowledge comes from God, and it is the height of arrogance to act like we are superior to other Believers concerning certain presentations. The Holy Spirit has on many occasions inspired multiple writers concerning the same truth, at the same time. It is contingent upon the utilization of specific words in exactly the same order that helps determine plagiarism.
When we do use someone else’s work without substantially modifying it, there are correct ways of “giving credit where credit is due.” Footnotes or endnotes are always appropriate, yet should involve the use of numbers within the text which refer to a endnote at the end of the post (“superscript”- this is where the font is reduced in size, and located at the top of the sentence; is great if it is in the copied material prior to pasting). To simply list at the end of a presentation the “Sources,” when exact terminology is used is unethical, as the user intentionally or unintentionally, presents the material as ones own, without giving specific recognition, when specific statements are used.
Whenever, an overwhelming amount of material is utilized in your own words, then it is appropriate to quote the source material at the bottom without embedded endnote numbers. It is always acceptable, and I find more ethical when using complete lines or paragraphs of someone else’s work, to recognize that individual within the text first, then utilizing indentations of the whole paragraph with quote marks, as probably the best way of presenting another persons work when it comes to volume, within a post or essay.
Ethically speaking, this form of presentation is without question the superior form. You will notice that professional writers utilize this form of recognition, with indentation of the work; where it is obvious that there is a separation from the main presentation and author’s remarks. Subscript or superscript usually has to do with references concerning the statement as opposed to a direct quote, yet when quote marks are added prior to the superscript, this is appropriate as well.
The layout of this essay is meant to be a simplistic template, displaying what is described – this is not “formal writing,” nor meant to be in any way, shape or form – it is much easier.
1. Ephesians 4:11 ~ “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.“
In Koiné Greek, when two nouns are connected with the conjunctive, “and” (Greek: kia), and one of the nouns having the definite article, “the,” or such as in this case: “some” and the other noun not having the definite article; then both nouns are the same in essence, and are equal and therefore synonymous. And if these conditions are not met exactly, then the two subjects are not the same in essence, and are not synonymous (an example is: Eph_4:11; and not in: Rom. 8:17, Acts 6:8). This principle is called the Granville Sharpe Rule of Greek Grammar.
2. “Study [concerning this word: "study" see the next note: 3] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
3. The Greek word translated into the English word “study,” is: spoudazo, and actually means: “be earnest,” “to make haste,” “be eager,” and “to be diligent.” This is the understanding of what the English word “study” originally meant in the 1600 when the King James Bible was translated, and was a correct translation at the time. However, over the centuries the word study has come to mean something quite different than originally did, now it has more to do with academic pursuit; yet still with the undertone means of diligence – whereas to study is to give diligence to acquiring knowledge.
One of my favorite teachers, Warren W. Wiersbe, states and his book: “Wiersbe Bible commentary: New Testament,” concerning this passage:
“The word study (2 Tim. 2:15) has nothing to do with books and teachers. It means “to be diligent, be zealous.” It is translated in this way in 2 Tim. 4:9, 2 Tim. 4:21, and also in Titus 3:12. The emphasis in this paragraph is that the workman needs to be diligent in his labors so that he will not be ashamed when his work is inspected. “Rightly dividing” means “cutting straight” and can be applied to many different tasks: plowing a straight furrow, cutting a straight board, sewing a straight seam.”
This essay was created for this blog site.
Now, for you that have read through all this verbiage, I want to share something. First off, I would like to offer my thanks. I understand how overwhelming my presentation style and teaching method are. I am somewhat of an obsessive person, yet not according to the classical, psychological, or clinical definition. I can leave things a mess for a while as long as it’s organized. I would be better termed as an organizational nut that is very meticulous and specific. My thoughts race at a speed that is unintelligible, and hard to keep up with – especially for me. My inborn desire is to be lazy, yet I don’t think anyone would ever dare call me that; because I fight it with every ounce that I can. I push myself to extremes in whatever I do; but nothing more than I do concerning serving our Lord.
This sounds like bragging, I guess I’m just trying to excuse the sometimes muddled presentation, and over methodical preciseness which you have suffered through. What is amazing is that God has use individual such as me. I have found other teachers that teach in the same manner who I have learned from; therefore I pass the same onto others that may profit from it as well. This type of teaching is not for everyone. What I attempt to do is address many different subjects, while presenting on the singular topic. This facilitates that a greater volume of information is presented in greater detail. To more precisely explain, the following was utilized from the teaching website, which may explain it better.
“The author’s writing method (which includes the author’s abuse of run-on sentences, with many comma splices [perhaps like Paul according to Peter, as in 2 Pet. 3:16]; mammoth parentheses, toned down in gray type for the convenience of the reader, which are lessons in themselves; and the exploitation of repetition [as practiced by Peter and Paul ~ Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2]; as well as the overuse of emphasis in regards to using italics, underlying, bold, and colored fonts) is unusual in that it seeks to teach about many different subjects, within many diverse areas, while presenting information on a singular topic. There is a thought within Christian Philosophies of Education, that the human mind is so ingeniously created that it can learn many different things while addressing a singular activity. This is the premise behind the presentation style of the essays produced by this ministry, which has been analogized as going down many rabbit trails while on a long journey.”
Thank you for your time. bb