Monday, May 26, 2008

The 6:7 Project: An Introduction

I'm planning a series of Bible studies in an interesting format. The idea is that I will do blog posts on verse seven of chapter six of every book in the Bible. This is not any sort of weird numerology, but rather "stratified sampling". One way of understanding large amounts of information is by taking small, regular bits of the information and studying them very carefully.

This approach to Bible study was elucidated by famed computer scientist and mathematician Donald Knuth in some Bible studies he directed, and the book he eventually published, "3:16". He also discusses it in-depth in the lectures, "Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Thinks About". Knuth developed studies looking into verse 16 of every chapter 3 in the Bible.

The method has its flaws, but by thoroughly studying around 60 verses spaced throughout the Bible, you get a pretty good idea of what is going on. And you are forced to study context, related verses, and background information! I certainly wouldn't suggest studying this way exclusively, but it is a pretty neat practice and can be actually quite helpful! It forces one to look at some verses that would normally be overlooked.

When Donald Knuth did the 3:16 studies, he admitted that it was sort of rigged. He knew that there is at least one 3:16 passage that is very well known. Well, for my attempt, I've decided to do verse 7 of chapter 6, which is quite random. I can't think of any famous 6:7 verses.

I'm going to try to do one blog post per week which covers a new book of the Bible's 6:7, starting with Genesis 6:7.

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