I have long wrestled with the best way for me to keep track of bible notes. Should I keep them electronically (via Olive Tree BibleReader) or in hardcopy? Currently, I keep them as hardcopies…original language notes in my Greek and Hebrew texts and all others in my HCSB with the super large margins. If it sounds rather cumbersome, it is. But I REALLY like writing notes down, scribbling them in my bibles, marking them up, underlining, etc. There is—to me—a certain satisfaction from using a well-worn bible, and it seems (perhaps it’s only in my head) that there are certain advantages to paper note taking over against electronic means.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had this debate with myself, so it is about time to have it again. This time, consider that I’m doing extensive work in the LXX and Byzantine Greek texts; starting to refer more and more to my Orthodox Study Bible for English work; and still using my host of BHS, NA27, NLT, and HCSB bibles. The time may well have come to start putting my bible notes in electronic form. ’May’ have come? OK, it’s here.
As much as I love the ubiquity of electronic notes, I’m a little saddened by the inevitable relinquishment of paper notes. Honestly, I’ll probably keep my paper copies alongside my electronic ones at least for now. It’s extra work, I know…but I don’t care. Putting a real pencil on a real sheet of paper is satisfying in a way that moving electrons around on a screen (computer, tablet, or smartphone) is not. What does this have to do with simplicity? Well, my current hardcopy setup is NOT very simple. It uses multiple sets of notes across multiple texts which requires me to lug around a not-so-small pile of books if I want to be sure I have access to ALL my notes. Electronic notes just makes sense. And yet, it’s hard for me to give up my old ways. That’s the lesson that goes beyond just note taking and expands to just about every other area of life. We resist change, even change that is obviously for the better.
So, as we strive to lead simpler lives, we must realize…it’s work. Hard work. Keep at it. Live simply, Christian.