by Michael Chester
Because so many new features have been added to enhance this website it is worthwhile to provide a follow-up to Julian Duckworth’s excellent article on The New Christian Bible Study Website that appeared in the Spring 2019 New Age.
Click to go to:newchristianbiblestudy.org
This website has been set up by the enterprising Steve David and his team. Its overall purpose is to offer and provide access to Swedenborg material in many ways and make it one of the most helpful Bible Study sites. Recent figures show that it is receiving around 2.5 million visits/year which is double what it was last year.
Some of our members use it frequently and made very positive comments about its value and purpose. For those who are new to the website, I suggest exploring it with the assistance of Julian’s introduction as a start. What follows are features that I have come to use often in exploring Swedenborg’s Works.
Under the picture on the Home page are 4 options – Read the Bible, Understand Bible Stories, Explore Spiritual Topics and Theology (Study Swedenborg’s Works). I click on Theology when I want to read a passage from Swedenborg’s Spiritual Writings. I click on Study Swedenborg’s Works when I want to read a passage from Swedenborg’s Spiritual Writings. This gives me access to all of his spiritual books like the Arcana Caelestia or Heaven and Hell. This is so quick compared to the previous ways I used to do it, such as looking up the physical book if I had it, or the electronic version I’ve downloaded, or starting up the New Search Program, or the Kempton Project. What’s great is that it’s such a time saver and you have access to all his Spiritual Writings – published and unpublished – free of charge. This website is a wonderful gift to the Swedenborgian internet community.
I’m currently studying the Arcana as part of a Logopraxis Course. I looked up Arcana Coelestia 4735 as it caught my attention as very significant. Swedenborg is saying that Divine Love displays itself in the human form and the whole passage forms a key part of his message.
I noticed a new button with the name ‘Study this Passage’. By clicking on it a panel slides out from the right hand side as you can see in the following image.
It has 2 tabs in this instance. The first tab with the feather icon is titled “From Swedenborg’s Works” and provide Inbound References. In this particular case, they were passages from Swedenborg’s other books that refer to AC 4735.
The second tab with the Book icon is titled “Other New Christian Commentary” and it provided 2 links as illustrated below.
I clicked on the first link having the title “Divine Human 1”. It brought up the Commentary window alongside the AC 4735 passage as shown in the following image.
To my delight, it consisted of a short video on the Human Form produced by the New Christian Bible Study Staff. The content and imagery are excellent. Below the video was Julian Duckworth’s insightful commentary on the Divine Human. This is a major idea in Swedenborg’s Writings and Julian’s way of explaining it is very helpful.
What’s fantastic, is that complementary material is placed in easy reach of the passage you are interested in, for those who wish to explore further. I like it that the reader initiates the process of further investigation by choosing ‘Study this Passage’ and decides to what extent they want to follow the links.
The creators of the slide feature on the Swedenborg Writings web pages call it the “Swedenborg Slider”. This slider has been enhanced with Parallel Passages. 40 years ago, New Christian scholars worked on a project to collect “parallel passages” in Swedenborg’s theological works. There are a lot of them… more than 2800 pairs. For years, the Development Team wanted to add these to the New Christian Bible Study site and recently got a chance to tackle it. If you’re reading one of Swedenborg’s books, and you click on the “Study this Passage” button, you’ll see parallel passages, to go along with the inbound references. To check it out go to Apocalypse Revealed #255, click on “Study this Passage” and see the parallel passages listed on the Slide panel. The benefit of providing links to parallel passages is that it enables people to contemplate a central idea and see it from one perspective as you read a passage and then from a slightly different perspective with the second passage and so on. This activity of seeing a central idea from a slightly different angle can be seen as a form of contemplation which is a very important spiritual practice to developing our understanding.
To sum up, the Swedenborg’s Works part of the website which has been enhanced with the new “Swedenborg slider”, provides great assistance to people who want to explore his theological works online.
If you benefit from this site, please consider making a donation. There is a Donate facility to let you express your gratefulness and support for the continuance, maintenance and development of this website. The team have much in the pipeline and are limited by financial constraints, so donations are very much appreciated.
Please consider promoting this website in whatever way appeals to you, to people you think would enjoy using it. As more people like yourselves utilise this website, its growing usefulness is likely to attract sponsors to financially support this work. Hopefully what has been described has been helpful and provides further encouragement for you to explore and use this wonderful website. I would be delighted to hear your comments which you can send to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Comments on the NCBS website’ as the subject.
Next time I will share what I’ve found helpful in the Bible section of the website.