Resource 5: Search Engines


Using search engines to research the scriptures

The Power of the Internet

So much has been said about the scriptures in so many places online, it only makes sense to use search engines at appropriate times to find meanings in certain verses. Not everything in the scriptures is meant to be learned by revelation. Why should the Lord give a revelation to us on something that takes us seconds to learn from other resources, right?

For example, I was reading in Jeremiah chapter 1 and came across verse 13 which says:

Jeremiah 1:13 “And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.”

Blue Letter Bible

I didn’t know what a seething pot was or why its face would be toward the North. My first reaction was to open the (BLB) site and see what the meaning of it was in Strong’s concordance (and maybe that’s the revelation part of it where the Lord pointed me to this resource). I’m glad I did for a reason I’ll explain in a minute, but if I was just looking to understand what this was, it would have been easier to jump straight to a web search engine because those will turn up this kind of answer much faster.

Strong’s Concordance

On the BLB site, I went straight to this verse and clicked the “Strong’s” button at the top to reveal the concordance numbers by the words. I clicked into H5301 next to the word “seething” and found this page which informs me of the various meanings of the word and the verses it appears in. (I really love this site which makes this so easy.)

The Hebrew word is “naphach” and among the various meanings it can be blow, breathe, seething, blown, lose, snuffed, and give up. From its usage it also appears to have some innate reference to life as shown in the usage of God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, blowing the coals in a fire, giving up the ghost, and a prophecy of resurrection by God breathing upon the dead. I would not have discerned this flavor for the word if I had just gone to a search engine to find out what a seething pot was.

Asking Search Engines

Then I turned to Google and asked “what is a seething pot?”

The first result’s snippet informed me “a vessel for boiling provisions.” My question was answered, but not fully to my satisfaction. I believe this has some meaning related to “naphach” by the boiling action of a liquid giving off steam which looks like breath rising, similar to incense burning in the temple being a symbol of prayers ascending to God.

I went down a couple of search results and clicked into one that looked very applicable for understanding the meaning.

Almond trees and seething pots

This is a wonderful little write-up on this segment in Jeremiah. It explains about the almond tree a few verses above verse 13 (read Jeremiah 1:8-16), which shows that the destruction coming is going to happen soon as the almond tree is the first to bud in the Spring. It then explained that seething pots were heated by digging a hole underneath them in the ground where you would put your fuel (ie. firewood). There would also be a smaller slot or trench out to one side for continuing to slide fuel in under the pot. In this case the fuel trench is North facing showing the direction the fuel of the fire would come from (IE. the Babylonians who were going to come and bring the judgments of the Lord upon a wicked people).

This was the best image I found online that gives an idea of what it may have sort of looked like.

Seething pot

(Modern “Seething Pot”)

Now obviously I’m not saying accept everything you find online. Even on pages where you find something of value, there will often be false ideas or interpolations of the author. In this case the author of this page takes the belief that the pots represent doctrines and what is put into them is either wholesome food or bad such as when the Israelites lusted for the flesh-pots in Egypt and were dissatisfied with the manna the Lord provided to keep them alive. He concludes with the idea, do we live to eat (sort of carnally minded), or eat to live (grateful for what God provides to sustain life)? Certainly a valid principle to consider, but I think I prefer a different interpretation of the pots equals doctrine idea.

In this case I think the pot simply represents the judgments of the Lord such as when Moses descended the mount and saw the children of Israel worshiping the golden calf. He ground it to powder and fed it to them making them ingest their own wickedness. I think the pot better represents the Lord telling them their dinner is getting cooked by the Babylonians and they’re going to eat an unpleasant meal because of their wickedness. The meaning of naphach here is definitely related to life. The fire is coming to life, and their lives are going to evaporate, and the almond rod says it’s coming fast.

Some Guidelines and Warnings

Sometimes it is a good idea to include “LDS” in the search term to find comments from LDS sources. On occasion, these can also pull up very negative anti-LDS sites although one time I found a treasure trove of quotes that an ex-LDS member had pulled together as a negative thing, and I took as a great positive which saved me a lot of time researching it. 🙂 In general, I strongly encourage you (and myself) to avoid these sites as they are a bit like Sauron’s ring in Lord of the Rings, created with all the hate and malice the author was capable of putting into the work (and no doubt led by the “Unholy Spirit” directed by the master of hate). As such, they are destructive of faith and light and I often call their works “compressed doubt” because they point out all the negative and weird things they can find without any balance, context, or acknowledgment of the holy and miraculous things that happened or were said which build faith and testimony. It’s often an invitation to the dark side to begin pouring doubts and questions into your heart about things you’ve experienced and know to be real and true. In summary, don’t waste time on sites filled with darkness. There’s plenty of good sites that can build your faith and provide what you need. But once in a while that quote you’re looking for might be easy to find on one of them 🙂 but just stick to the purpose of finding that quote!

Search engines are also great for finding partial quotes. You may have heard a statement and only remember part of it and typing it in can pull it up faster than the time it took you to type your search.

Just remember to be discerning what sources you go to and open to the spirit and you may find some real gems online.

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About the Author

God, family, country, scriptures, soccer, Sanderson, disc golf, dessert, development. These are a few of my favorite things. :) - Oak Norton

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