Using A.I. to Study the Scriptures

May 05
Using AI to Study the Scriptures

Using AI to Study the Scriptures

Here’s a quick example of using A.I. in Scripture Notes to study the scriptures. You can also watch a video on this at the bottom of the post if you want to see the work flow in the app instead of just in pictures.

This morning I was led to read from Ezekiel 44. In this chapter, we read about an apostasy of the Levites when they went astray, and their eventual restoration to where they would again offer an offering to the Lord in righteousness.

Levites astray

Further down in verse 17 we read about a requirement to not wear wool while serving in the temple.

Linen and wool garments

I decided to click the link icon and then open up the AI assistant to ask it why, although since this was in the Bible, I could have also clicked on Bible Hub and clicked right into commentary on this verse from Bible scholars. It’s an awesome resource as well, but if I was in the book of Enoch, I would not be able to access commentaries and asking the AI to provide references in canonized scripture to support that verse or asking for doctrinal context would be very useful.

When the AI assistant loads, it presents 3 preset questions which allow you to quickly click one of the questions to ask about a verse anywhere in the library of books (scripture, apocryphal texts, etc…). The presets are:

Preset AI questions

You can also ask a free-form question in the box at the bottom.

I asked the question, “Why were the priests to wear no wool?”

The answer I got back was a good one, but never the end-all of the question. One should always vet the answers you receive from others by investigating the scriptures yourself. This was the A.I. response.

“Daniel: In Ezekiel 44:17, it is instructed that the priests must not wear wool when they enter the gates of the inner court and minister at the altar, rather they should wear linen garments. This directive has several significant meanings both practically and symbolically:

1. **Heat and Purity:** Wool can cause the body to sweat, especially in a hot environment like the Middle East. Wearing linen, which is lighter and allows the skin to breathe more easily, would help the priests remain clean and avoid sweating, which is often associated with impurity in the context of performing sacred rituals.

2. **Symbolism of Materials:** Linen is traditionally seen as a symbol of righteousness and purity in ancient texts. By wearing linen, the priests set themselves apart from ordinary activities and materials, reflecting their sacred duty and the holiness of their service.

3. **Separation from Ordinary Life:** The distinction between wool and linen can also be viewed as a symbolic separation between the ordinary and the sacred. In their service, the priests are to avoid any commonplace or profane influence, represented by everyday materials like wool.

4. **Compliance with Mosaic Law:** There’s also a connection to the Mosaic Law that forbids mixing materials, specifically wool and linen, known as shatnez (Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11). This prohibition can symbolize the importance of not mixing holiness with commonality.

These guidelines underline the sacredness of the priestly duties and the importance of maintaining ritual purity and distinction from worldly things while serving in the temple.

Spending time reflecting on these verses in Ezekiel could offer you profound insights about sanctity and separation in your devotion to God. If you feel inspired or gain new understanding, consider sharing those thoughts with others to encourage them to also delve into their scripture study.”

So then I looked up the verse references, which is something specifically stated in the instructions for the A.I. to provide.

Leviticus Deuteronomy verses

The explanation provided above by the A.I. reflects the commandment to not mix common worldly clothing with special sacred clothing set apart for performances to the Lord.

Now if we wanted to dive deeper into these verses, we could look at the footnotes for these verses.

We might click into the Topical Guide entry for Garments and then study that topic:

TG Garments

While summarizing my thoughts into my verse note, I realized I wanted more information about item 1 on sweating. So in that same AI popup, I asked:

“You: On item 1 about heat and purity, where in the scriptures does it talk about sweating being impure?”

“Daniel: The notion of sweat being associated with impurity does not explicitly come from a direct scriptural statement, but rather from the broader cultural and ritual context of ancient Near Eastern practices, including those of the Israelites. In many ancient cultures, bodily excretions, including sweat, were often viewed as contaminating and something to be avoided in sacred contexts.

In terms of the Hebrew Bible, while there isn’t a verse that directly equates sweat with impurity, the emphasis throughout the Levitical laws on bodily cleanliness (found extensively in the book of Leviticus) and the separation of the clean from the unclean in ritual contexts hints at the broader principle of avoiding bodily emissions in sacred settings. These laws included many different statutes about bodily discharges, skin diseases, and other conditions that required individuals to undergo cleansing rituals before engaging in worship or entering sacred spaces.

The instruction in Ezekiel 44:18 that priests should not wear anything that causes them to sweat when they serve at the altar can be seen as an extension of this overarching concern with maintaining ritual purity and the sanctity of the worship environment.

In scriptural studies, it’s important to consider as well the contextual and cultural interpretations, as they often shed light on the intentions and practices of the times, which may not always be directly stated in the text. This makes the study deeply fascinating and opens up broad avenues for understanding and reflection.

If finding this kind of cultural and historical context in your scripture study intrigues you, I’d recommend diving deeper into the Levitical laws and perhaps consulting some commentaries or biblical encyclopedias, which can provide additional insights and interpretations. Sharing such enriching details can also be a wonderful way to deepen discussions within your study groups or family scripture studies.”

So now my verse note reads:

Lev verse note summary

Scripture Notes makes it so easy to study the scriptures and get answers to your questions, and then record the thoughts and impressions that come to you next to every verse. If you aren’t using it yet, you’re missing out on the most powerful scripture and ancient text study tool available.

Here’s the video of how this all works:


About the Author

Oak Norton - Just trying to share a love of the scriptures with others.