Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

technical writing

8/26/13

 

A friend of mine teaches English and mentioned that he was beginning a lesson on technical writing. In preparation, he was looking for copies of engineering specifications, since such documents are a chief example.

 

Technical writing, as a distinct subset of writing in general, is characterized, at least in its most successful form, by clarity, attention to detail, careful sequencing of information, and a straight forward style which avoids unfamiliar words and expressions. The entire purpose of technical writing is to communicate clear instructions and requirements. The intent is always to eliminate confusion and to insure that the purpose of the document is achieved. Technical writing exhibits a very dry, unembellished style, much like legal documents, which share the same need for clarity.

 

We have all probably been frustrated on occasion by "instructions" which were not clear and sufficient. Terms were unfamiliar. Steps seemed missing. The sequencing of instructions was not possible. In the end, the instructions failed.

 

A similar frustration is applicable to the church's longstanding contention that the Bible is, first and foremost, designed by God to instruct man in how to please Him and escape His eternal punishment. Christianity's disagreement on the necessary instruction to be drawn from the Bible dramatically illustrate this point.

 

To reiterate, writings designed to successfully instruct demand certain characteristics, clarity being foremost. From the stylistic point of view, the Bible is most definitely not of the technical writing type. It's ample use of symbolism (parables for example) and poetic language (prophetic books) make it a very poor representative of technical writing. To insist, therefore, that the Bible is God's written instructions in how to please Him and gain His acceptance is quite unbelievable. No instructor, especially a divine one, uses literary devices which insure confusion and a lack of successful instruction.

 

Unless one wants to assume that God deliberately caused confusion and wanted the requirements to be obscure to all but a few, then I see no justification for insisting that the book's primary goal is to tell mankind the steps required to escape God's wrath. That contention leads to a multitude of unanswered questions about motive, effectiveness, and the divine nature. I'd rather question the Bible's nature than God's.