- Pathfinder

Reply To: In Lecture 2, Dr. Dru Johnson mentions that there has been a decline in biblical literacy in the Church. After taking this course, what are some recommendations you would give to church leadership to increase biblical literacy?

Lillian Gillespie

I’ve started reading the Bible front to back for the first time, and am surprised by both what I remember growing up, and what I have never noticed before. There are repetitions of themes but also repeated stories and interactions, emphasizing the importance of the story to the biblical narrative. Unfortunately, at my church there isn’t a strong emphasis on adult Sunday school based in the text and Bible studies meet infrequently. We don’t have deep, midrash-like conversations about specific verses or chapters. I think approaching the text in that way where you just ask questions you might have and where you don’t come at the text with a specific goal can provide deep insight. I also find that when we read scriptures before the sermon there is an “old testament lesson” read by the liturgist and the “new testament lesson” read by the preacher immediately before the sermon. However, the connection between the two selections is not always clear to the untrained lay person. I think making the connection between the old testament and new explicit would help people think of the Bible as a unified religious text, both halves of which inform our Christian faith. Finally, I like the practice in Jewish synagogue of reading the entire text throughout the year. I think longer passages with more context could improve familiarity with the text for most churchgoers.