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? - Pathfinder

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?

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    • #3343
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster

      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?

    • #3373
      Griffin Weiss
      Participant

      Biblical literacy in decline is something that seems apparent without having to dig too much into what Christians know and don’t know about their Bibles. It is on the surface, a clear problem. I have volunteered with high school students through my Church for the past few years and it is consistently surprising to me how little these students, who are smart, academic people, know about the Old and New Testaments. How does this change and improve? I can think of one recommendation that may work for some communities, and maybe it would not for others. But, this idea has helped me greatly, especially as an undergraduate student, and that is to create community driven reading plans. I mean that as a community, encourage people to read a chapter or two per day of a book of scripture, maybe more, and then either report back in a group message something like that to encourage a level of accountability but more importantly, shared experience and community-driven understanding. As a college student, I did this with a group of about twenty people reading through many OT books that I had really never read before and it was a formative experience that gave me new love for and understanding of the scriptures.

      • #3410
        Alexandra Adair
        Participant

        Hey Griffin,

        I like hearing that you focus on community. One of the most effective and critical ways to increase literacy is through questioning each other’s interpretation of the text. It’s great that you’re involved in this. People come from different backgrounds and levels of understanding of the Scriptures, and hearing from multiple viewpoints about the same passages can help some people understand the original meaning and circumstances of the text better than simply reading it on their own. Hearing from podcasts has helped me to do that in college when it’s hard to find time to sit with friends and talk about the readings, as well.

      • #3458
        Alex Cevallos
        Participant

        I think your suggestion is a solid plan. As Dr. Dru mentioned the goal is not necessarily to read your Bible everyday, but to read large chunks of it regularly. This enables the reader to get a full grasp of the theme of the scripture which is vital for understanding God’s character. I agree that smart Christians are not biblically literate whether in High school, College, Graduate School, or the Professional arena. However, Dr. Dru also mentions that being Biblically literate is only half the battle. The other important piece to the puzzle is to be biblically fluent which is how we as followers of the Bible can apply it in real time. The most profound thing he said in his lecture is that the Bible tells us whether or not we should own an I-Phone. Wow.

    • #3409
      Alexandra Adair
      Participant

      I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. My experience in different churches is helpful when addressing the increase in biblical literacy needed. Depending on the theme of the message, there are different ways in which scripture is presented. Sometimes pastors like to make a point and then just cite a verse on the screen to back up their statement, which can be neglectful of the context of the verse. On the other hand, another church I’ve attended is called a “Bible church” and makes the point to go through the text word by word each week and study one book of the Bible for months. This helps people more deeply understand each book and the context of each verse, but it can be time-consuming and hyperfocused for however long it takes to finish that one book. I believe a mixture of these approaches is necessary, as we tend to look at a verse and mold it to our own personal theology when we’re not given the entire story, but sometimes being so zoomed so far into one book can blind us to the fuller picture. Furthermore, I think that making comparisons between two books that recount the same events would be extremely effective in increasing biblical literacy. For example, reading 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles at the same time would help people to understand the structure and importance of both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and how and why the Lord blesses both even though the Messiah came up out of Judah.

    • #3442

      My recommendation for church leadership is: returning to origins. I mean, give the Hebrew back! When I started learning Hebrew, I noticed that many words, biblical passages were deeper than I thought. The Hebrew interpretation is different and much better. When we don’t have that recognition, we miss the best of meaning. In my small group, when I deliver the word of God, I usually talk about the verse in Hebrew and Portuguese (I’m from Brazil) and they were amazed to know a new understanding and that’s wonderful. We always leave happy with a new understanding.

    • #3480
      Lillian Gillespie
      Participant

      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.

    • #3481
      Lillian Gillespie
      Participant

      Ana, good idea! When you learn about the traditional use of certain words, their meanings in Greek vs. Hebrew vs. English there is a wealth of information inaccessible to those of us who can’t read the original text and may not know the historical contexts and rabbinic interpretations of verses. In the supplemental podcast discussing Joseph, I was surprised and impressed by all of the connections Rabbi Lamm made that I had never heard of from my pastors. Returning to the original language gives so much more insight into the meaning of different biblical stories and how they apply to our faith.

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