I have to say that I am surprised by the amount of biblical illiteracy in the church. I expect it outside, but not inside. The amount is so shocking, especially in the face of issues that are faced by the culture: the marriage crisis, the scourge of abortion, the disintegration of the family and society. I’m not saying that these problems would be absent if everyone read the bible, but there simply wouldn’t be a problem.
The first step in biblical literacy is to realize that the Bible is not a book, but a collection of 66 books. All of these books, when combined, tell the story of God’s interaction with mankind. They tell of God’s character, God’s design for creation, and how man can rightfully connect with the God of creation. Each book has its own theme, but all are unified under a single theme: God meets man’s need. Forty authors, over a span of 1500 years tell of God’s investment in man and His work to bring it to fruition.
The Bible must be read carefully. It must be read in its context, as parts are history, parts are prophetic, parts are poetry, and parts are principle. There are elements that only apply in a certain time, and yet some parts are timeless. Learning to tell these apart is an essential element of biblical literacy.
God’s Word is described as a weapon, so it must be handled with extreme care, as the writer of Hebrews warns, “(The) word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (4:12 NKJV)” He wasn’t saying that to scare people, he was saying it because it is true. The word of God cuts into the heart of sinful man, and unless one knows how powerful and pervasive it can be one can twist it to spread dissention, doubt, and reinforce disobedience that ultimately will lead to destruction, not only in the present but in eternity.
Biblical literacy starts with a willingness to learn, a desire to know, and a heart for change. The very attitudes that are necessary for Christian growth, seem to be despised by the church today.
For more information and resources, visit these great sites:
http://www.str.org Stand to Reason is a ministry resource that seeks to equip believers to be better ambassadors for Christ.
http://www.reasonablefaith.org The ministry page of Dr. William Lane Craig, seeking to equip believers to understand and articulate their faith.