I recently participated in a Pastor’s round table discussion on the broad topic of Christian Education. Rev. Tom Wiles, our ABCORI Executive Minister offered an interesting question that went something like this, “Do you think that adding pew bibles to our sanctuaries has helped or hindered Biblical literacy amongst church goers?” While there may be no measurable data to help us answer that particular question, some interesting discussion did follow. The observations offered by the group included:
The pew bibles allow us to leave our personal bibles at home. For some this might be convenient, but it doesn’t always speak well of our commitment to God’s word.
Often this is the only time during the week that some will approach God’s word, so we are making it accessible in the pews.
Maybe we shouldn’t list the page numbers in the bulletin, so that folks will have to work at being familiar with where to find passages.
A general agreement persisted that much of the mainline, tradition-lead church is less biblically literate than the previous generations of believers. We spoke of we as Pastors who have often not maintained an intentionality towards scriptural knowledge, teachers who cover curriculum but have only a cursory knowledge of the word, and homes where the Bible receives little or no significant usage.
We also spoke to these times, in which we are called to live out the Christian faith and biblical mandates while so much of these are under attack. How can the church stand for this or that aside from the authority of scripture? If we have no biblical foundation for our lives, we can easily fall prey to our own feelings, attitudes, or those of others, even if we have the best of intentions. We can mistake public sentiment for biblical teaching, or cultural mores for biblical truth. Sometimes, we find ourselves in the position where we “think” we know what the bible says, but wouldn’t know where to look in the scripture in order to be certain.
As we consider all that this crazy world needs the church to be, and our potential to shine as never before as a beacon of truth, peace, and justice, why don’t we commit to each other to become a more biblically centered fellowship, deepening our understanding of God’s word, and acting on its truths, as we deal with each other, our community, and the world… more to come…