What To Do About Biblical Illiteracy - It's Simple But Hard Work
I fear that sometimes in the church we spend far too much time bemoaning the state of "the world." I could post all sorts of statistics that will paint a bleak picture of how skepticism seems to be winning the day. The Barna Group is a research company that focuses on issues of faith and culture. Go check them out if you want to see the stats. Bottom line - it doesn't look good. People are less likely to respect the Bible as a holy book and less likely to read it. Show those stats to any group of faithful church-goers and you are likely to get a string of amens followed by a litany of complaints about how liberalism, globalism, hedonism, communism, socialism, and plenty of other "isms" are ruining our world.
My fear is that in our quickness to bemoan the declining influence of God's word on the world, we may ignore the declining influence of God's word in our churches. As a child, I was blessed to attend a church that took learning the Bible seriously. Since I grew up this way, I know it's pretty simple to teach the Bible. I remember working with my mom to learn the books of the Bible and my memory verses for Sunday school. I heard the stories from the Bible over and over. It was just like what Moses taught the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6, "Talk about them [the commandments] when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." My parents and my church loved God, so they taught me his words.
Teaching the story of the Bible to children is really quite simple. But doing it still requires hard work, especially when doing it at the church level. Teaching the Bible well takes discipline and dedication. I want to close by pointing out one of the reasons that teaching the Bible in Sunday school is harder than it should be. Remember that group of faithful church-goers I mentioned earlier? The group so ready to go along with a complaint-fest about the lack of respect for the Bible in society. Ask that same group for volunteers to teach the Bible to young people in their own church, and what do you get? I think you know the answer.
So here is the challenge. If you are a Christian and you love the Bible, what are you doing to teach that Bible to the children in your family and in your church? To the professional teachers, I know that you sometimes get tired of dealing with kids all day. But you have a gift. Use it for the glory of God. To the empty nesters, I know that you are a bit relieved to have gotten your children out the door. Don't rest too long. Remember, there is a new batch of kids right behind yours, and those parents need help. Perhaps you can give them the help you never had. To the vigorous retirees, I know that you want to enjoy your retirement. That's great, but what inheritance are you leaving? You have so much to give. To all of us, God has given us so much. What will we give in return?