Recent studies suggest that biblical literacy is on the decline. That’s probably true, but it has been true for many decades (“there’s nothing new under the sun?” (Eccl. 1:9)). With every generation there comes an insistence that people don’t know the Bible like they used to. But the truth remains that many good people don’t know very much about the Good Book. I doubt most people can name the 12 Apostles or quote Psalm 23. But I did see a bunch of people on my Facebook feed having a discussion of the Antichrist (2 John 1:7), so maybe there’s hope?
Some verses of the Bible have become so familiar that they hardly seem biblical. Students turn in assignments at “the eleventh hour” (Mt. 20) and pass classes by the “skin of their teeth” (Job 19:20), often leaving parents and teachers at “wit’s end” (Ps. 107:27) . Some would say that “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33); perhaps just an example of the “blind leading the blind” (Mt. 15:14). I’ve heard parents of young children say their kid “gave up the ghost” when they finally went to sleep, but John’s Gospel would suggest it’s a much worse fate (19:30) for the “apple of their eye” (Dt. 32:10). I wouldn’t make the child the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10).
In his book Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero argues that familiarity with the world’s religions has tremendous civil importance, beyond the religious. He argues for a high degree of Bible knowledge. Timothy Beal’s Biblical Literacy makes the same case. It’s hard to be an informed citizen while being uninformed about Western Civilization’s most important book.
But those aren’t the main reasons that we read the Bible. We read the Bible because we believe God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). We trust Scripture as a witness of God’s story and God’s work in the world. We find it difficult to know the author if we refuse to read the author’s work. The Bible is not a blueprint for the church’s organization or a law for setting up human governments. The Bible is not a love letter from God or a collection of myths. The Bible is the story of God’s story. And when we read it, we appreciate our place in that story.
Through the rest of 2021 we will consider how people at White Station have walked with the Bible in a new class series, Doorposts. Borrowing from Deuteronomy 6, Doorposts will feature conversations with White Station partners about how particular texts have shaped their life of faith. You will hear from young and old, male and female, longtime pillars and new friends--all reflecting on how particular sections of God’s story have shaped their life. Each week you'll receive a card to hang on your own doorpost to remember that person and their guiding scripture.
We’ll meet at 9:45 in the Fellowship Hall on Sundays. Refreshments will be served. Don’t miss it.