Home The Value of Biblical Literacy - Issue#61

The Value of Biblical Literacy - Issue#61

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A cluster of Romans 12 churches were asked during a Christian education survey, "If biblical literacy is defined as knowing sufficiently what the Bible says, what it means, and how to apply it, then what is its value in this congregation?" They were also asked about the biblical/theological mandates that undergird their Christian formation ministry.

While the respondents were clear about their biblical/theological "marching orders" and had confidence in their leadership, nearly all respondents indicated that there was room for improvement. Generally, the congregations reported biblical literacy as having high value, though there were numerous caveats that there may be a higher espoused value than actualized value. DISCIPLE Bible study, for example, was mentioned several times for its benefit to congregational literacy. Many people reported that the congregation "hungers for more."

Not surprisingly, the congregations that place intentional time and energy in adult Christian education reported that biblical literacy was high in value and in practice and that it was much more likely to be valued throughout the life span.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • If it can be said that people participate in what they value, how can deep knowledge of the content and significance of the Bible be taken more seriously?

  • What sort of orientation or other resources might prompt members of the congregation to expect biblical literacy of themselves and each other?

  • How might sharing personal faith stories that include the benefit of knowing and recalling Scripture be transformational?

  • What if, throughout the church council, classes, groups, and worship experiences, you initiated a church-wide challenge to engage in Bible study? What would such a challenge look like?

  • How might such a challenge be received and what would you need to do to initiate and sustain it?

Diana L. Hynson is Director of Learning and Teaching Ministries at the Discipleship Ministries. She can be reached at [email protected]. For more information on the interviews referred to in this article go to: http://tiny.cc/bl61e.

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #61. © 2010 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.