Friday and Saturday I attended a WMU conference. One of the smaller, breakout conferences I attended was a real eye-opener on the topic of Bible literacy.
We tend to feel sorry for those who are illiterate - meaning those who cannot read. We offer special programs to educate such people because this world is hard to live in if one can't read and write. Personally, I can't imagine not being able to read and write. How often have I found myself reading until the wee hours of the morning because I just couldn't put my latest novel down? Quite often. Equally, I have been caught up in writing on my latest ficton that I didn't want to stop even to eat. I suppose I take it for granted that I have the ability to read and write.
But, do we place as high a priority on Bible literacy? Not in my experience. As I've taught children about a hero from the Bible, I am amazed at how little they know. In fact, it's not always limited to children. I have seen youth and adults who couldn't relate a well-known story like David and Goliath or Daniel and the lions den. With so little knowledge of the Bible, the whole story of God is not known.
The speaker this weekend utilized a simple graphic showing the 14 eras of the Bible. Then, she proceeded to move through each telling the story. It was impressive. She began in Genesis and pointed out the mention of Christ from the start. She showed that the whole Bible is the story of God's love and redemption. We so often pick a story here and there like pieces to a puzzle, but we never weave it together. We are basically not Bible literate.
There were times in the Bible when the words and laws from God were not read and even lost. During those times God's people turned to other gods and became corrupt. Why? They didn't have the words from God to direct their lives. There were times of restoration - like when King Josiah had the temple cleaned up removing idols. During the "spring cleaning" the book of law - instructions from God - were found. The king had them read immediately and the people cleaned up their act. Why? They heard the Word of God and returned to Him.
Just as this world is hard to live in when illiterate, it is tough to live the Christian life when we suffer from Bible illiteracy. Maybe our "spring cleaning" should include dusting off the Bible and reading His story so it becomes our story.