Why Biblical literacy is an issue that every Children’s Ministry leader needs to address
One blogger I read said they were concerned that a focus on Biblical literacy would mean making a relationship with God less important. In another article, the author calls Biblical illiteracy a crisis and “the most dangerous threat to the viability of the Church in America”.
What is Biblical literacy?
Biblical literacy is knowledge of the Bible. But it’s about more than just having memorized all 66 books of the Bible and knowing the 10 Commandments. Someone who is Biblically literate understands the big picture story of the Bible. The Bible is not a book of stand alone stories; it is one big story – the story of God and His people.
Biblical literacy is hugely important. We need to know the Bible because that is where God reveals Himself to us.
In his book, Revolutionary Parenting, Christian researcher George Barna states that most of our children are Biblically illiterate and that more than half believe Jesus sinned just like us when He was on earth.
Biblical literacy is crucial for our kids because the Bible is where we get to know God. God chose to reveal Himself to us primarily through His Word – the Bible. Our kids need to know the Bible. Not so that they know that Zephaniah comes before Malachi, but that they understand that the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Zephaniah keeps His promises. As they read and are taught how everything fits together and begin to understand the chronology of the Bible, they will see that over and over again, God keeps His promises. And maybe they will come to trust our faithful God. They will see that God is holy and that people are sinners. They will see that our holy God made a way for sinners to be saved because He is loving and merciful and gracious.
If our main goal is making disciples, Biblical literacy needs to be an important part of our educational strategy. We want kids to know, love, and follow God. The primary way our kids will get to know God is through the Bible.
So teach your kids to love their Bibles! Encourage your kids to be reading their Bibles; help kids understand how to navigate their Bibles; encourage them to become familiar with the books of the Bible. Not just so that they can say they have memorized all 66 books of the Bible, but so that they can get to know the God of the Bible.