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Combating Biblical Illiteracy

Pastors and other church leaders in our culture are seeing an on-going trend of biblical illiteracy among church members. People do not know fundamental teachings of the Bible or where to find books in the Bible, much less where to find key Bible passages such as the Ten Commandments or the Lord’s Prayer. While many church-goers can quote John 3:16, that is often the extent of their scripture memory.

The reasons for this trend may be numerous and varied. But if we as Baptists are to continue to be a “people of The Book,” then we need to know and use The Book, God’s Holy Word.

A natural place to teach skills in using the Bible is in the children’s ministry. If our children acquire Bible skills and develop a love and respect for God’s Word, we will be raising a generation of biblically literate followers of Christ. How can we help children develop Bible skills?

  • Have them actually use the Bible in every class they attend at church. It’s amazing how many teachers rely on their reading the scripture from a poster or an activity page, and the children never actually open or use a Bible!
  • Make a Bible skills activity available in the classroom for early arrivers each week. Games that teach the Bible books or the verse for the day are a great way to help children begin learning the minute they walk in the door.
  • Emphasize the importance of learning the books of the Bible, even for adults. One of the adult Sunday School classes at State Street Baptist Church in Cayce, SC begins their lesson time each week by reciting together the books of either the Old or the New Testament (“cheat sheets” are available for those that need them).
  • Challenge parents to disciple their children by practicing at home, saying the books of the Bible, learning memory verses for class times, or finding key passages.
  • Offer a children’s discipling program that focuses on teaching Bible skills. Southern Baptists have an excellent one, Bible Skills, Drills, & Thrills. An optional aspect of the curriculum is to have older children (grades 4-6) participate in Bible Drill competitions. Those with qualifying scores in their church drill can move up to the Association’s Bible Drill, and then on to the State Bible Drill. Interested? Attend a State Children’s Bible Drill to observe. Consider taking a few kids from your children’s ministry so they can see how it works. 

You can combat biblical illiteracy by helping boys and girls develop skills in using and knowing God’s written Word.


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