The Can’t Miss Cure for Biblical Illiteracy

Countless studies, books, and websites reveal to us that we have become a biblically illiterate people. It’s not only a problem in society; it’s also a problem in the church. And it MUST be addressed lest we fall off the abyss of tainted theology and doctrine and start writing books about love that wins. This we want to avoid.

biblical-illiteracy guy

So how do we cure biblical illiteracy? After much pondering, I’ve come to a very poignant and painful conclusion. To cure biblical illiteracy, we must…

wait for it…

read the Bible.

BAM! Did you hear that? That was the sound of my truth bomb going off.

Biblical illiteracy is the most curable problem the church faces today. ALL WE HAVE TO DO TO CURE BIBLICAL ILLITERACY IS READ, TEACH, AND PREACH THE BIBLE!

But the lack of such is exactly what led us here in the first place.

When I was growing up, our small group sessions were called Sunday school. This was the small-group-discipleship-cell-life-group-class-session-whatever-you-want-to-call-it of its day. But in SS, we used what some call “dated curriculum.” This is the stuff that comes in the mail every quarter and tells you exactly what to teach each week. I was raised on such a curriculum.

Dated curriculum is planned out in what is called “scope and sequence.” It’s just a fancy way of saying that all the lessons are carefully and painstakingly planned out for several years to assure good biblical coverage. Being taught from such curriculum gave me a good, varied diet of biblical truths and stories throughout my upbringing. And even when classes or teachers changed, there were no repeats or fluff because they just picked up where the curriculum left off the week before.

But at some point Sunday school, and particularly dated curriculum, supposedly became “dated.” It was no longer “cool” to use the stuff that came in the mail. So we started pulling lessons out of the air each week. Lessons were no longer planned 2, 3, or even 7 years in advance. They were planned 2 days in advance. They started focusing on current headlines and bestselling books and favorite verses and favorite hobbies. This felt good for a short while. It felt more relevant to be talking about the ills of The Real World and MTV rather than the epistles of Paul. But now we see the effects of such a drifting.

We stopped systematically teaching the Bible and—shockingly—we stopped having any clue what the Bible says.

Guess we should’ve seen that one coming.

The good news is this: dated, planned, systematic curriculum still exists! In fact, by day I’m the editor of such a curriculum (by night I take on my superhero persona). If you want to cure the problem of biblical illiteracy in your church, get back into the dated game (see what I did there?).

If you truly want to help cure the problem of biblical illiteracy, the way I see it you have two options:

1) Plan out your lessons for the next 4 years. Make sure you cover every major biblical story and truth. Look up all the relevant verses and painstakingly write each lesson from start to finish. Create your own curriculum peripherals to make the lesson come to life. Knit together puppets and other characters. Print out posters and create your own CDs with songs that coincide with the lessons. Then begin teaching what you’ve created. When you near the 4-year mark, start over and do it all again.


2) Place an order for next quarter’s dated curriculum of your choice. Prepare for next week. Teach.

Either option is a can’t miss cure for biblical illiteracy, but I know which one I’d prefer.

THE BIBLE: God’s cure for biblical illiteracy. As my kids would say… “duh.”

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2 Replies to “The Can’t Miss Cure for Biblical Illiteracy”

  1. I remember those sunday school lessons! I did learn a lot of bible stories from them but I don’t think I really started to “get” the bible until I started just reading the bible straight through without the explanations and commentaries. Just me, the Bible and lots of prayer time. It helps that there are easier to read versions available now and you can compare and contrast different versions too. And the chronological Bible was super helpful. I Thank God for so many options! I’m not sure how this method would work in sunday school, but I just wanted to share. 🙂

    • Yup, you are absolutely right! I received my understanding of the Bible more in my adult life as well, but much of my knowledge of the Bible (stories, character, facts, etc) came from my childhood. Thanks for sharing!

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