What Should a Teacher Do About Biblical Ignorance or Apathy? (Conclusion)

Read it through; write it down; pray it in; work it out; pass it on. The Word of God changes a person until they become an Epistle of God.
                                                           Smith Wigglesworth

In the first two posts in the series, we saw that it’s very possible that significant percentages of people in our congregations, classes or small groups fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They don’t read the Bible very much
  • They don’t believe what they read in the Bible
  • They aren’t interested in the Bible influencing their lives

In the most recent posts, I made the first two of three suggestions for addressing the issue.

If you’re just catching up on the series, links to the first four posts follow.

When Your People Don’t Believe or Read the Bible

Does What People Believe About the Bible Matter?

What Should a Teacher Do About Biblical Ignorance or Apathy (Part 3 in a Series)

What Should a Teacher Do About Biblical Ignorance or Apathy (Part 4 in a Series)

My thesis presupposes that the center and anchor of all meaningful spiritual teaching is the Bible – specifically the canonized text made up of 66 books from Genesis to Revelation.

And, my interest in this series is simple and three-fold: 1. The Bible should be central to our teaching as pastors, lay leaders, ministers and small group leaders. 2. Many in our congregations don’t read or regard the Bible as much as we would like or expect, creating a potentially significant gap in understanding. 3. As leaders and teachers we should do something about it.

And the rest of the posts address point #3.

In Step #1, I suggested that our preaching and teaching should incorporate specific references that support the Bible as a reliable reference to history.

In Step #2, I recommend exercises in exposition.

Finally, I am suggesting teaching about the reliability of the Scriptures as we currently have them. The implication is that the Bible in its original manuscripts represents an accurate documenting of historical accounts under the influence of the Holy Spirit and that, even in its various English translations, it can be relied upon as trustworthy for faith and practice.

In other words, learn and teach about how the Bible became the Bible. (I have, of course, included resources below.)

You might consider a pastor’s blog series on how the Bible became the Bible or building a case for why you trust the Scriptures. This could be a teaching podcast you post, a sermon series or a special study.

The point is many people – including Christians – aren’t aware of the care that went into the construction of the canon and the manuscript support that makes it reliable. It is both a God-breathed spiritual work, and a reliable historical manuscript telling God’s story through actual people and events. It includes poetry, song, allegory and accurate history.

For instance, some in your congregation or class may not know:

  • The Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible (and the basis for the protestant Old Testament) is referred to as the Masoretic Text. The process of copying Scripture to be handed down was meticulous. Jewish scribes called the Massoretes copied the Old Testament text from manuscripts that had all capital letters and no punctuation. After they had copied a book, they would add the grand total of all the letters (each letter!). Then, they would painstakingly find the middle letter of the book. If it wasn’t the same as the original, they would destroy the copy and make a new one. I get a headache just thinking about that process.
  • The discovery of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” in 1947 did much to confirm the reliability of today’s Scriptures. They were held and stored by farmers in the Qumran Community from 150 BC to 70 AD and confirm much of today’s Old Testament Scriptures including Isaiah, Habakkuk and the books of Samuel, among others.
  • There are over 4000 ancient Greek manuscripts that cover the entirety of the New Testament. Meaning there is more documented support for the New Testament than any other historical work. For instance, if one of the Gospels records that Jesus did or said something, He did or said it.

You get the idea.

Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that empowers the reading and hearing of the Scriptures so that they impact our lives (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 14:26; 1 John 2:27, etc.). So the process of overcoming Biblical ignorance or apathy starts at the spiritual level.

With that established, being explicit about the Bible as the trustworthy Word of God from our pulpits and lecterns is a powerful approach.

Suggested Research Materials

(Some links will take you to amazon.com. Leaderhelps.com is an amazon affiliate so, if you make a purchase, a percentage will go to help build/maintain the website.)

Can We Trust the New Testament as a Historical Document?

Are the Bible Documents Reliable?

Can I Trust the Bible?

The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?