Time’s cover recently featured Cliff Notes on The Bible with the tagline “Why We Should Teach The Bible In Public School.” Whoda thought? And this is from the same Timemagazine that 40 years ago provocatively featured the cover story “Is God Dead?”!
Well, God is alive and well. And so is the Bible! Time‘s recent article presents the position that a basic knowledge of the Bible is essential for understanding Western culture – movies, books and even current events. The Bible’s themes and imagery are woven deeply into American life and culture and pop up everywhere – from Superman to Babel to The Matrix. Whether someone’s Christian, atheist, Wiccan or agnostic, a well-educated person can’t make sense of many elements of our culture without a basic understanding of the Bible.
The Time article puts it this way:
SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year.
When comparing plays by Shakespeare to the Bible as literature, Time concludes:
…let’s compare the two: Beauty of language: Shakespeare, by a nose. Depth of subject matter: toss-up. Breadth of subject matter: the Bible. Numbers published, translated etc: Bible. Number of people martyred for: Bible. Number of wars attributed to: Bible. Solace and hope provided to billions: you guessed it. And Shakespeare would almost surely have agreed. According to one estimate, he alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times.
No doubt about it – the Bible is important, whether you are a believer or not. And you can use Biblical imagery whenever it appears in movies, music, books or conversations to bring God up. You can even use the recent news stories on the Bible to turn the conversation toward God. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Find out if your friends consider themselves familiar with the Bible? USA Todayrecently ran the headline: “Americans Get an ‘F’ in Religion.” The article’s lead reads: “Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.” See if you and your friends can name five of the Ten Commandments. If you’re interested in whether you’d get an ‘F’ in religion, check out the full quiz at Test Your Religious Literacy.
- Is the Bible still relevant today to normal daily life? Talk about how God has used the Bible in your life.
- Should the Bible be taught as literature in public schools. Share what you believe.
- Use the opportunity to talk with your friends about the Biblical imagery in movies like Superman Returns or The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Ask your friends if they have any interest in learning more about the Bible. Invite them to join you at youth group this week!
Secular historians acknowledge that Jesus was an incredibly influential person in the history of the world – so studying his words and story in the Bible only makes sense. Just make sure you also take the opportunity to let your friends know that Jesus is an incredibly influential person in your life and invite them to have a personal relationship with Him too!
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991
- “Open the Bible, Open Your Mind” (barefootpreachr.org)