Newly revised study encourages congregation-wide reading of Bible in its entirety as Bible literacy in U.S. sees steep decline
August 24, 2011
Bible literacy is on a steep decline. Fifty-five percent of adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center could not name the four Gospels, 66 percent do not know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and 12 percent of Americans questioned identified Joan of Arc as Noah’s wife.
Reading the Bible is on a downward trend as well. In fact, only 37 percent of Americans said they read the Bible at least once a week; 19 percent participated in a small group for Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship. In addition, only a minority of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) laity report reading the Bible on their own, either “at least daily” (members, 18 percent; elders, 17 percent) or “often, but not daily” (16 percent; 17 percent).
The Bible is the root of Christian faith—sharing stories of God’s interactions with God’s people with the intention of instructing the reader in how he or she should live his or her life. How, then, if readership and knowledge of the Bible are decreasing, can believers strive to be “Christ-like” without knowing God’s commands for being a Christian?
The Year of the Bible is a comprehensive Bible-reading program designed for group and individual study. Newly revised, this ever-popular study offers a sweeping introduction to biblical themes, persons, and concepts.
Published by Witherspoon Press, The Year of the Bible includes a detailed reading schedule for every day of one year, leading participants to a better understanding of Scripture. Newcomers to the Bible and longtime readers alike will find their Christian faith enhanced and feel a sense of accomplishment from reading God’s Word in its entirety.
“The Year of the Bible is the best resource I know for guiding a congregation in the discipline of reading and studying the Bible,” said Donald L. Griggs, Christian educator and author of The Bible from Scratch. “I am sure individuals and congregations that undertake such a discipline will receive a multitude of blessings.”
James E. Davison, director of continuing education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Year of the Bible, conjured up the idea for this study several years ago. He encouraged members of his church to read the whole Bible in one year as
a congregation-wide project.
Davison said, “The Bible became much better known and appreciated by folks in the congregation; a deeper sense of unity developed within the congregation. People began to share their impressions and questions with each other. They seemed to relish the sense that they are ‘in this together.’ ”
Since its inception, The Year of the Bible has been used by nearly 60,000 people in the United States and Canada. Now it is your turn to read the whole Bible over the course of one year with your congregation.
Order The Year of the Bible online at store.pcusa.org or call the Presbyterian Distribution Service at (800) 524-2612. Learn more about the study by visiting the website.