Proclaiming More than Meditating

By Mark A. Taylor

After we had settled on the theme for our yearlong emphasis on the Bible, someone suggested a variation that almost made us reconsider.

Instead of “The Bible: Lift it up. Live it out,” he proposed “The Bible: Let it in. Live it out.”

“Scripture says far more about meditating on God’s Word than defending it,” he said. By the time he wrote, we had already made our decision, commissioned a logo, and finished our plans. Would we have chosen “Let it in” over “Lift it up” if we had thought of it sooner?

Maybe.

But, really, the late suggestion is more a formula for personal improvement than church action, while our purpose is challenging the church to make a more substantive emphasis on the Bible. Certainly our year is partly about encouraging leaders to meditate more on the Bible—if this happens, imagine how it could change many churches’ ministries! But more meditation certainly isn’t our first goal.

We’re hoping this year’s Bible-related features will help churches “lift up” the Bible above the cacophony of competing voices assaulting all of us in this digital age. We’ve received a submission for our “In Opinions, Liberty” column from a young adult begging the church to help her generation know the Bible as well as the generations before her. (Watch for “A Plea for Biblical Literacy” by Megan Gariss on that page later this year.) We hope to equip and encourage Christian leaders to make that happen.

And we never thought about defending the Bible with “lift it up.” It’s only natural to include the apologetics angle in a yearlong Bible emphasis. For example, we’re planning a helpful article on how we got the Bible and why we can trust it.

But the bigger problem, as we see it, is the host of church attendees who say they believe the Bible but they seldom read it, don’t know it, and can’t identify popular notions that contradict it. We hope to help remedy an apathy toward Bible learning and teaching that characterizes too many Christian lives and church programs.

Matt Proctor’s piece this week is a good start, and it’s only a beginning. It’s the first of six two-part articles he’ll offer throughout 2011 on how to study and teach the Bible. (Watch for the second installment, “Getting the Most from Old Testament Law,” slated for March 20 and 27.)

As we lift up the Bible throughout 2011, we’re eager to report how you’re lifting it up in your ministries. Together we can encourage each other to hide God’s Word in our hearts, and after we’ve “let it in,” to “lift it up” for all the world to understand and obey.

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1 Comment

  1. January 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

    The biggest things you can do to encourage reading and literacy of the Bible is to direct your congregations to such things as the Lectionary daily readings and actually reading scripture in services. One of the fantastic things about being an Episcopalian is the massive amount of Scripture reading we get in a service. Growing up evangelical, I would barely hear a verse before the Pastor started a sermon on a generalized idea. And these were the churches who said they were Bible-led. Bring more scripture reading and quality exegesis into your worship services.

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