Editorial: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet
As you know, we are a newspaper, not a teaching or doctrinal publication. So our role is to report news that informs, inspires and unites Churches of Christ. In keeping with that mission, this series will examine key Bible-related trends with a goal of encouraging Christians to devote themselves to the study of the Scriptures.
Among the elements that we hope to include in this series:
• The blessings of daily Bible reading: We pray you were as inspired as we were by this month’s story of 9-year-old Davis Burton and the lessons he learned reading the entire Bible during 2010.
• The King James Bible: 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of this remarkably important English translation. We’ll reflect on that history and report on which versions of the Bible are most popular today.
• Biblical illiteracy: We in Churches of Christ used to be known as a people who knew The Word. Is that still the case? We’ll examine this question and explore possible solutions.
• Young people and the Bible: We’ll interview young people involved with Lads to Leaders and Leadership Training for Christ about their Bible studies and check in on a few Bible Bowl participants.
• Bible scholars: Are the number of Bible majors up or down in our Christian colleges, universities and preaching schools? What trends are we seeing, and what do these trends mean for the church?
We should stress that these elements of our series constitute a rough working outline. Plans can develop and change — and often do — as we delve deeper into our reporting.
In fact, we’d love feedback from Chronicle readers on other angles or stories to pursue as part of this series.
In the meantime, we want to make a special challenge to all Christians:
• Start right now to read the Bible daily, if you aren’t already.
• Determine to improve your Bible knowledge this year.
• Plan meaningful textual studies for teens and adults in your church.
• Use eBibleStudy.org or a similar website as a resource for solid textual studies.
Accept this challenge, and you will be blessed beyond measure.
The Happy Church of Christ in Texas used to average Sunday attendance of about 60. In the last 15 years, that number has jumped to about 90 — a 50 percent increase. That growth coincides with the church publishing daily Bible reading schedules in the bulletin, minister Rick Bloodworth said.
“I know of no program that the church has attempted anywhere in the world that has proven as effective as the determination of individual Christians to read their Bibles every day,” he said.
Of all the vital programs and ministries of the church, none can match the value of members taking time daily to devour “God’s story.”
FeedbackWe did used to be known as a “people who knew the Word.” We were also known as a people who kept the Word — who used it as our only rule of faith — our only source of doctrine. It is difficult to keep little things from creeping into our programs that run counter to our stated purpose.
How many church members when they lead our prayers say something like “Bow with me now” or “Bow your heads for prayer.” This seems like a small thing, but the scriptures do not require a particular bodily position in order to pray. Neither, then, should we. Small thing? In a way maybe, but it is of importance to our goal of following the scriptures in all our worship.Don JohnsonCrockett StreetPalestine, Texas
USAJanuary, 31 2011I’m in the midst of a 119 day journey through Psalm 119. It’s renewed my vision of Scripture as transformative and powerful! Would love to hear how churches are creatively approaching the public reading of scripture (something I fear we do less and less these days). Would love to see what would happen if we followed the word-oriented disciplines listed in Psalm 119 for a season!Craig AltrockThe Hills Church of ChristFort Worth, TX
USAJanuary, 31 2011