Biblical and Theological Literacy


Neil introduces a topic (see "Elders, Learning and Doing Theology") that is of interest to me namely, theological and biblical literacy towards the purpose of “practical wisdom” on the part of not only elders but all adults within my church. As a recently installed administrative elder now assigned as a liaison to the education committee and as someone who has facilitated an adult education class on Calvin and Calvinism and organized a two-day event on the Dead Sea Scrolls, I am extremely sympathetic to your promotion of both the biblical and theological literacy of adults within the church. Education committee meetings have made clear to me that while Sunday School, GEMS, Cadets and youth group participants have been well-served by curricula focused on faith formation the same cannot be said for adult education. Post-profession of faith there are few opportunities for adults to grow in their biblical and theological understanding beyond that which they receive in sermons. This is ironic given the historical commitment on the part of the Christian Reformed Church membership to higher education.

I am interested in hearing from elders (and education committees!) on how they have implemented theological and biblical education for adults within their churches. What have you taught? How have you promoted it?

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 The lack of response says much.  The models we celebrate are really quite few.  I commend you for the teaching you have done.  

Just recently I was reading about how in our culture many seem to think that theology is usually about the distinctives of a tradition.  Entering more deeply into theology is a sure way of highlighting what is divisive.  So many shy away from theology, and holding onto those things we have in common with all- which usually means simple statements of faith and a limited vision of salvation.  I can understand why.  WE have had some very divisive battles over the years.  We have friends who belong to other traditions who are wonderful Christians.  WE are afraid that entering into theology is to create brokenness.

so it seems to me we need a culture change that imagines theology as deepening our love for God, as a way of discernment, as a way of seeing more clearly the wonder of God's life and way in our life.  We need to imagine theology as a way of living more creatively and wonderfully as servants to the Lord.  

Culture change is difficult.  But I have noticed some articles, books and practices that suggest that maybe interest in theology will increase.  

Keep at it. Neil


I hope so. The doctrines can reveal the wisdom of the Holy Spirit  by explaining the sriptures. I can't say they hit me like scripture but they are important. I believe every office holder should be required to study both. I appreciate your incite.

One of the issues is people are not commited to defining their beliefs. It can be a scary  to find out your assumptions may have holes.

Greg, in our church we have an adult bible study every Sunday before church.  Most adults who are not teaching sunday school will attend this, while some do not attend and just drink coffee in the hall.  Various topics in the past have included the Book of Romans, Parables of Jesus, Ezra/Nehemiah, Heidleberg Catechism(two years), videos of various reformers, and John Piper on video, just to name a few.  This adult bible study lasts about 45 minutes, and provides opportunity to discuss and learn about what the bible says to our lives.  This group has often been held in the sanctuary, but in some years held in a larger classroom. 

I know this is two years after you posted this, but in case you are still curious, I thought I'd let you know what we do.