The brothers immediately sent Paul to Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble that those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:10-11
Over the last month I have spent at least 5 days with different classes at our Lutheran Day School, Adult bible class and Sr. High youth going through the Christmas story told to us by the gospel writers. I have been amazed and saddened by some of the reaction. The first class I went to was the 5-6 grade class. I had a quiz they were to take and then we went over the questions in a fun power point I created. Many of the students we amazed at how many questions they go wrong. The average score on the test was 8 out of 28. To be fair many of the questions were tricky and meant to make you think. (Adult class had the most trouble admitting they were wrong!) I even got called out on one of the questions because the text was unclear.
I knew it would be fun, but I guess I didn’t expect some of the reaction I got from doing it with all the groups. Some of the adults were angry and thought the test was unfair or they didn’t think I was right with my answers. I think the most amazing response came from one of the 5th graders. She said in a somewhat funny but somewhat sad voice. “I have been lied to all these years.” That phrase got me to thinking about how we teach students, or families, and adults about scriptures.
I don’t think many people have the intention of lying to students or their children when they tell a story from the Bible. I think most of us have good intentions. However, I do think it is most important for all of us to actually be in the text. we believe this is where God speaks to us. When we talk about God speaking to us we say in happens in and through the Word of God. We stray from this all to often. We will go to a note in our bible or, rember how it was portrayed in a movie all too often. The Pastor I currently serve with is fond of saying after someone talks in Bible study “That is great what your note says or what that book or this book says but what does the text say, lets start there.” Sometimes we read a text and just assume we know what it is saying or we repeat something that maybe isn’t really in the text but it is how we think it should have gone. As Christians we can read all the books and commentaries we want but if they aren’t based on the actual text then they can be less than helpful. These books and such are not bad things but sometimes we can miss what the text actually says. We have to be careful and discern what the text actually says and share that with our people, families and friends.
Have we lied to kids about Christmas? Well no it happened, and many of the details we think we know from Sunday school class, a nativity display or the children’s Christmas program are false or at least misleading. So why don’t we correct it then? The answer is I don’t know. The girls comment in class a few weeks ago really made me think about biblical accuracy. In my Church I am know for taking the wise men form the nativity because they don’t come until Jesus is older (Matthew 2). They were not there at his Birth. I don’t however stand up and destroy the manger that looks like a stable, or protest the Christmas pageant with the innkeeper (Luke 2). So what is my point. I guess it is that we as Christian Men and Women need to be in our Bibles more. Be more aware of what the text acutally says not what we think it should say or pull things from out of context to fit our purposes. We all should be checking more in our scriptures about what the bible actually says not what we think is says. As for me. I know I will be reading much more in the coming year. I plan to get into it the text more and when I hear someone tell me something about the Bible I am going to be asking more and more, “Where is that in the bible?”
Gods richest blessings to all of you as you celebrate “The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us” John 1:14