The Bible mini-series that debuted on the History Channel last March has now been seen by more than 95 million viewers. The unexpected “blockbuster” reception by the viewing public pleasantly surprised even its enthusiastic producers, husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. The series struck a chord with millions and rekindled interest in the themes, stories, and characters of the Bible. It also seems to have highlighted for many a drastic cultural and generational decline of general Biblical literacy. People were “surprised” by how much of the basic stories of the Bible they were unacquainted with.
Shortly before the series aired, producers Burnett and Downey wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal sharing their motivation for producing the series and promoting the value of the study of the Bible as literature in public education. Here is a thought-provoking excerpt from that March 1 WSJ article:
“Have you ever sensed in your own life that ‘the handwriting was on the wall’? Or encouraged a loved one to walk ‘the straight and narrow’? Have you ever laughed at something that came ‘out of the mouths of babes’? Or gone ‘the extra mile’ for an opportunity that might vanish ‘in the twinkling of an eye’? If you have, then you’ve been thinking of the Bible. So many things we say and do every day have their origins in the most read, most influential book of all time …”
The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways, including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanitarianism.
Without the Bible, Shakespeare would read differently—there are more than 1,200 references to Scripture in his works. Without the Bible, there would be no Sistine Chapel and none of the biblically inspired masterpieces that hang in countless museums world-wide. In movies, without biblical allegories, there would be no “Les Misérables,” no “Star Wars,” no “Matrix,” no “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, no “Narnia” and no “Ben-Hur.” There would be no Alcoholics Anonymous, Salvation Army or Harvard University — all of which found their roots in Scripture. Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president, known more as a cigar-chomping Rough Rider than a hymn-singing Bible-thumper, once said: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” The common desktop reference guide “The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy” on its first page declares: “No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible.”
As a pastor, I value the Bible as the guide for faith and practice in my spiritual walk and in leading and encouraging the people I am called to serve. As a chaplain I rely on its ageless wisdom and comfort in times of crisis. As a follower of Christ, I am guided daily by my knowledge and study of the whole counsel of this amazing book. As a parent, it has always been a high priority to acquaint my children with the stories, precepts, and lessons of Scripture. The Bible is foundational in my life.
On July 7, Montesano Church of God is launching an exciting 31-week Bible overview series called “The Story.” You and your family are invited to join us on this amazing journey through a chronological summary of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. “The Story” is written in narrative form primarily using direct words from Scripture but edited, reorganized by timeline, and condensed to cover the main themes, characters, and events of the Bible.
I am thrilled to start this adventure together and to offer it to our whole community. In just 31 short, accessible weekly chapters we will experience a comprehensive chronological summary of the main stories and themes of the entire Bible. I am confident you will nurture your own faith and grow in your knowledge and understanding of the whole Story of Scripture.
Personal copies of “The Story” are available for all ages including Children’s Story Picture books at the church. Having your own copy(s) will allow you to keep up with the journey if you miss a week.
“The Story” — Sunday mornings at the Montesano Church of God. 9 a.m. Sunday school, 10 a.m. worship and 6 p.m. reflections and ponderings.
Come join us. It will be amazing.
Marc A. Rice is pastor at Montesano Church of God.