A generation or two ago, American novelists could assume that people would understand biblical allusions, hence titles like East of Eden, Absalom, Absalom! and Song of Solomon. That assumption is no longer valid. The Chicago Tribune reported last summer on the Biblical Literacy Report, which revealed that two-thirds of high school students have no idea what “a Damascus Road experience” is, and don’t have a clue about who Noah was. That article inspired me to preach a series of sermons, “Bible Stories Everybody Should Know.”
The decline in Bible literacy sparked the creation of a new textbook for public schools, The Bible and Its Influence. Judging from the review by Luke Timothy Johnson, it might be a good resource for congregations. After all, it’s not only the secular, stay-at-home-on-Sunday-morning folk who don’t know much about the Bible.