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Biblical Literacy

What biblical background should a young Christian graduating from high school have? I have divided this list into three categories: Knowledge (facts and skills to master), Comprehension (concepts to understand), and Application (integration of faith and daily life). These suggestions are meant to be representative and not exhaustive or narrowly prescriptive. Many fine substitutions could be made in the memory work list, for example, but the passages mentioned give an idea of the quality and quantity of what young Christians should know.


FACTS: Young people should know. . .

·The books of the Bible in order, including the number of books in each testament.
·The primary characters and events of the Bible in chronological order.
·The 10 commandments (Exodus 20).
·The beatitudes (Matthew 5).
·The names of the 12 apostles.
·The names of the 12 sons of Jacob.
·The types of biblical literature (for example, history, poetry, prophecy).
·The basic outline of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
·The key elements of Bible geography (for example, the names of the main countries, rivers, bodies of water, cities, and mountains).
·The names of at least three translations of the Bible.
·The known authors of the New Testament books.
·The steps to salvation—what one must do in order to be saved.

SCRIPTURE: Young people should be able to locate and quote. . .

·Genesis 1:1.
·Psalm 1.
·Psalm 23.
·John 3:16-17 (the Golden Text).
·Galatians 5:22-23 (the Fruit of the Spirit).
·Matthew 6:9-13 (the Lord’s Prayer).
·Matthew 7:12 (the Golden Rule).
·Matthew 22:36-40 (the Great Commandments).
·Matthew 28:18-20 (the Great Commission).
·2 Peter 1:5-8 (the Christian Graces).
·Acts 2:37-39.
·Hebrews 11:1.
·1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
·Philippians 2:3-8.
·Philippians 4:4-7.
·Ephesians 2:8-10.
·John 14:6.
·2 Timothy 3:16.

SKILLS: Young people should be able to demonstrate how to. . .

·Locate a passage of scripture quickly.
·Use a concordance or marginal reference.
·Locate and label key points of biblical geography on a map.
·Word a short prayer.
·Plan a personal or public devotional.


CONCEPTS: Young people should understand and be able to explain. . .

·The meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross (the atonement).
·The difference between the Old and New Testaments.
·Key biblical terms (for example, law, covenant, holiness, repentance, righteousness, gospel, faith, grace, mercy, love, redemption, church, baptism, hope, sin, forgiveness).
·Words describing the various types of biblical literature (for example, psalm, proverb, prophecy, parable, gospel, epistle, apocalyptic).
·The purpose of concordances, commentaries, atlases, and Bible dictionaries.
·The meaning and importance of the church.
·The differences between different translations, including the strengths and weaknesses of three in common use.
·The essence of great New Testament teachings (for example, the Sermon on the Mount, the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, the qualities of church leaders in 1 Timothy 3, the marks of a true Christian in Romans 12, the importance of Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13)
·The content or distinctive theme, briefly stated, of at least half of the books in the Bible (for example, Genesis—Adam to Joseph; Exodus—the story of Moses; Job—suffering; Psalms—poetic expressions of faith and praise; Jeremiah—the destruction of Jerusalem; Haggai—rebuilding the temple; Acts—the spread of the early church).


APPLICATIONS: Young people should be able to apply biblical principles in everyday life in order to. . .

·Explain to a friend how to become a Christian.
·Influence peers by setting a good example of personal morality.
·Serve others and show God’s love.
·Establish personal priorities and make good choices.
·Relate well to family, friends, and other people in general.
·Distinguish between Christianity and culture.
·Bear the fruit of the Spirit and grow in spiritual maturity.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 24, 2007 8:48 AM.

The previous post in this blog was The Bible as Literature: Questions.

The next post in this blog is What are Parables?.

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