In an effort to combat biblical illiteracy, a group of 30 seminary professors have made themselves available to provide free education to the public.
The free education comes in the form of a blog – launched this week – with regular posts on anything from prayer and spiritual formation to historical theology and biblical exposition.
"At a time when biblical literacy is at an all time low and there are so many muddled, uninformed views of the Bible, something like The Good Book Blog is such a breath of fresh air," said author of Hipster Christianity and blogger Brett McCracken.
The Good Book Blog features daily posts by faculty from Biola University's Talbot School of Theology.
Ken Berding, associate professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, recently wrote a brief post warning Christians about the significant risk when they bow for prayer but don't actually pray.
"One of the temptations that we as Christian leaders regularly face is to not pray when we pray," he wrote. "I'm convinced that every time we take a posture of prayer and don't actually talk to the Lord, our hearts harden just a little to prayer."
Meanwhile, the hearts of those who do actually talk to God during prayer "are just a bit softer the next time around."
Berding provided one piece of advice for those who feel forced into prayer postures or whose hearts are not turned upward.
"[M]y recommendation is that you pause, perhaps open your eyes for a moment, recalibrate, remind yourself Who it is you are talking to, and then offer a short prayer to the Lord."
In other blog posts, Edward W. Klink III, assistant professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, makes an argument on "the theological necessity of an historical interpretation of the Bible." And Gary Manning, Jr., associate professor of New Testament, offers helpful tips on how to read the Gospel of John.
The language presented in each post ranges from simple layman's terms to more robust theological discourse.
Overall, the Good Book Blog aspires to be a resource for anyone seeking solid biblical scholarship and a vital addition to the online evangelical discourse.
It comes just months after biblical illiteracy in the church came to light with a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The poll found that compared to other faith groups, atheists and agnostics knew most about the Bible, church history, world religions and religion in public life. Protestants trailed in religious knowledge behind not only atheists but also Jews and Mormons.
Notably, white evangelical Protestants were among those with the highest levels of knowledge on the Bible and Christianity. Mormons were the only ones to score higher.
Still, pastors have acknowledged that biblical illiteracy in the church has been a problem for some time now. Pastor Randy Frazee, senior minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, called it the church's "dirty little secret."
With that, Biola professors have taken initiative to resource the wider Christian world, not just seminary students, and train them in the study of God's word.
McCracken applauded the project, commenting, "For a seminary to take its vast academic resources and put it online for the world's benefit is not only to be lauded, but it's to be modeled. More schools should be doing things like this."
On the Web: http://thegoodbookblog.com/