Four Dallas Theological Seminary graduates who formed a non-profit publishing group aimed at closing the ever-widening gap in biblical understanding between scholars and laymen, recently released their fourth installment in a series of Bible studies through the 66 books of the Bible. The publishers say that Philippians: Displaying God in Godless Times encourages Christians to do what they were called on to do during Biblical times – live out their faith in a primarily secular society.
"The idea of 'Displaying God in Godless Times' is this idea of citizenship," Rhome van Dyck, one of Sacra Script Ministries' founders and who co-wrote Philippians, told The Christian Post. "As Christians, you are supposed to live out in front of a secular culture and so for the Philippians it was the Roman culture that was very secular and very destructive, much like times today. It's not a unique thing for the secular culture to press down on Christians."
Van Dyck added, "It's about living out your faith, not being a secret Christian, not being someone who is arrogant or pushy, but living it out in front of them in Christian character. That is really the emphasis in Philippians."
Sacra Script Ministries – derived from the Latin phrase for sacred Scripture – began addressing grave concerns five years ago about the state of the church and the lack of knowledge that many professing Christians have about their faith, Scripture, and the God they worship.
The publishers point out that 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments, according to data from a recent Barna Research Group study. "No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don't know what they are," said George Barna.
"We realized that many people did not have a grasp of Scripture and that there were very few materials available to understand individual passages within the overall story of Scripture," said van Dyck, who holds a Th.M. in Historical Theology.
"Unlike Bible studies designed to push the Bible forward into today's context, our mission is to transport students of the Bible back to the culture and time period of the Bible, by illuminating the original meaning and connecting the central message of the person and work of Christ," van Dyck said. "We studied the Scriptures to determine how God teaches us and how we learn best from Him. Jesus taught using objects, humor, and word-play that shook things up for His students. It is our desire to pattern our methodology after Him."
Van Dyke said that although many people, especially those who have been churchgoers for quite some time, "know pieces of Scripture," they do not really know "how it all fits together into one cohesive story."
Problems arise when people try to apply only the parts of the Bible they know to solving problems in their lives, he said.
"We go through all these segments and what we've missed is that these stories in Scriptures, these segments, these passages, all are connected to showing us that our Savior is sufficient to see us through the difficulties and challenges of life," van Dyke said. "So what we end up lacking is an actual relationship with Jesus, an actual knowledge of Him."
He explains, "We've spent a lot of time taking passages and making principles and steps and applications for us, and some of that is okay, but primarily the message of Scripture is you are fallen and God is providing us a Savior who is sufficient and able to save."
"What we found is that a lot of people know pieces of Scripture, especially if they've been around church a long time, but they don't really know how it all fits together into one cohesive story."
Sacra Script's team includes seminary-trained contributors with various specialties, including biblical narrative analysis, educational methodology, biblical and ecclesiastical history, technology, and professional media production.
With Dallas Seminary as a common thread, each member comes from a different country and cultural background, including Rhome van Dyck of Vancouver, British Columbia and throughout parts of Canada; Carlos Astorga of Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico; Rhome's wife Vanessa van Dyck of Houston, Texas; and Jonathan Murphy of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Publishers say that many different tools are included in the beautifully bound books to help readers understand God's Word. Field Notes throughout the book contain detailed written explanations, outlines, word studies, pictures, notes, illustrations, maps and timelines in order to capture the meaning.
Sacra Script Ministries desires to "address the biblical needs of the Church by equipping the Body of Christ with excellent Bible studies that convert content into meaning. For more information visit: http://www.sacrascript.org/.