Lots of Americans own a Bible, but not so many are well-versed in it. Biblical literacy is more important to our nation than ever before, and thankfully there are those who are doing something to encourage it. During this week's broadcast, John Stonestreet welcomes guest Steve Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, and Paul Caminiti of the organization, Biblica, to discuss why the Bible still matters.
Of all the books written there has never been, nor will there ever be any quite like the Bible. It's unique, and to help us appreciate this more, we've invited two guests who're working to make Scripture real to the world, and are deeply concerned that Christians not only read the Bible, but that they read it correctly.
Steve Green, who works as President of the arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, has something of another hobby. In 2009, he founded the Green Collection, a treasury of biblical artifacts which now number over 40,000. Most notably, an exhibit called "Passages," featuring biblical manuscripts from antiquity is currently open to the public in Colorado Springs. In conjunction with a scholar initiative through which the Green Collection has reached out to global experts on biblical languages and ancient manuscripts at the likes of Oxford and Cambridge, Steve hopes to open eyes and minds to the authenticity of the Bible, and its power over Western culture. He also plans to open a permanent exhibit for the collection in Washington, D.C.
Our second guest, Paul Caminiti, serves as Vice President of Biblical Engagement at Biblica, an organization dedicated to restoring Scriptural literacy to the Church and to our society at large. As Chuck Colson frequently noted, westerners who live their lives without a firm grasp on the content, context and impact of Scripture have handicapped themselves in their own culture. But for biblically illiterate Christians, the picture is much bleaker. Without Scripture, or with a false understanding of it, argues Caminiti, we cannot hope to participate in or pass on the Christian story. And although more households than ever before own Bibles, fewer than ever actually read or understand them.
According to Caminiti, the problem is not only that we don't read Scripture, but that when we do, we consume what he calls "Bible McNuggets." In fact, he says, we've built up an entire culture around this practice, feeding ourselves a diet of one-verse bumper stickers, key-chains, daily devotionals, calendars and even so-called "Bible studies." But when we dine only on snippets of Scripture and attempt to digest and apply them to our lives without considering their larger context and narrative, we fall prey to the artificial, uninspired chapter and verse separations and miss the grander message God has for us.
Scripture, believes Caminiti, was never intended to be read this way, still less in isolation from the community of teachers and fellow believers with whom God has placed us. That's one reason why Biblica has begun initiatives promoting church-wide reading of large sections of Scripture, and has even published a copy of the Bible which removes the relatively recent chapter and verse divisions and rearranges the books into a theological and historical progression. Their hope, says Caminiti, is that this and similar resources will help Christians reclaim a love for and intimate familiarity with God's Word, which in turn will prepare us to propose the Christian worldview to the culture around us.
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