Posted by: alisonwalley | 31 January 2010

Neglecting God’s word?

I hear from my husband that teachers are to be encouraged to pay much more attention to the ‘learner voice’. In fact he blogged on the subject. What it seems to mean is that students are to play a larger part in evaluating courses. And of course that’s fine. I used to teach adults how to use computers (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) and one of the important parts of a course is to get feedback. What you as a teacher thought was a clear description of how to do something may in fact have been the part of the course which someone found most opaque (or vice versa I suppose).

The problem comes with evaluation moving into demanding certain things be taught (or not). Here the obvious question is ‘how can you know what you need to be taught if you don’t know the subject’? Now modern word processors are amazing pieces of software, with hundreds of functions. They can produce sets of labels from a table of names and addresses, tables of contents, complex tables, figure captions, documents with different headers and footers, footnotes, etc. etc.

But, most people actually don’t use more than the basics. Microsoft did some studies before they produced Office 2007, and found that 80% of people using MS Word use only 20% of its functionality. Perhaps they don’t need anything more than basic text with a few formatting extras, or perhaps they just don’t know a function exists. But if it works, then why bother to change?

What has that to do with Bible study you may ask? Just this: it’s tempting for us to stick with the bits of the Bible that we know. Perhaps the Gospels and some of the letters, stories in Genesis through to the first part of Exodus, the Psalms, some of the history books, the ‘Servant songs’ of Isaiah and the first part of Daniel. Leave aside the ‘hard’ books: Revelation, Leviticus, the first chapters of Chronicles, the last part of Daniel, the obscure minor prophets, possibly Romans as well.

But we do this at our peril. “ALL Scripture is God-breathed” says Paul to Timothy, so we should be reading all Scripture. How do we know what we need to know? God speaks through his whole word, and we can’t know it unless we read it.

Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees…
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (Psalm 119: 12,15-16)

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