About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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The Sundayschoolization Of Scripture


This article is part of the preface to my upcoming book entitled "Conflicted," my commentary on the Book of Jonah.  It will be available on all Amazon sites in February, 2022.   


Anyone who was raised in the tradition of the Evangelical Church , as I was, will recall the story of Jonah and the big fish.  In those early grades of Sunday school, stories were commonplace.  They were meant to teach us some kind of lesson.  Story telling is one way to teach children.  All of that being said, I am no longer a child.  I'm an adult and I think like an adult.  I follow the example of the apostle Paul.  1 Corinthians 13:11 reads:


"When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things."


One problem that inflicts us as Christians is that we do not mature into Biblically literate Christians because we have not graduated from our Sunday school understanding of Scripture.  We have failed to follow Paul's example, as stated in 1 Corinthians 13:11.  Much of all we know, especially from the Old Testament, are the stories we recall from our childhood.  Our Biblical education, then, is limited to simple Sunday school stories.  I call this the "Sundayschoolization of Scripture."  I realize the word "Sundayschoolization" is not a real word, but I'm sure you get my point.  


The Sundayschoolization of Scripture, along with our postmodern culture's dumbed-down mentality concerning details, has led many of us to be Biblically illiterate.  It is, thus, important to throw off any hesitancy to dig deep into the Biblical details.  To the degree that these details enter our brains and then sink into our souls where they become the conviction whereby we live, will be the degree to which we will mature as Christians.  There is little to no Christian maturity apart from the serious study of God's Word.  Remember, it is our spiritual food.  Matthew 4:4 reads:


"He [Jesus] answered, 'It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"


Hebrews 4:12 also becomes important at this point.


"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."


If we are to mature as Christians, it will be through a Holy Spirit led, balanced hermeneutical approach to Scripture.  Sundayschoolizing Scripture will not cut it.  Such hermeneutical principles as, understanding the culture, the language, the genre in which any given Biblical passage was written, for example, is basic to Biblical literacy.  If you are neither capable of such study, nor have the needed resources, I suggest you learn from credible Bible scholars who do have such capabilities and resources.  Your growth as a Christian depends on it.   

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