There’s a bill moving through the South Dakota legislature which would encourage public schools to teach students about the Bible. Supporters of the bill say that doing so would make students more aware of the cultural significance of the Bible, as well as its influence on law and literature. The law would not require schools to teach such a course, nor would it require any students to take such a course. You can read more about the bill here.
It seems undeniable that the Bible does have significance on our culture, laws, and literature. That significance would certainly be a good thing for people to know. On the other hand, there are legal restrictions against the state having too much influence over religion, and those restrictions exist for very good reasons.
If a school chooses to teach a course on the Bible’s significance to culture, law, and literature, and if students choose to take that course, I don’t have a problem with it. What troubles me, though, is that some Christians seem to believe it is necessary for the public schools to have the primary responsibility for teaching these things. Christians who believe this have good motives, and I’m not questioning their intentions. Still, it seems sad to me that some Christians want to turn this responsibility over to public schools. It seems to me that teaching people about the Bible, including its significance in culture, law, and literature, should first and foremost be the responsibility of the church.
There seem to be too many times when those of us who are Christians want to give someone else the responsibilities that God has placed on us. The Bible does not say that we should get someone else to teach our children about the word of God. That responsibility falls on us as Christians. It especially falls on Christian parents, but it falls on all Christians. No Christian is exempt from the responsibility to teach children about the Bible.
Part of the desire to see the Bible taught in schools may be a result of the fact that many churches struggle to get children to come to Sunday school and to church. That is a serious problem, and I don’t know what the solution is. I do know, however, what the solution is not. The solution is not to take the responsibilities of the church and push them onto public institutions. If children are not coming to Sunday school and to church, that’s not the public schools’ problem. That’s the church’s problem, and it’s up to the church to solve it.
It is up to each school to decide whether it wants to teach a course on the cultural, legal, and literary significance of the Bible, and it is up to each individual student to decide whether to take that course. However, God does not allow us to avoid our responsibilities as Christians by pushing them onto someone else. Teaching about the Bible is, and always will be, the responsibility of the church. That will be true no matter what the legislature does and no matter what the schools do. If children are not learning about the Bible, that’s the church’s problem. It’s up to the church to solve it.