Biblical Illiteracy Spreading Among Christians

The results of the international educational survey PISA (Program For International Student Assessment) should give churches something to think about, according to idea (www.idea.de)-an evangelical news agency based in Wetzlar, Germany. This scientific investigation of school education in 32 industrialized countries showed that a considerable number of people have problems with the comprehension of texts.

What does this mean for the understanding of the Bible? PISA should alarm the churches, says Volker Gaeckle, dean of studies at the evangelical Albrecht Bengel Center in Tuebingen. Gaeckle notices an "insidious biblical illiteracy" even in Christian circles. Many find it difficult to read and comprehend biblical texts. At the same time many preachers pay too little attention to whether their message is easy to understand. The Scripture reading in some worship services has become a mere "ritual."

"Churches should heed the PISA warning that text comprehension is a major problem," Gaeckle said.