Media Systems and Biblical Illiteracy

USA Today reported that text-messaging in Ireland is eroding students’ ability to write well. [story]

Can projecting Scriptures on the large screen at church actually contribute to Biblical Illiteracy (1)? (Not knowing one’s way around the Bible – being unfamiliar with it)

I believe it can, and in many churches – does.

Here are some considerations and some questions to ask in committee and staff meetings so First Church (your church) doesn’t make Biblical illiteracy  (2) worse in your hometown. Technology is great, but over-utilizing it can have adverse affects. (Can’t have that!) In a later post, after you’ve thought about it some, I’ll share some personal perspectives and the methods we use at the church where I am Technical Director. But to get your thinking rolling, here are some

Questions to ask

Do we want our members and regular attenders to bring their Bibles to church with them?

Why is that important? if it is.

Do we want visitors who didn’t even think about needing a Bible today to feel comfortable and still be able to “come along” through the service?

How do we make that possible?

How much is too much when it comes to Scripture on the big screen?

When do people in the congregation begin to get the idea they don’t need their Bibles for church?

If there are pew Bibles available, how do we encourage people to use them?

How can we use technology to feed our members’ and attenders’ desire for the Word?

In many artistic venues we use the phrase “leave them wanting a little more”. Is that a workable axiom for the written Word and Sunday worship? If so, how-so? If not, why-not?

Some local churches have a mind-set they’ve grown comfortable with over time (SOME churches?? MOST churches!!) If that’s true of us, how do we go about changing that culture? Is a fresh-start / new approach best? Or should we take six or eight weeks to move toward a new paradigm?

Some things to think about when you’re mowing the lawn this weekend, and some things to talk about in your next committee meeting.

Selah —

4 Replies to “Media Systems and Biblical Illiteracy”

  1. Jason


    Very good questions! I, too, am concerned with the use of media contributing to biblical illiteracy. We try very hard to strike a balance, but purposefully tend to the conservative side (i.e. by not placing too much info on the screen) so that people will learn to bring and use their Bibles.

    On a related note: I know it is a small thing, but it is very encouraging as a pastor to hear the pages of Bibles turning during a service!

  2. expreacherman


    Great question…

    My experience:

    In the church where I trusted Christ as my Savior, and in my own church later, we handed out Bibles as the preaching service started. Each Bible was the same as used by the Pastor..

    As Pastor preached from the Bible, he would give the book, chapter and verse PLUS the page number so those unfamiliar with the Bible could follow along and read the verse for themselves without feeling intimidated trying to find the passage. Wonderful procedure! I learned a lot of Bible from following along in that manner. When I bought my first Bible, it was the same Bible so I could continue to follow along.

    Now that I am visually unable to read the “in-hand” Bible, I appreciate Scripture on the screen, but that should never be a substitute for a real Bible in the hand for those who see. I think big screen visuals tend to make lazy Christians lazier. The Word properly taught will leave most believers wanting more. There is never too much of God’s Word!

    In Christ eternally,


  3. Jonell

    Yes, taking my Bible to church is important to me. Might have something to do with being a PK and it was just part of my Sunday attire. I was taught to not only take it to church but to also bring it home with me.

    When I was a church secretary, there were Bibles of regular church attenders in the lost and found for weeks at a time. To this day, I can’t comprehend how someone can forget their Bible at church for a week or month at a time and not miss it at home. Don’t they read it at home during the week?

    Since I grew up without scripture projected on the screen, I am accustomed to turning back and forth in my Bible to find certain passages. So now, even if it is projected I’ll still turn to the passage just b/c I like to read it from my own Bible.

    If someone else gets more from seeing it on a screen and is able to concentrate more on the meaning of the passage b/c they don’t have to look it up, I’m okay with that too. It is hard to be all things to all people, but as long as people are coming to church and growing, that’s the important thing here. (if you ask me! 🙂 )

    ~ Jonell

  4. Phil

    Excellent thoughts, everybody, thanks!

    Life’s been crazy at our house lately, but I’ve not forgotten about you – or this thread of thought.

    Jason, how do you decide what to put on the large screen and what not to when you preach?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Article/Post Archive