"I Didn't Know How To Read The Bible"

Who was the first person who taught you about the Bible?

For me, it was my mother.  We started with Bible for Kids, you know, biblical stories with pictures on glossy pages. I think it was David and Goliath.

But reading the actual Bible?  I first learned to open the Bible when I was in elementary.  I think I was in grade four then.  We had the religion subject and each day, there was an hour allocated for that. ( Learning first time how to pray was a different story because that started from home through my grandmother way way back before I started going to school.)

I remember my teacher reading us stories from the Bible.  She would open up her little book and read it out loud. Not very long like that in the churches though.  It was enough to put to our heads that there is such a Bible where God speaks to us and where we can learn the things about Him.

It was on the sixth grade where we were taught how to read the Bible in terms of chapters, the verses numbers and all that, like learning how to read an address of a place.

Why do I write this?

One lunch time in our workplace, during break, my colleagues and I touched this topic.  A very faithful colleague in a very casual tone said, "You know, I didn't know how to read the Bible until I was fully grown.  I was very ashamed in school not knowing how, like understanding the chapter and verses numbers."  It was only when she got into a Christian group that she started learning about it.

I felt like I was punched at the stomach at that time.

At first, I asked "How can our church fail on this?"  For a split second, I sort of pointed the finger to the church. But quickly, I realized its not the church to blame.

It was the Department of Education who eradicated the Religion subject from public schools way back then.  It wasn't the Church.  It was the government.  Long time ago.

Some private schools, Catholic and Christian schools, still have religion subjects. But how about the public schools where majority of the average Filipino families send their kids?

We do have Cathecists from the Roman Catholic Church and Christian groups making double time teaching the youth how to read the Bible.  But they can only do so much.  If only the Religion subject becomes mandatory again in the primary school, then we can be assured that our young generation gets to learn about the Bible early on, and not when they are fully grown up already and have missed so much while they were growing up.

Hearing the readings when attending the Holy Masses and reading the Bible by yourself are two different things.  Reading it by yourself makes it more intimate.  It is like one on one with God.  And it is very important that it is read with care, a bit of guidance.  Not just like reading a newspaper or something.  And these could be learned in schools, in primary levels. 

I know this isn't happening in the Philippines only.  In the United States, its far worst.  In the name of 'respect for all religions',  the signing of the Cross and prayers in schools are not allowed anymore. What would happen to those kids deprived of the knowledge on how to pray and more, not knowing God?  Schools can play a crucial role on moulding one's faith or at least knowledge about God.  It is so saddening that now, schools are prevented by our governments from doing just that.

We have to exert effort not to let our young generation live in a culture where God is less recognized. We have to take all the opportunities presented to us, to teach them about God's presence in the Word, in the Holy Bible, so they can store in their hearts the Word of God as young as they are so that when the time comes that they are into trials, they can be easily reminded on what to do to avoid sinning against God.

For God is in the Word.

1 Peter 2:2 

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

Romans 15:4 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

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