What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Now here's a word that's pretty big in our faith: Covenant.

The Bible is a book about covenants; so much so that when they decided to divide it into two sections they named the sections after the covenants found in them - the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. The word "testament" means a covenant.

A covenant is a formal agreement between two parties. It establishes an understanding between two parties, what's expected of them by the other.

When God established a covenant with Israel, God spelled out to them what's expected of God's covenant partners. The most basic and cherished of these expectations are the Ten Commandments. The Israelites carried around the tablets of the commandments wherever they went. They carried them in a large fancy box known as the "Ark of the Covenant."  (see above as well as "Raiders of the Lost Ark")

The covenants of the Bible were not one-sided. God not only set forth expectations from the Israelites, God also let them know what they could expect from their Covenant Partner, the LORD. God promised them blessing, protection, land, redemption and unconditional love. The covenants of the Bible are very similar to the marriage covenant. They establish a loving partnership between God and human beings.

In the Old Testament the concept of sin is based on the covenant. Sin is breaking the covenant, being unfaithful to God, forgetting we're in a loving partnership with God.

Here's a thought: A Covenant = a Testament = a Loving Partnership

Question: How do you see your life lived in partnership with God?

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for your promises and for wanting to live in partnership with me. Help me to live as your Covenant Partner. Amen.

Extra Credit: The Major Covenants of the Bible

The Covenant of Eden - Gen. 3:15 - the promise of redemption
The Covenant with Noah - Gen. 9:9 - never to destroy the earth
The Covenant with Abraham & Sarah - Gen. 12, 15, 17
The Covenant from Mnt. Sinai - Ex. 19 & 20 - expectations
The Levitical Covenant - Number 25:12 - atonement through the priestly sacrifices
The Covenant with David - II Sam. 23:5 - the promise of Messiah through David's lineage
The New Covenant of Christ based on Faith & Grace - "A new covenant I am
making with you in my blood which is shed for your forgiveness."

Hebrews 9:15 - "Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant."
A Loving Partnership based on his sacrificial love.

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