Do you want to know " The Bible" ?
December 27, 2007 8:29pm CST
No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible. All educated speakers of American English needs to understand what is meant when someone describes a contest as being between David and Goliath, or whether a person who has the " wisdom of Solomon" is wise or foolish, or whether saying " My cup runneth over" means the person feels fortunate or unfortunate. Those who cannot use or understand such allusions cannot fully participate in literate English. Are all the above points right? Unfortunately, I cannot understand all these saying. Maybe I need to learn the Bible.
5 people like this
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
28 Dec 07
I think it's really sad that people feel that way actually, for a number of reasons. One, the Bible was not originally in English. So it's not a work of English or American literature. So why is it seen as some kind of mark of English literacy? Two, saying that everyone needs to know the Bible sounds like you're putting it above the religious books or even oral traditions of other religions. Why does everyone have to know the Christian religious book and not Hindu ones, or Muslim, or ancient Egyptian for that matter? What's so special about the Bible that puts it above other religious teachings? Three, if we're talking about American English here, America is not a theocracy. Not all Americans are Christian, nor was Christianity the first religion here. My Native American great-grandfather would tell you that. :P As a non-Christian American, I learned about the Bible mostly to be able to argue with pushy Christians who threw it at me. However, I think it's wrong to feel like you have to know the Bible to understand what an American is saying. What's wrong with asking if you don't understand an expression someone is using? And if someone uses a lot of religious language from a religion you aren't part of, I think it's perfectly acceptable to do the same back to them. So I'll start using my Native American or my Celtic Pagan references on them, and see how they like it.
2 people like this
28 Dec 07
Well, I agree with you to the extent that if you are going to use an expression it's always helpful to know what it actually means so that you can use it in the correct context. However to say that "no one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the bible" is an overstatement to put it mildly! You could equally say that no one can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the works of William Shakespeare. In fact there are so many words and phrases in common use that apparently originated from Shakespeare that there would perhaps be more justification for citing him as an "essential read". The fact is people use words and phrases all the time without any idea of their origins. As long as they are used in the correct context then I don't think it really matters and it certainly doesn't hamper their literacy. To be considered literate in a language a person simply has to be able to read and write.
• United States
28 Dec 07
Reading the Bible can be an education in it's self. Like the other two who responded so far. It is not an English liturature exercise. It was first written in Hebrew and Translated into English around the 16th Century first into the Geneva bible and then by King James decree into The King James bible and many translations since. Losing much in translation and translators putting their own personal twist, thought or idea into some parts of it. It is interesting and has a lot to say. There are lessons in it that can be applied to any culture or belief. Basics for living and getting along with your fellow man or woman. For respecting life and nature and acknowledging a greater power than humanity. It is a book of education and a book of lessons and a book of great value. However if one does NOT live and practice those values or believe them it is not any more value than reading a sci fi or romance novel. There is Religion and there is true Walks of belief and faith. Religion dictates and does NOT necessarily adhere to truth but only what they want truth to be. So go ahead and learn it and when doing so pray to the creator for wisdom and help in understanding it. One thing is American Indians before the White man had a lot more truth and honor, respect and worship to the creator than the white men who brought them the bible. The bible actually compliments if one reads it with understanding, comprehesion and asks the creator for help to understand what he wants them to learn and use from it in their own personal life and growth. So call Christians want to judge one another when the very book they uphold as being their icon says NOT to judge. They want everyone to live by their standards of belief. When it says each indiviual must walk their own path and answer to the all in all personally. God. The Great Spirit looks on the heart not on the outward appearance on ones true conduct and lifestyle not on some relgions idea or way. God is the God of all be he/she called God, Allah, or anything else. Too many like to point and judge rather than leaving it in the hands of he who created everything. So learn the bible and use it as you are given understanding and then read it again deeper. Each time you read it you will find something new.
28 Dec 07
These types of references don't come solely from the bible. You definitely don't need to know anything of the bible to understand english. As stated by another responder, the bible is not even an english book. A lot of the texts are in extremely old english and even people now, who have been raised in that religion, will not necessarily be able to understand the exact texts. The bible is an interesting historical text and has captivated people for hundreds of years which has made it the all time most read book in the world. Obviously people will reference it because in the past it was often the only book people read. However it remains a book, a translated book, that has nothing to do with the actual language other than it is an excellent window to the past and how people lived and spoke back then.
28 Dec 07
Its not necessary to learn bible for every one. Well for me as I am a christian so my parents kind of forced me to learn it when I was kid...... And now I have even forgotten it.. well thats an another issue..!! I live in India. I have many hindu friends..!! They have a prayer a common prayer like every one should know it and remember it by hook or by crook. I got my self in a hindu school for 3 years my friends completly got shocked just because I didn't knew that prayer which we used to sing every in morning assemblies....!! BUt I am having no guilt. I know all the prayers of my religion why would I learn their prayers..!! Say..."I am minding my own business here"..!! They after some time got it that there are many more religions here. So its very normal you don't have to learn the bible. YOu can show it that you didn't understand them when they use bible language. :)