Recognizing a problem
There is an obvious lack of Bible knowledge among the general population and even among Christians in Finland. Research shows that Bible reading is constantly decreasing. Christians are reading the Bible less and less. This is especially true among the younger generation. This sad trend is true even among people preparing for ministry. This obviously means that people are less and less knowledgeable about the content and message of the Bible. This leads to even Christians adopting non-Christian lifestyles and ethical views. This is the problem I want to address.
An example of recent research about Bible reading among conservative and liberal Christians in Finland:
Reading of the Bible among conservative and liberal Christians in Finland (percentage %):
|Daily||Once a week||Once a month||Once a year||Less than once a year||Never|
Addressing the problem
Answer: Since the year 2000 I have been leading a project here in Finland called Raamatun Punainen lanka (“The Red thread of the Bible”). This project includes seminars and different types of teaching sessions where people are taken through the salvation history of the whole Bible in 10 to 15 hours. The goal is to give people an overview of the whole Bible and help them to see how Christ is the center and key to the whole Bible, both the Old and the New testament. I have written two books about the subject. The name of the more well- known book is the same as the seminar name: “The Red thread of the Bible”. It has been printed and more than 10 000 copies have been sold. It was first written in Finnish and then translated and published in 4 more languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Russian). There is also a translation now available in Estonian and one in progress in Turkish.
The book “The Red thread of the Bible” gives an overview of the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In one of the first chapters it take the readers through the whole Bible history from creation to eternity i very compressed form. Then it follows the Bible’s own salvation history, picking up messianic prophecies through the Old testament, and showing their fulfillment in the New testament. The goal is to give the reader an understanding of the unity of the Bible, the connection of the Old and New testament, and a bird’s eye view of the preparation and coming of the Messiah in the Bible.
Our experience and the feedback we get is that by reading the book and participating in the seminars people receive a new motivation to read and study the Bible.
I always teach the longer seminar with another Bible teacher. We have approximately one or two seminars per month. Currently we have invitations (for the 15 hour seminar) extending to the end of the year 2015. Since 2000 we have completed the seminar in over 100 churches in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Russia. A few years ago in Denmark there were about 30 Bible study groups using the book as study material.
New activities I would like to include in this ongoing project:
- Reaching out to other countries with this concept and setting up teaching seminars. Translating the book and other material and teaching Christians and any interested people.
- Especially targeting pastors, preachers and other church workers who will be able to use the material for teaching others
- Translating the book “The Red Thread of the Bible” into new languages.