In April 2014, Mustang Public Schools approved a new elective course for its student body. This new course would cover portions of world history throughout the past 2,000 years. This new course would touch on art, literature, science, government, and every other major sector of society. It would integrate the very latest in augmented reality technology developed in Israel. It would also give students an understanding of the history, impact, and narrative of the most important book ever written in the history of the world.
The Bible. Taught in a public school in Oklahoma City this year.
Not only did the school board approve the course, but over 125 high school students signed up to take the class. Rather than take athletics, music, drama, art, or sign up for the cushy "office aid" hour, these students enrolled in a challenging elective course in its beta version. However, due to factors beyond the control of the school, they felt it best not offer the Bible as an elective course this past year. The logic made sense, but it was still a disappointment to think we could not release our curriculum in OKC in 2014.
Then something unexpected happened. The mayor of Ramat Gan, Israel, contacted the Museum of the Bible. Compedia, our technology development partners based in Israel, had shared about the curriculum with the mayor. He loved the curriculum and had over 1,400 teenagers in Israel take the Bible course this past year, ten times more than what we had hoped for in Oklahoma. But did they find the curriculum worthwhile to use in their classrooms? Yes! Next year, they will have over 10,000 students take our Bible course. The government will monitor the curriculum this next year to determine if our Bible curriculum will be a required course for all high school students in Israel!
Last month, I was in Israel for the celebration of the end of the course for these students. I got to speak with many students and hear about how much they loved getting to use the curriculum and the tablets in their classes. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active.” I have seen students realize for themselves in a new way just how alive is this Book!
At the closing rally, one of the men from Compedia, a committed Jew, talked about the importance of the Bible in Jewish culture. Jews have faced all kinds of persecution and attack throughout the course of history and into present day. Though much has changed throughout the ages for the Jewish people, the one thing that has remained constant has been their commitment to knowing, obeying and preserving the Word of God. “There is no bomb, there is no fire that can destroy the Bible."
Going forward, I still have hope that we will see the Bible taught in schools in America. Not as a religious class, but educating students on a book that has changed our world. Regardless of what students do with it in terms of their faith, we cannot censor this vital piece of world history from our education system because there are many that look to it as what it claims to be: the Word of God. Until then, may God continue to use it in Israel today!