In Literacy class, the students are learning about the tools and materials for teaching literacy–like how to teach syllables, sentences, grammar and comprehension. Literacy class is full of hands-on experience. But why do we need to teach literacy? Learning to read and write is a useful skill, but why is it a part of missionary training?
Our goal is for all people to be able to know God intimately through the reading of His Word. The inerrant Word of God is the most valuable possession anyone can receive. It holds power in its pages and outpours truth that transforms minds and hearts. The Scriptures give us the true source text in which we can learn everything God has chosen to reveal. Literacy provides the ability to study and meditate on the written words of God, deepening our understanding and relationship with Him. Without the ability to read and write, people will have no access to the beauty in the written Word of God.
The Bible itself encourages literacy.
“I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you…Open my eyes that I might behold wondrous things in Your Law.”Psalm 119:11, 18 (ESV)
They can’t behold it with their eyes if they can’t read it.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
“And when he [the king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.“Deuteronomy 17:28 (ESV)
God’s written Word is so important, kings of Israel were required to hand-copy it for themselves!
The scriptures themselves reveal the significance of literacy. And access to Scriptures and the ability to study them personally is one of the key markers of a maturing church. The overall mission of teaching people groups to read and write is for God’s glory. It may take a lot of time to develop materials, plan lessons, meet with literacy consultants, and teach classes–but it’s worth it! Teaching literacy opens a door for all people to study and meditate on the Word of God.