The Bible in Secondary Schools
In 2007, the SBL initiated a taskforce on the Bible in secondary schools—in part a response to increased interest in Bible electives in public schools. While the number of schools offering Bible electives is relatively small, the SBL provides some teaching resources and updates on nationwide trends.
Teaching the Bible
is designed to support teachers of secondary school Bible electives, it features easy to read and reliable resources that you can use in your classroom.
SBL member and SMU faculty member Mark Chancey has completed a study of Bible
courses in Texas public high schools for the Texas Freedom Network. In 2007 the
Texas legislature passed a bill that required public high schools to include
some treatment of the Bible and its influence in their courses. This thorough
study reveals the pressing problems related to teacher training, curricular
development, and religious bias.
You can read the full or abridged report here.
Luke Timothy Johnson review of The Bible and Its Influence “A Bible Curriculum for Public Schools,” Christian Century, Feb. 21, 2006, 31-37.
SBL Books and Teacher Resources
The Bible Literacy Project
State of Georgia Attorney General’s 1999 Opinion on the NCBCPS Curriculum
Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)
Doe v. Porter (E. D. Tenn. 2002)
Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987)
Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968)
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School
District(M. D. Penn, 2005)
McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)
Moreno v. Ector County Independent School District Board
“District to Settle Bible Suit” by Neela Banerjee, New York Times, March 6, 2008
Prof. Mark Chancey’s website for more: http://faculty.smu.edu/mchancey/public_schools.htm
South Dakota Encourages Bible Study in Public Schools,
Harvard Divinity School Religious Literacy Project
First Amendment Center
The Religion and Public Education Resource Center
(RPERC) at Californian State University, Chico
Religious Studies in Secondary
Texas Freedom Network
First Freedom Center
by Sam Favate for the Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Fact check: Does Texas teach creationism in public schools? Is it constitutional?
By NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Pete Williams, 8/18/11
15 Churches Unite to Support Bible Classes at Brainerd High
The Chattanoogan, 9/2/11
Film explores shifting debate over evolution
By Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service, 10/11/11
State-paid Bible School
by Max Brantley, Arkansas Times, 11/9/11
A report on teacher training efforts in Texas
Bible valid as an Academic Subject
by Kent Richards, Atlanta Journal Constitution,
“Bibles in the Classroom? It’s OK, but be sure to teach, not preach”
by Michael D. Simpson, NEA Today
“Alabama Picks a Bible Textbook
” by David Van Biema, Time Magazine
"The Case for Teaching the Bible
” by David Van Biema, cover article for Time Magazine
, March 22, 2007
First Amendment Center article by Charles Haynes, “Bible showdown in Odessa could have Texas-sized impact
” May 27, 2007.
Mark Chancey, “Bible Courses in Public Schools: SBL’s Response to a Growing Trend
Leonard Greenspoon, “Bible Literacy Polls
” SBL Forum
David Levenson, “University Religion Departments and Teaching about the Bible in Public High Schools: a Report from Florida
” SBL Forum
NOVA's The Bibles Buried Secrets
can be viewed at their site. The two hour program is broken into five to ten minute chapters for easier classroom use.
If you are an SBL member and would like to get involved in our public outreach efforts, or if you have additions to the links on this page, please contact: