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Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0034-527X
  • E-ISSN: 1943-2348


Historically, the Bible has occupied a prominent—though sometimes disruptive—position in American education. The 1963 Bible study benchmark case, (1963), ruled that the Bible is worthy of study, and that such study is constitutional. Both religious and educational organizations support a literary study of the Bible in public schools because it is great literature and because it is foundational for understanding Western culture. The purpose of this study was to determine the current, actual place of Bible literature in high school English classes and the reasons that affect its place.

The study used quantitative and qualitative methods: survey, interviews, and observations. It included observations of three models of teaching Biblical literature: a) a full-year elective course, b) a required grade unit, and c) a Bible unit in a humanities course.

The study found that Bible literature seems to play an extremely small role in high school literature programs. While 81% of high school English teachers reported it was important to teach some Bible literature, only 10% taught a Bible unit or course. High school textbooks average one fourth of one percent (.260%) from the Bible. Though 55% of college English instructors personally recommended that secondary English majors take a Biblical literature course, only 38% had done so. The wide gap between recommended study and actual study of the Bible is filled with misinformation, contradictory attitudes, and confusion. Two problems of teaching Bible literature are: dealing with religious beliefs and non-beliefs of teachers, parents, and students; and overcoming ignorance. Some college professors, administrators, English department chairs, and librarians did not know what Bible literature was taught in their schools or that teaching Bible literature was legal.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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