The Bible Is a Textbook

And we can’t assume that people really know how to read it

by Dr. Andrew Fabich and Jordan Turner on September 12, 2023
Featured in Answers in Depth


Extra! Extra! Don’t read about it. Most churchgoers do not read anything from a Bible during the week. But why? When this disturbing trend was initially discovered, many thought Bible reading would rebound. Sadly, they were wrong . . . ! The underlying problem is not just that the Bible was removed from the educational system, but that textbooks were. If people are unable to read a textbook, then they will not read a Bible either. Here’s a glimpse of an eye-opening trend that’s here to stay with some brainstorming of ideas to engage the issue with potential results.

You can read. . . . Does dad know?

Open your textbooks to chapter three.
Monsters University

And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
(2 Kings 22:8)

Enjoyment of coffee,1 watching movies,2 and reading are what I (Andrew) tell students about myself on the first day of class each semester. Anyone who has visited my office can’t help but notice I like reading. My general interests are Bible and science. And since the Bible talks about everything and there is a science to everything, I have a wide range of Dewey decimal numbers on my shelf. What’s more striking than the size of my current collection (or its variety) is that I passionately hated reading all through elementary, middle, and high school. I never read anything outside of school, except maybe newspaper comics. Summer reading for honors classes was like pulling teeth. Read a Bible . . .? (Was it on the test?) It was never required reading, and no one in my formative years encouraged me to read it. While I (Andrew) didn’t grow up in a Bible-believing church, my journey through God’s Word began during my first year of university. Given my deep-seated hatred for reading combined with never being encouraged in God’s Word, reading the Bible was especially hard work. I distinctly remember many struggles reading the Bible and (admittedly) still face some, but I had received some basic reading comprehension tools to engage Bible reading simply because of the timing for when I attended K–12 schooling. Children receiving a K–12 education today (public, private, or homeschool) are not reading the Bible because they are lacking these basic skills. I wouldn’t believe what I’m writing were it not for some experiences I’ve had recently coming from personal observations and professional instruction at the college level. Grab some coffee and pull up a chair. . .

In 2019, I (Andrew) had an opportunity unlike any I thought I might ever have because I am an outspoken biblical creationist.3 I was allowed to speak about the university where I was working to my son’s public high school biology class. I didn’t need to thump a Bible. I represented the university and described my research on E. coli with them (hoping to ignite an interest in doing research). After I finished my spiel in the first class, I noticed, off in the corner, something really bizarre. All the biology textbooks were on the floor, neatly arranged in a pile, organized, and collecting dust. It took me about three years to make sense of what I saw. While trying to process this observation inside the school, I was also hearing laments from other parents, wondering where the textbooks had gone from their children’s bookbags—like the ones we used to bring home when we were kids. But those textbooks were gone. I finally came to the realization that using a textbook was no longer required. Textbooks are becoming relics today.4

You Can’t Must Handle The This Truth

Reading is something most Americans assume to be an important skill. So we fully realize how outlandish our conclusions would seem if we were wrong. We are fully aware that people can read, and we understand how insulting it would be to suggest someone couldn’t. But I (Andrew) had to confirm what I thought was true.

I (Andrew) embarked on a series of conversations with students. To be clear, I’m not suggesting people don’t know how to read. The real question is whether people know how to read a textbook. I met with students in my office in groups of two to four for something I called recitation.5 I still remember the first student in recitation. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t insult the student, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to uncover something needing major attention. I was delicate in my word choice, but I ended up explaining to the student that I knew that they didn’t know how to read a textbook. The student agreed with me, and I gave a few pointers.

But something else happened with the next student where I (Andrew) accidentally blurted out how I knew that the student didn’t know how to read a textbook. Immediately, the student’s eyes opened wide, and then the student very directly told me, “You get me.” I’ll never forget that moment, because I subsequently learned that every native-born American I spoke with on this matter would agree with my assessment.6 Each student I asked admitted that s/he did not know how to read a textbook.

I (Andrew) quit asking this question after nearly two years’ worth of students agreeing with my assessment. But what about those students that tell me they are readers—some students like reading books for fun? We recently decided to formalize our results and potentially understand some of the reasons students may have.


Students were emailed an online survey that was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).7 Our survey asked students to score the following items on a scale from 1 to 10 based on how much they value each item (the number 1 indicates very little value, and the number 10 indicates a lot of value). While the primary interest was the relationship between the categories “Reading (anything)” and “Bible,” we added distractors for the sake of avoiding typical Sunday school answers like Bible, Jesus, and God for everything.


Before obtaining official IRB approval, I (Andrew) gave a nearly identical survey over three semesters to students face-to-face as well as online. Those preliminary survey results were used in obtaining IRB approval.8 The survey link was emailed to six (6) different courses during the spring 2023 semester. A total of 32 students took the IRB-approved survey (19 females; 13 males). See the footnote below and the table of demographics for more information about the students in the survey results.9

Total students emailed 137
Total respondents (% responded) 32 (23.36%)
Male (%) 13 (40.62%)
Female (%) 19 (59.38%)

Results from the survey are presented in the bar graph form below. Each of the 14 items in the survey appear along the bottom axis and the height of each rectangle represents the relative level of how much students valued each item (admittedly, the 14 items are not exhaustive of everything we value). Part of the survey design included certain value items that seemed likely to serve as a positive control (i.e., strong high numbers) confirming our preconceptions based on interacting with students. Surprising to us, one of the positive controls scored lower than the rest (i.e., Legos ).10 Also, it was extremely encouraging that they highly valued prayer because there’s nothing formulaic about prayer (i.e., we can take it with us anywhere, and it’s more important that the praying is happening as opposed to not happening). Valuing “Bible” 40.47% more than “Reading (anything)” was calculated from the difference between the two over the score for “Bible.” We also realized there was more information that could be mined from the data collected.

Survey results

To rank the items from most valued to least valued, we performed additional statistical analyses since the error bars were so large.11 Results of this analysis are listed in the table below from most valued to least valued with the corresponding averages and standard deviation. Furthermore, asterisks indicate those valued items that share the same weight of statistical significance as determined by a p-value less than 0.05.

Survey analysis
  • Jesus
    Of all the categories listed, Jesus is the only item statistically significant from the rest. Our initial thought was that it is good that Jesus has no comparison. Positive aspects to this include the idea that there is nothing that compares with Jesus like the author of Hebrews points out. However, there is significant room for questioning whether this is the same Jesus survey respondents had in mind.
  • Bible, Praying
    The second grouping based on the asterisks was Bible and Praying. It is interesting that these group together right after Jesus. Herein begins the first revealing motivation that it seems students do not value Jesus, the Bible, and praying equally the same. John 1:1 clearly teaches that Jesus is the Word (i.e., the Bible).12 To be fair, there is no verse indicating that Jesus and praying are one and the same. The closest thing Scripture teaches is to use Jesus’ name when saying a prayer. It is curious why Bible and Praying are ranked closely together instead of Bible and Jesus (leaving Praying separated). If the only way we know Jesus is through his Word, and the Jesus and Bible categories are significantly different, then it begs the question what is the nature of this Jesus who is valued so highly above everything else?
  • Learning, Exercising, Reading #1
    The next grouping that formed was between the Learning, Exercising, and Reading (any). Since the Reading (any) item overlaps with other items, it is discussed from two different perspectives. On an aside, notice that Learning is significantly valued more than Studying (discussed later). This category is most intriguing because of external measures that can be used to independently verify the results—using Exercising for an example. The most popular New Year’s resolution is losing weight. Gym membership sales soar for the first few weeks each year and then quickly fade within a month. On top of that, we are experiencing an obesity pandemic.13 If we are honest, we probably value eating more than exercising (though eating was not included in the items valued and this is pure conjecture). But if our physical waistlines are any indication of things we say we value and do not value in practice, then could this be true for the other two items in this grouping? Obesity is not alone: reading comprehension scores have been “plummeting,” and standardized test scores in the US have also been decreasing (i.e., our standardized test scores have been lower than many other countries worldwide for years).14 The trajectory of increasing our reading comprehension, as measured on what is termed “The National Report Card,” clearly shows a plateau in reading for 9- and 13-year-olds since 2012.15
  • Reading #2, Studying #1, Texting #1, Email #1
    Peter Afferbach is an expert on “reading and testing” at the University of Maryland and had an interesting comment on the relationship between learning to read versus reading to learn. Afferbach seems to suggest that the US educational system’s long-held (and unwarranted) view is that children learn to read until the fourth grade and then switch to reading to learn for the higher grades. As a result, he implies that “too many schools have assigned elementary students short passages instead of challenging them with longer, thematically rich texts and books.”16 Given that the Bible has 66 books, it is easy to see why most people think the Bible is so overwhelming. Combined with decreasing attention spans and higher documented conditions like ADHD, it might seem worth abandoning any attempts at reading Scripture. (Spoiler alert: don’t give up hope on Bible reading! Keep reading to the end for some practical ideas on ways we think might help.)
  • Studying #2, Texting #2, Email #2, Disney Movies #1
    Studying is hard work. But what’s curious is how a separation of some kind seems to appear here where we see items that we do not value much. Sadly, it means we value learning without studying similar to the idea of valuing the Bible without reading it: we want the results without the effort. For a moment, consider how many text messages you may ignore on a daily basis. Another thought is how many emails do you simply delete or let sit in your inbox? From my (Andrew) informal delving into what college students do regularly, most of them have a personal email before arriving at college and almost never really use it in the same way that an adult might. But that doesn’t get adults off the hook, because we often find ourselves dreading how many emails we have to respond to after taking a vacation. While watching a movie might be considered a leisurely activity, our data suggests a lesser value due to it being either ambivalent or possibly chore-like (i.e., things with a negative perception).
  • Disney Movies #2, Yardwork, Photography, Crafts
    Disney movies are a mixed bag: older Disney movies are nostalgic, made in a world where good wins and evil is thwarted, but newer Disney movies push anti-Bible agendas that cannot be overlooked.17 Watching a movie can sometimes be like doing chores such as yardwork or doing crafts. Even though we have phrases like “the grass is greener on the other side,” it is tempting to speculate that our data suggests that we like the way manicured landscaping looks, but we don’t want to pay the cost or effort. We want the benefit without doing the necessary work for it. It seems we avoid hard things. A friend recently shared a video from the head coach for the women’s basketball team at Duke University (Kara Lawson) giving a speech about learning how to “Handle Hard Better.”18 There are two books with a similar title called, Do Hard Things.19 The author of the book of Hebrews makes the strong case for the same thing when pointing out that Jesus was the author and finisher of the faith (Hebrews 12:2 KJV). If Jesus thought purchasing salvation with his own blood was too hard, then none of us would have a right relationship with the Lord right now. If God has called us to a good work (Philippians 1:6), then he will gift us with talents and abilities to accomplish great things for his glory’s sake (Ephesians 4:8). Who am I to tell the Lord that his calling and gifting isn’t perfect for what he is going to accomplish? Moses tried it and still ended up leading a couple million ragamuffins across a desert for 40 years and writing the first five books of the Bible. Certainly, we can read it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9–15).
  • Legos
    Almost everyone we have shared this data with were surprised that Legos were valued the least. However, it is probably easily understood that there are very few college dorm rooms where you can find Legos sitting on the floor or a shelf. On a positive note, it seems that the lack of Legos in many college dorm rooms correlates well with this item’s value and the reliability of the survey overall.

Putting It Together

While the official amount of data collected was small and of a select population (students in a Christian college), we feel some beneficial observations can be made from the limited survey.

Students value “Bible” nearly 40% more than “Reading (anything).” When I (Andrew) first confronted the face-to-face students about it, I remarked that I only knew to value my Bible by reading it. But I wanted to be open-minded that they might have alternative explanations. Their response was deafening silence. Later, a couple students confided that I nailed it on the head (loosely paraphrased). However, my training in science has taught me to get creative with alternative explanations for observations that do not necessarily fit my preconceived ideas. To that end, we brainstormed other verbs that can reasonably be associated with various activities to do with the Bible, such as preaching, memorizing, learning, reciting, and so on, that the students may have been thinking in the survey.

We learn certain things better by doing them rather than reading a textbook in a school setting, but is the Bible an exception? If our goal is learning the Bible, should we view it as a textbook?

Textbooks Are Not All Bad

Do the words Bible and textbook even belong together in a sentence? Admittedly, textbook has a lot of negative connotations associated with it. Bear with us a second and let’s look at the idea of a textbook a little further.

According to, the first definition listed for textbook is, “a book used by students as a standard work for a particular branch of study.”20 Even more than the definition, the idea of the Bible being a textbook becomes clearer when looking in a thesaurus. On, the synonyms listed for textbook are extensive, but the Bible being a textbook becomes obvious when the “Words Related to Textbook” appears next. The subsequent list of synonyms makes it clear the Bible is a textbook.

Though the first related word is archetypal, the second related word (authority) arrests our attention, because the first word listed under the authority heading is the word Bible. Furthermore, the third related word for textbook is the word book, which also has Bible listed as the first word under its heading. Based on this, calling the Bible a textbook is another way of communicating that the Bible is authoritative for the things it describes.

Calling the Bible a textbook is nothing new—it was done at least a hundred years ago! This forgotten idea was mentioned by the person who wrote Webster’s Dictionary. Many don’t realize that Noah Webster was a God-fearing man who wrote his dictionary in the 1800s and often used Bible verses in his example sentences. He is quoted as saying:

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.21

If we truly hold to biblical authority, the Bible must be our most valued and basic textbook.

So the Bible is the textbook in the classroom of life. In Scripture, Jesus is called “life” (John 14:6) and “the Word” (John 1:1). If we truly hold to biblical authority, the Bible must be our most valued and basic textbook (else we rely on man’s word instead).

When Jesus walked this earth, the written Word of God was rare because it was handwritten on scrolls or parchments. By the Protestant Reformation with the invention of the printing press, the Bible became less rare. Today, we can engage God’s Word using websites or apps on our smartphones. Yet there remains a famine in the land as in the days of Amos (8:11) and Isaiah (29:11–14). The only way we can adequately address the famine is to start with our own nutritional needs.

Just Do It: Get in Scripture

Just like taking care of our physical bodies means eating right and exercising, we might need to change some of our spiritual habits in similar ways.

Just like taking care of our physical bodies means eating right and exercising, we might need to change some of our spiritual habits in similar ways. Here are three concepts we check ourselves with.

The World Needs Believers That Engage His Word

Many of us think, “I’m not a theologian.” However, all of us must be theologians to a certain extent. As believers, our theology is limited by how much we read and understand Scripture. There’s a sense about where the American church has looked at the Bible as hard to read or understand and has given up before giving it a fair attempt (we have thrown out the proverbial baby with the bathwater). Even though we’re sinners living in a sinful world, we can be encouraged and filled with hope that comes when we, as believers, engage the Bible on a regular basis. Timothy warns believers in 2 Timothy 4:3–4 (NASB) that “the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine . . . and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” In a world filled with so much untruth, life certainly can get overbearing at times. But it is reassuring to know what the Word says and be able to use it, as Timothy says, “For teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NASB). The only way to gain the reassurance it provides is by being familiar with it. But can we be familiar with something that we don’t spend time with? Make it a goal today to find at least one minute engaged with God’s Word. And tomorrow, do it again. Build yourself up to maybe spending five minutes, and then more.

Accept Responsibility and Do the Thing

In the book 12 Rules for Life by renowned secular psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, he states that you should “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.”22 What does this mean? Put yourself in the shoes of an outsider “analyzing” yourself. What would be good to help this person (yourself)? What advice should this person (yourself) follow? Well . . . take some of your own advice.

The prophet Jeremiah said that we are supposed to “take heed to yourselves” (Jeremiah 17:21 KJV). Although many churchgoers know they should be reading the Bible, we hear about obstacles like, “I just can’t understand it” or “reading isn’t my thing.” Well, “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 NASB) is not in your sin-filled nature either, so should we give up on loving our neighbors? No (much like Romans 6:1). We love our neighbors (and enemies for that matter) because the text says to do so. Do the thing, even if you aren’t good at it or don’t always understand everything.23 Jesus says in John 14:15 (NASB95), “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” So one way we show our love for him is by being in the Word. Spend the time, even when it is hard, and accept responsibility for treating yourself as someone you are responsible for helping.

Challenge Yourself

Next time you pick up your Bible, remind yourself how the Creator God of the universe is seeking to have a relationship with you.

Sometimes Bible reading can become a checklist item done out of duty, which is dangerous (think: familiarity breeds contempt). Every bit of Scripture is God-breathed and inspired.24 Next time you pick up your Bible, remind yourself how the Creator God of the universe is seeking to have a relationship with you. Here are three great questions to help you really think about the text instead of simply reading it:

  1. What does this show me about God? It’s his Word. He’s going to tell you about himself! Make a list of things you realize about God’s character.
  2. What does this show me about humanity? Fun fact: humanity hasn’t changed since the fall in Genesis 3. We are still sinful. We still do harmful things to ourselves and others. Lather, rinse, repeat. Identify the things the text teaches you about humanity.
  3. Why do I care? How is this going to change my life today, tomorrow, and the weeks to come? The text is alive. It’s there for a reason. Nothing in it is happenstance. Dwell on the reasons you care and determine your own ways of applying these lessons in your daily life. Let Scripture speak for itself and let it teach you.

Applying Lessons from Neuroscience in Daily Life

Multiple choice: Which of the following type of learner are you?

  1. Visual
  2. Auditory
  3. Kinesthetic
  4. All of the above

Trick question. None of us are completely one over any of the rest. There is no current scientific data supporting the idea that we fall into only one of these categories. The truth is that certain tasks are learned better one way than another, but the best way learning happens is when we engage all our senses. But you might be wondering: how does a textbook engage all our senses?

We definitely use our eyes when we read off the printed page.25 We hear the turning of the pages. While the sense of smell doesn’t seem to be engaged, it has been shown that there are parts of our brain that light up on an MRI when smells are associated with learning.26 Right now, I could make your brain light up if we hooked up an MRI and told you the following: smell of old books. (Kind of weird that you’re reading this article online, and you may have experienced the smell of old books simply because we mentioned it.) And there’s no doubt that turning a page requires the sense of touch.27

You Can Help!

Calling all believers! Are you concerned about the state of your church (and of course, all Christians and churches after seeing surveys like this and others by Ken Ham and Brit Beemer)?

  • Set an example in your family and church by making the reading of the Bible a much higher priority! Make sure any learning tool you use is loaded with Scripture and not a disheveled assemblage of disconnected and well-known “Bible stories.”
  • Use and share the tips below to really engage with Scripture.
  • Help get this message out to pastors to make them aware and get them involved!

Since the famine days of Amos and Isaiah, we have made considerable scientific advancements in the field of neuroscience. Insights from neuroscience have informed what we know about learning and have provided important tools for approaching Scripture.28

So, let’s put all this into practice and start a revival of biblical literacy. The following section, also in pdf form for quick printing and reference, is a suggested list of things to start with on your journey of loving the Lord your God with all your mind by reading the all-sufficient Word he has given us in his love and wisdom.

Ways to Engage with God’s Breathed Words in the Bible

Idea #1

When I (Andrew) was convicted from the Lord to teach myself Hebrew a few years ago, I knew what I had to do. I pulled out a pad of paper and began writing the letters of the alphabet over and over until I had them committed to memory. I’m certainly no Hebrew scholar, but I’m making progress toward understanding the language far better than I used to. Writing things out by hand is how the learning happened (think: neuroscience in practice).

Idea #2

Instead of going to church services and sitting there passively, take notes. Some pastors distribute their notes, some with fill-in-the-blanks, some with just Roman numerals, etc. These practices are commendable because at least they are trying to get you engaged. Similarly, when I (Andrew) sit down in my office with my boss, I take a pad of paper with me and write everything down. The neuroscience very clearly supports the idea that handwriting notes the old-fashioned way causes synapses to form that are indicative of deep neural processing (or simply stated: learning). This also shows respect for my boss—how much more respect should we show the Creator of the universe?

Idea #3

When memorizing Scripture, I (Andrew) write out the verses by hand over and over. The idea of sitting kids down to repeat as many verses as possible in a short period of time during a midweek service gets something inside their heads, but the neuroscience does not recommend that practice because it does not become deeply engrained in our memory banks. Maybe try writing down a verse (or part of a verse) where you emphasize a different word each time in all caps. Consider the pattern below and emphasize it many times for each line. It’s a challenge that will really highlight every word in Scripture.

The Lord is my shepherd.
THE Lord is my shepherd.
The LORD is my shepherd.
The Lord IS my shepherd.
The Lord is MY shepherd.
The Lord is my SHEPHERD.

Idea #4

Get rid of all distractions from whatever task you use to engage Scripture. The field of cognitive psychology is overwhelmingly clear that we cannot multitask. At best, we do something else called task-switching, and it takes longer to switch between tasks than to do one task at a time. The issue is about focus—we only have so much of it. When distracted, we perform worse.29 There’s no need to be trying to read something and expect to understand it really well if there are sounds happening in the background. Don’t put your cell phone on silent during a church service, put it away entirely so you (or the person you’re sitting next to) cannot see it when notifications pop up. Focus is a precious commodity that is undervalued in today’s culture.

Take Home Message

In looking at seemingly insurmountable tasks in life, they can easily become stifling to the point of throwing in the towel. The Bible may be overwhelming to someone that struggles with reading. Although it may still be daunting, I (Andrew) ask my kids when they’re facing a challenge: how do you eat an elephant? And the answer: one bite at a time. It’s okay that you don’t complete a “read the Bible in a year” challenge; what’s more important is you are reading, learning, and letting God use Scripture to change your life.


  1. Cream and no sugar. I need something to cut the bitter aftertaste. I will even drink decaf because I love coffee but definitely prefer caffeinated.
  2. In case you’ve never read any of my previous articles, I try to incorporate a quote from a Pixar film when possible. I’ve even written a movie review for one of the more recent Pixar films here, demonstrating the clear and loud agenda they have against biblical values.
  3. If you want, you can check out “my” (Andrew) entry on the Encyclopedia of American Loons website. I don’t think they’ll actually read this, but it’s worth a shot . . .
  4. In 2022, I had another opportunity to speak in a public school, but it was my daughter’s middle school science teacher. I saw a single biology textbook on the counter and sheepishly pointed it out to her. Her comment was that it was her personal copy that she kept for sentimental value. She missed the days of the textbook.
  5. The idea for calling it recitation was based on my experience attending university. I had recitations for my biology and chemistry courses where we would meet with the graduate teaching assistant to go over homework problems and review. I borrowed the name but gave it a twist where I would attempt to teach life skills (including writing a résumé, study skills, adjusting to college life, and more).
  6. The international students I confronted all gave me bizarre looks when I (Andrew) brought up this idea. They looked at me like I was telling a joke, but then a somber face overcame them when they realized how serious the American-born students responded. It was as if the international students were as shocked learning this as I was when I first realized it.
  7. The official IRB approval number was 2023-00019. It was approved on 03/23/2023 with an expiration date of 03/22/2024.
  8. Results from the preliminary survey are not included in data presented here.
  9. The total number of students that were sent the survey via email were BI 101 AOL (48), BI 250 (1), BU 105 OL (15), BU 301 OL (22), BU 301 (42), and CH 340 (9); the total number of students that were emailed the online survey was 137. Specific class names were BI 101: Concepts in Biology, CH 340: Biochemistry, BI 250: Microbiology, BU 105: Leadership & Public Speaking, and BU 301: Business Communications. The designation of AOL indicates it was a dual enrollment course, and the designation of OL indicates it was an online course. Students taking the survey had represented many different majors. One student was taking two of the aforementioned courses during the time of the survey (still only counting as one student response). The instance of the single student in microbiology was someone that did not participate in the unofficial survey sent earlier in the semester but agreed later in the semester after the IRB approval was in place. Names were obtained from the survey to prevent repeated responses that could influence the results, but no additional information was collected. Raw values collected from the students were collected using Microsoft Forms online and then transferred to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis. The average was collected for each of the items along with the standard deviation. Results appearing in the bar graph represent the averages, and the error bars represent standard deviations. A separate sheet in the same Excel file was used to calculate the p-values in a pair-wise analysis reported later.
  10. The category of “Legos” also had a fairly large standard deviation associated with it. Items with large standard deviations meant that there was as wide range of results, so some students valued them high, and some students did not value them at all. It’s just that the average came out low, and it was statistically significant from the rest.
  11. To accomplish this rank analysis, a table was built with each of the values listed along the top row and down the left side. A student’s t-test was performed for all numerical values reported by the students from each value against each value. The p-values less than 0.05 were statistically significant. Averages obtained for the bar graph were then ranked from the greatest numerical value to the least numerical value for each item surveyed. The asterisk indicates overlap between each of the areas, meaning that they are statistically insignificant from each other. The way we chose to interpret is that the items that were statistically insignificant from each other were essentially valued the same for those students surveyed. Some interpretation was involved subsequently to ascertain potential meaning behind those surveyed since none of the items in the list were defined for the survey participants, and we are unable to define them facto posteriori.
  12. For a clear explanation connecting the idea that Jesus is the Word in John 1:1, read this great explanation by Simon Turpin here.
  13. “Obesity: Another Ongoing Pandemic,” The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology 6, no. 6 (June 2021): 411,
  14. Reports about reading comprehension have highlighted this as seen in an article on the New York Times ( from before Covid and from USA Today (
  15. National Assessment of Educational Progress, “Explore NAEP Long-Term Trends in Reading and Mathematics,” Last accessed September 7, 2023.
  16. See quote taken from footnote 12 New York Times article.
  17. Andrew likes using Pixar quotes in what he writes because people can relate to moments in the films. It is not that everything Disney has ever or will ever make is biblical by any stretch of the imagination. The idea is more about taking every thought captive, tearing down strongholds, redeeming the time, and thinking on the good. Some Disney movies offer more than others. For example, Andrew wrote a review of the film Luca that you can read here:
  18. Lawson, Kara, “Kara Lawson: Handle Hard Better,” Duke Women’s Basketball’s Youtube, July 2022,
  19. Magness, Steve, Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness (New York: HaperOne, 2022). Also, Alex Harris, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (New York: Multnomah, 2013). Neither of us have any idea about these books besides the title. The title alone is sufficient worthy considering the point being made. The fact that one is written by a couple of aspiring teenagers is challenging enough for us as we write this—ergo, worth mentioning for the sake of writing this topic.
  20., “Textbook,” last accessed on June 21, 2023,
  21. Noah Webster, “Notable Quotations,” American Dictionary of the English Language, last accessed on September 7, 2023,
  22. Peterson, Jordan, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2018), v, 28, 31, 62, 357.
  23. Though imperfect, we’re reminded of the advice of Yoda about doing; there is no trying.
  24. The Greek word describing God’s Word in 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos (θεόπνευστος), which is a compound word made from combining the word theos (God) with -pneustos (breathed).
  25. If you have someone read you the Scripture aloud while you’re following along in your printed page, then you would be surprised by how much you’re able to retain and how many more verses/chapters/pages you’re able to cover in the same amount of time.
  26. The reason we remember smells is that we associate a positive or negative feeling with them and that processes into long-term memory.
  27. If you’re interested in the topic of the neuroscience behind learning, here are a few websites to consider.
    MRI of books versus screens:
    Zagorski, Nick, “Remember Books? Researcher Shows How Reading Is Superior to Screen Time,” Psychiatric News, published online March 20, 2020,

    LaMotte, Sandee, “This Is Your Child’s Brain on Books: Scans Show Benefit of Reading vs. Screen Time” CNN Health, published January 16, 2020,

    Ferris, Jabr, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens,” Scientific American 11, no. 5 (2013),
    (Contains a link to a cool YouTube video of a one-year-old treating a magazine like an iPad screen.)

    Brison, Todd, “Neuroscience Explains the Astonishing Benefits of Reading Books Like a Writer—Even if You Don’t Plan on Becoming One,” Pop Culture and Media, CNBC, last updated December 4, 2020,

    Singer, Lauren, and Patricia Alexander, “Reading Across Mediums: Effects of Reading Digital and Print Texts on Comprehension and Calibration,” The Journal of Experimental Education 85, no. 1 (2017): 155–172,
    (Journal article possibly the one heavily cited, but about self-assessment of reading preferences and actual scores from testing—nothing mentioned about MRI.)

    Berns, Gregory, Kristina Blaine, Michael Prietula, and Brandon Pye, “Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain,” Brain Connect 3, no. 6 (December 2013): 590–600,
    (Another journal article possibly heavily cited—makes great comment about the somatosensory cortex connectivity increasing with reading a novel might be the physical act of reading by either oculomotor or turning pages.)

    Walsh, Colleen, “What the Nose Knows,” The Harvard Gazette, February 27, 2020,
    (States: “Odors take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions related to emotion and memory.”)
  28. Clearly, we can learn something using our brains in a way that is pharisaical. However, we cannot abandon genuine learning altogether simply out of an unfounded fear of becoming a Pharisee. There is a fine balance here where it is of utmost importance to seek the Lord. It has been said that “Bible study without prayer is atheism at best.”
  29. A great example of this is how the basketball player Stephen Curry shoots free throws worse when his mouthguard is in his mouth instead of chewing on it ( When asked, he said that it distracts him, and it’s all he thinks about when it’s in his mouth. Did you realize that the location of something so seemingly insignificant as a mouthguard matters when a professional basketball player is shooting a free throw, and there are tens of thousands of screaming fans?


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