Why isn’t the Sermon on the Mount taught in the schools? Why aren’t all children studying this? That was the question raised last week by Ibrahim Eissa in his popular TV show in Egypt. He said that the Sermon on the Mount is one of the greatest religious texts, one of “eloquence, wisdom, meaning, depth, and light.” Just as parts of the Koran are taught to students in schools, he continued, so should parts of the Bible.
Over the years, some other Muslim leaders in Egypt have referred to the Sermon on the Mount as containing some of the highest religious principles ever written.
The Sermon on the Mount has been an increasingly key passage in reaching out to all Egyptians as a way of introducing those unfamiliar with the Bible to the teachings of Jesus.
After the January 2011 Revolution, as people aspired to affect change in the nation, the Bible Society of Egypt printed the Sermon on the Mount under the title “Yes to Change!” The final summary explained that if you have just read this…
“… as a fine collection of moral laws, you have missed the point. This is a calling to change that is beyond any human ability. The center focus of the Sermon on the Mount is the person of the Lord Jesus himself, and it is impossible for anyone to make the required change apart from belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and obedience to Him.”
Most recently, we produced a unique, hard-cover edition of the Sermon on the Mount entitled “Words that Changed the World.” We pray that the beautiful Arabic calligraphy and photography in this book will draw people into greater engagement with the Bible.
It is featured on two 10×5 meter billboards on the busy Alexandria-Cairo highway. The sign simply says, “Request it now. Words that Changed the World” and gives the hotline number to the Bible Society of Egypt.
Such billboards do more than simply advertise a product. They make the Bible more accessible to all. They encourage Christians who feel marginalized and under pressure. They say that Christianity is not something to be ashamed of. They remind people that there is indeed freedom to proclaim your identity with pride… in public! Unlike individual churches or denominations, the Bible Society represents all Christians, raising the profile of the Bible and making the presence of Christians felt in Egypt.
Please continue to pray for us, that we might be creative in promoting and distributing the Scriptures widely. We are actively working with other Bible Societies to produce bi-lingual editions of this book especially for use with the flood of refugees in Europe.