The Bible: 5 key points English teachers should be aware of.


Why do you need to know about the Bible to be an effective English teacher? Surely, it’s a religious text?

  1. It is also possibly the most influential literary text ever written. Until comparatively recently, the Bible influenced every English writer because it was the main text most people listened to and read since most English writers had Christian upbringings.
  2. The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament forms the Torah for the Jewish religion, but also the first part of the Christian Bible.
  3. It is a collection of stories, the first of which was possibly written down in 3500 BC and drawn together by religious scholars over the ages.
  4. For the purposes of the English Literature teacher and student, the most important edition of the Bible is the King James Version or Authorized King James’ Version (AKJV) or (KJB) published in 1611. This English translation of the Bible is widely considered to be the most beautiful and is certainly the most influential; phrases it uses are often quoted in much succeeding literature. You can find it online here:
  5. A more comprehensible version is the New International Version (NIV), which lacks the poetry of the AKJV but is easier to understand.

About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing ( which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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