We are living in a time where there are more Bible translations, easier access to Bibles and even have Bible apps and downloadable Bibles on line. The only problem is, they are hardly ever read.
According to a Lifeway research poll in 2017, only 9 percent of those polled have read it more than once. 11 percent have read it once, and 10 percent have never read it. 30 percent of those polled have read a few passages and know some of the stories, so that’s pretty good isn’t it?
Almost nine out of 10 households (87 percent) own a Bible, according to the American Bible Society, and the average household has three. Yet even among worshipers who attend church regularly, less than half read it every day.
Last year, Barna conducted it’s annual State of the Bible survey, in partnership with American Bible Society, to examine behaviors and beliefs about the Bible among U.S. adults. The results are a little more promising in this poll, with about half of Americans being “Bible users”—that is, they engage with the Bible on their own by using, listening to, watching, praying or using Bible text or content in any format (not including use at a church service) at least three to four times a year (48%).
Adults who use the Bible daily account for 14 percent of the total adult population, followed by 13 percent who use it several times a week, 8 percent who do so once a week, 6 percent about once a month and 8 percent who use it three to four times a year.
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) express at least some curiosity to know more about what the Bible says, including one in three (29%) who express a strong desire. A similar number of adults (63%) are interested in knowing more about who Jesus Christ is, including 31 percent who agree strongly.
How do we reach these people who are hungry to know more, when many Christians don’t know anymore than what they hear in Church on Sunday mornings?
The Barna study is definitely worth reading to get an over all idea of people’s thoughts on the Bible and what it means for our lives, but the point is, that for a nation which still for a large part considers the US to be a Christian nation (and the same could be said for much of the west in general) people, especially Christians, don’t read their Bibles nearly enough to have enough of a grasp on the Nature of God, Who Jesus Is, the Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of Christians or much about the Gospels, and definitely not enough to share the Gospel with others.
This is not the first time I’ve written about how Biblically illiterate many Christians in the West are, and over the years the evidence of this is trickling from the pulpit on down. Is it any wonder why there are so many false teachers/churches out there, or such lukewarm, fuzzy, feel good preachers who have no shortage of people filling their coffers when Bible believing churches have a hard time packing their pews every Sunday.
When one considers the dangers for many Christians around the world to even possess a Bible, often times having to memorize whole books let alone verses, because they will be sent to prison or worse, there is no excuse for western Christians not to have a firm grasp of the Bible, and more so, the knowledge and belief of the Gospel message.
For years I was one of those folks like those in these polls. I had read a little here, a little there, but it was a few years after being a true believer that I finally read all of the Bible- and even then, I didn’t do it regularly. Sure, I would get into a habit for a while, even sometimes for months where I would read it every day, but then I found too many other things I “needed” to do, and would forget. Before I knew it, it’d be months since I picked it up.
I know it’s hard to read some of it. You guys have seen me lament at the begats and Chronicles, the laws and lists. But you know what? The more we read, the more we understand why all of those are prevalent throughout the Old, and it’s more interesting to read. And one might even see something that God has in mind to teach us about it.
The truth of it is, is that all scripture is meant for us to read– not just the New. If you read enough of the new, you see Jesus, and some of the apostles often referred to the Old when driving a message- there was no new testament when they preached! They relied heavily on the Old, and the Old pointed to Jesus. The New gives us an insight into the Old. Scriptures are for teaching us about our Lord and Savior,so we can in turn teach others and share the Gospel.
The fact that there are so many Christians who haven’t read scriptures enough shows why the Gospel isn’t shared much in the West, and that a whole generation has never heard of Jesus (except maybe as a cuss word!).
Scriptures are God’s love letters to us, messages of hope and redemption which are for all of us, not just pastors, to share with others.
So what is the Gospel, and how important is it?
Suffer sent the link of a recent message by his church which is worth listening to, paying attention to, and learning from. This message is totally Biblically based, solid exhortation, truth and much needed in today’s Christian life. I hope you’ll listen.
Any time folks want to share their favorites, or even messages from their own church, please never hesitate to share in comments. We love good sermons here at the HB, but we don’t want to promote too much of any one church or pastor- because different messages mean different things to different people, but Daisy and I agreed that this message is definitely worth posting about.
Have a blessed day all!