biblical illiteracy

I’ve carried this for a while now. I have a heavy burden on my heart for the American Church that keeps getting heavier all the time. I’m deeply concerned about our relationship with the Bible. It’s on shaky ground and deteriorating.

We don’t know God’s Word like we used to. And what we do know, we don’t necessarily buy into. Some of us don’t really believe the Bible is God’s revealed Word. Some have been influenced by the culture when it tells us that the Bible is an old, intolerant, irrelevant book. And some of us simply want to do our own thing our own way so we don’t accept the authority of the Bible.

A Few Symptoms of the Problem

Here are a few symptoms of our breakup with the Bible:

  1. Biblical Illiteracy – Of course, the most obvious symptom of Christians deteriorating relationship with God’s Word is that we don’t know what it teaches – even the most important, basic spiritual principles. For example, according to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center, 52% of American Protestants believe salvation requires faith and good works. (If you’re looking for a great – and convenient – opportunity to learn more about the Bible and how to study it for yourself, check out the “Enjoy God’s Word Online Bible Study Conference.” Early bird pricing ends today, so don’t delay!)
  2. Cultural Compromise– Over the last few decades, our culture has not only accepted but now also applauds certain behavior that the Bible clearly calls ungodly. Rather than side with Scripture and take the inevitable persecution from the world, some in the church have sided with the culture, essentially calling God’s Word outdated and irrelevant. We hear it from churches. We hear it from popular Bible teachers. We hear it from the pew. (For more about cultural compromise see: “4 Reasons Christians Compromise with the Culture.”)
  3. Human-Centered Teaching– “Christian” books top the New York Times bestseller list telling women that “they are enough.” That they “don’t have to apologize to anyone, they are okay just like they are.” That they “can do anything they set their minds to.” And Christian women are eating it up. There is just one problem with it. It’s not biblical. This kind of teaching starts with a human, self-centered focus rather than a God-centered focus. The Bible tells us that no one is enough. That’s why Jesus came. We cannot carry out God’s purposes for us without His power. And we are not okay like we are, that’s why God works constantly to transform us into the image of Christ.

The Danger of Our Breakup with the Bible

The Bible is timeless and relevant to all people throughout history. The eternal, unchanging God has revealed Himself, His purposes, and His ways to us in the Bible. We come to know Him, we come to Jesus Christ, and we find eternal life through the truths in His Word. And yet we allow it to gather dust on the shelf. Or we read it selectively or with a touch of skepticism preferring our own way over God’s.

About ten years ago, God highlighted a specific Scripture passage that He keeps bringing me back to. It describes this problem:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5, NIV

What we believe about the Bible can mean life or death for us. What we share about the Bible can mean life or death for someone else.

I believe God wants me to take a stand. To take a stand for His truth. To know His Word, to believe what His Word says, and teach its Truth without compromise. And without apology.

What about you? Do you stand with God’s Word?

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