I came across some sad statistics this week. For the last four years, The Barna Group has conducted a survey on behalf of the American Bible Society to find out how Americans feel about the Bible.
One particular statistic really jumped out at me: 19% of Americans are “skeptical” of the Bible. This is up from 10% just three years ago.
“Skeptics,” as defined by Barna, believe the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men, that it contains stories and advice.”
Think of the implications. If a fifth – up from a tenth just 3 years ago – of Americans reject the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, what does that mean for our society, future generations of Americans, and the American church?
More results from the survey help us sum it up: A growing number of Americans – particularly the younger generation – don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word, don’t read it, and don’t look to it for answers for life.
How did we get here and what can we do about it?
A host of factors probably contributed to Americans’ changing view of the Bible such as changing values and shifting worldviews. But a verse from Scripture popped into my mind as I thought about this.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. Judges 2:10-11
There’s only one reason the new generation did not know about God and everything He had done for Israel. Their parents and grandparents did not tell them!
A new generation of Americans is growing up not knowing the truth of the Bible or its Author because their parents and grandparents have failed to give testimony to its power.
The greatest thing we can do to stop this growing tide of skepticism is to follow Moses’ instruction to the Israelites – that generation before the Judges. The one who failed to heed Moses’ wise advice.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
The principles found in these verses still apply today. If we treat the Word of God like Moses commanded the Israelites, then more of the next generation would know the LORD and believe His Word to be truth. Let’s consider what this looks like today:
- Embed God’s Word in our hearts – We cannot give something that we don’t have. We must first read, know, and love God’s Word ourselves.
- Impress them on our children – We must be purposeful in teaching them God’s Word. It won’t happen by osmosis and we can’t leave it solely to the church. Practice family devotions, bedtime Bible reading and prayer, Scripture memory!
- Talk about God’s Word throughout our daily circumstances – Always be looking for opportunities to help your children view the happenings of life through the lens of the Bible. From problems with friends and loss of loved ones to entertainment and issues at school, help your kids prop them all up against God’s truth.
- Make God’s Word the foundation of our lives – Tying God’s Word onto our bodies and writing in on our homes symbolizes a far greater need. God’s Word must permeate our thinking, guide the work of our hands, and be our guide for all of life. As we model this for our children, we must teach them to do the same.
Thankfully, the way society feels about the Bible or God does not change the truth. The Bible is God’s inspired Word, alive and active today, applicable to our lives, and the guide for all future hope.
Skepticism of the Bible does not have to continue to rise. As parents and grandparents, we can make a difference. We have truth on our side!
What will you do today to help your children embrace God’s Word?