If the numbers are to be trusted, Christians, by and large, do not read the book they claim is the divine and inspired Word of God. A recent study suggests only 45 percent of those who attend church regularly read the Bible more than once a week. Overall, four out of five self-described Christians read their Bibles only occasionally or not at all.
Four out of five Christians read the inspired Word of their God only occasionally if at all.
This statistic is earth shattering. And it seems we are full of excuses:
- “I’m not much of a reader.”
- “If you only saw my schedule, you’d understand.”
- “The Bible doesn’t seem relevant to my life.”
Let’s get real for just a moment. It’s because Christians don’t read their Bible that that they don’t know their Bible; and because they don’t know their Bible there is often a disconnect between what they profess to believe and how they live their lives.
As a Church, we need to tackle the epidemic of Biblical illiteracy head on. Jesus Himself said that not everyone who declares “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they never knew Him (Matthew 7:21-23). King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7), yet many of us walk through this life neglecting the very Word of God which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The great challenge before our preachers and teachers to inspire their congregations to fall in love with the Word of God. If the Church in the United States were to fall in love with the Word of God we would experience a revival like no other! Yet many of our churches (and even whole denominations) are moving away from being Scripture-focused and becoming more secular in their appearance. As a result, the Church is losing influence and is no longer distinct from the culture that surrounds it.
Our Church leaders need to continually confront their members with the Word of God. We need to preach it, teach it, sing it, and encourage and exhort our members to study it in their own quiet times at home:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
We need to destroy the excuses that separate Christians from the Word of their God. Not much of a reader? No problem, their are countless reading plans and daily devotionals that will allow you to encounter the Word of God in just a few minutes each day. Have a busy schedule? You will make time for what is important to you. The Bible doesn’t seem relevant? Really? Did you encounter any stress, problems, jerks, sin, people, pain, obstacles in your day today? The Bible can help with all of that.
Does a Christian have to read the Bible? Make no mistake, Jesus died for your sins and is your one and only path into an eternal relationship with God. But a hunger for God’s Word is a clear sign that you have entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter urged his readers to “[put] aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, [and] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it [they] may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). And our churches must do the same.
If the Church wants to stand as a beacon in this world, it must reclaim the power, beauty, and mystery of God’s Word and pass it along to His people. That is the challenge that stands before us.