In 2018, it’s sadly not surprising that young adults– especially in America, but also worldwide– believe that the Bible is literally a thing of the past. The Barna Group, a research company dedicated to research pertaining to faith and spirituality, created a study in which they compared different questions regarding the Bible, and Bible Literacy, over a six-year period. Many of the answers were, unfortunately, very telling.
For example, in Barna’s Research study on how often people read the Bible, 35% of Americans in 2016 said they read the Bible at least once a week, but this statistic also highlighted the fact that only a quarter of millennials could say they read the Bible once per week1. American adults were also asked if the Bible– among the options of the Koran, Book of Mormon, Torah, and “None” — was a book they considered to be Sacred Literature. While those in this survey were able to choose more than one option, the percentage who chose the Bible as their sole response, or part of their partial response, went down by 6% in 6 years. To the question, “the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches,” the percentage of those who “Agreed Strongly” decreased by 15% between 2011 and 2016; there was also a decrease of 8% in those who believe “the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.”
As with much of Scientific studies, this data only proves and supports many of the things people already see on a daily basis. Many millennials have traded the idea of Absolute Truth for an “Everything Is True” mentality; people have forsaken the idea that there is one answer and one way for a “Vanilla Spirituality,” one example of 1 Timothy 4 coming true: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”2
Now, more than ever, Christians must guard themselves against the hundreds of different thoughts and beliefs thrown at them, even unbiblical beliefs within Christianity itself (1 John 4:1-6). At the same time, the human heart can tend to pride itself on “knowing the Truth,” even when it comes to having great knowledge of the Bible—turning Christians into arrogant, heartless, religious people, akin to the proud Pharisees Jesus was so angered by (Matthew 23). In our world, how can one stay away from both dangerous extremes?
The Bible is Precious
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands” (Psalm 119:9-10, NLT). Whether the person who wrote Psalm 119 was King David, Ezra, or Daniel, the person writing these words no doubt was faced with a real philosophical question: “How can a young person stay pure?” That is, how is a person, in such a world as this, remain untainted by sin, even the sins of legalism and Heresy? Psalm 119:9 makes it very simple: “By obeying [God’s] Word.” God’s Word is precious, because it erases the black tar of humanity’s changing, fallible thinking, replacing lies with Truth.
Yet, there is a caveat to this: God’s Word can only do this transforming work in a person’s life when they view God’s Word as precious. If one does not view the Bible (and the Bible alone!) as precious and worthy to be obeyed with all of ourselves, they remain blinded. 2 Corinthians 4:4 states this truth better than I: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” God’s Word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11)—but if a person refuses to receive what it says with Faith, they remain blind to it’s Truth, and therefore, it’s life-changing power.
The Bible is God-Breathed
2 Corinthians 4:4 sheds light on the key to receiving God’s Word: The Help and Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV), it only makes sense that a person needs the Spirit of God to understand what He has breathed! Think of it, friends: The God of the Universe wants to speak to you! The fact that God has already made Himself known through the Bible is a precious gift in and of itself; and one receives it when they receive the One who created it! It is impossible to read and understand the Bible, God’s Wisdom, at a soul-level, without personally knowing the God who reveals it to us (1 Corinthians 10:9-11).
This is where many Christians can remove priority on the Bible, though. Attempting to “experience Jesus,” many can seek an exciting/profound personal revelation—or, at times, merely an ethereal experience—instead of conforming to what God has already revealed in the Bible. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit cannot speak to us individually, but that whatever He says MUST be in line with what the Bible says! There is no greater revelation than the one that is Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22. Only those who see the Bible as a precious, precious gift, and search it for confirmation on what the Holy Spirit might be saying, can steer clear of false spirits masquerading as “greater revelation.”
Jesus is the Word
All of this might seem complicated. But, when it comes down to it, a person will 1) Only regard the Bible as Precious and 2) Have the Holy Spirit when they receive The One who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1:1 says. “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3, NIV). There are many today who do read the Bible, yet do not have their hearts, souls, and lives changed by it’s Words. This is because they refuse the One who says it! If John 1 is correct, and if this scripture, as well, is God-breathed (God-inspired), Jesus Christ is God—and He is the Word made manifest as a Human. This is where the Bible becomes more than just Sacred Literature; through the Holy Spirit, it is able to speak to the Reader like nothing and no one else. When one reads the Bible and listens to it, they are listening to God speaking directly to them. So many people—myself included! —will wait and wait until they get a profound, extra-biblical revelation from Christ on whether or not they should do something. While anticipating Jesus’ answer through the Holy Spirit is not wrong, the Bible is clear. Even if the Bible doesn’t explicitly give you an answer on something, its Words will still not return void. In times of uncertainty, ask Jesus to illuminate His Word to you, and give you the Wisdom and Guidance you need. He is willing to provide you that guidance—and what it comes to His Word, He already has!
It is true that a nation is blessed when the triune God, YHWH, is their God (Psalm 33:12). Aching, lonely, sin-ridden hearts all over the world are looking for something to save them out of the darkness, chaos, and emptiness they feel. Now, more than ever, we must pray that people read and believe the Bible—but even more so, put their faith the great, amazing God who inspired hundreds of men, over thousands of years, to write it. Let’s pray that those who are Bible illiterate would read its Words, and believe fully on its Loving Author. After all, it is a book of History, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, and every other noble academic pursuit; but it is SO much more, to the One who believes on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It becomes a love letter, the very Words of Life itself. In the words of some beautiful person, “The Bible is the only book where the Author is in Love with the reader.”
Do you know Jesus?
The Whole of the Bible is this: That God Loves you, gave Himself for you, and wants you to know Him and be saved by Him. To the lonely, it speaks of Jesus never leaving you (Hebrews 13:5); to the proud, it whispers that only those who know their poverty and need for God will inherit His Kingdom (Matthew 5:3; Psalm 34:18). To all, it says that Jesus Christ is the Only Way, Truth, and Life; no one gets to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Whoever you are, Jesus is calling for you to come to Him.
Come to Him, and learn more about His Love for you and His Good News to you, here.
Please pray for…
- The Worldwide Church, especially the Church within the United States and other “poster-modern” societies. In a day and time where “everything goes,” pray that the Church would stand for the values of the Bible, even when under pressure.
- College campuses. So many lost, aching, dying souls fill these campuses, looking for purpose and meaning. Pray that Jesus would use fellow college students, professors, and college ministries to show these people the Good News of Jesus Christ!
- That people would not only read the Bible, but love and cherish it. Pray that these beautiful people would come to realize and value the Sacredness of the Bible and would be Bereans (Acts 17:10-15)—comparing everything they hear of and experience with what the Bible has to say.
- That people all over the world would come to know Jesus! Please pray—even in your own life—that Jesus would cause Believers to know the Gospel, and that those same Believers (you and me!) would share the Gospel with all those around us!
If you’re like me, you like writing down prayers. You can now print out a printable version of these prayer requests, with room to journal-pray, here!
Time is short—Jesus is coming back soon, and people NEED to know the Truth! Please pray that those who know nothing of Christ would come to meet Him in amazing ways!!!
Thank you for your prayers!!!
2 I Timothy 4:3-4, New Living Translation