The questions from Love God Fear Nothing’s global online family keep pouring in. This one arrived early this morning: “Hey, Mark…do I have to read the Bible to be a Christian?”
It took about six seconds for my mind to race toward the much broader subject of Bible illiteracy which is at epidemic proportions in the U.S. and around the world.
We have become Biblically illiterate Christians because many of us have marginalized Scripture in favor of singing contemporary songs, attending fellowship barbeques, and taking superficial topical study classes.
We are experiencing a famine—a famine of Bible know ledge. During famines, people die. And during spiritual famines, people die spiritually for lack of Biblical nourishment. If we are to remain alive spiritually, we must have sustenance.
Unfortunately, nourishment from God’s Word seems to be at an all-time low.
That takes us back to this morning’s question about “having to read the Bible.” Bible illiteracy is very dangerous because, yes, we NEED God’s Word to nourish our faith and deepen our spiritual grounding in Christ.
In a recent national church poll conducted by the Barna Research Group, we learned that Sodom was married to Gomorrah, that Billy Graham delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and that Joan of Arc was married to Noah!
Fewer than half of all adults could name the four Gospels, and many Christians could not identify more than two or three of the disciples. Sixty percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.
It is hardly necessary to say that Bible illiteracy in the American church has reached epidemic levels. How can American Christians claim they revere the Bible yet they don’t read it?
What does God have to say about this state of affairs?
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” Amos 8:11-12
The book of Amos in the Old Testament describes a “famine of hearing the words of the Lord.”
The people needed revival and were suffering divine judgment. They were without food and water and without a message from God, malnourished in every way. They were desperate for nourishment, but they could not have it.
How different it is for us today. We have complete access to nourishment from God, but we push our plate away.
What a shame. If we regularly nourish our spirits with God’s words, it is possible to be sustained when worry strikes and fear attacks in the midst of life’s unending stream of challenges.
I am happy right now in spite of the serious challenges in my life at this time. But being confident in that state can only come from seeking God’s perspective THROUGH HIS WORD. Right from the start, he wants us to recognize fear’s presence and the worry it spawns in our lives, and what better way to recognize it than to know God’s remedies for it?
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13