Biblical Illiteracy, Rampant and Wrong
June 26, 2009, 06:15
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There is a reason our church has Bible in the name.  We  study the bible, we learn from the bible, the bible is our, well,.. bible!  It has always amazed me how ignorant, and I mean that in the nicest way,  people who call themselves Christians are of the bible.  I do not mean those who claim a different doctrine, I mean those who have no clue.  They are Legion.

Here is a clip going around the net that has been plagiarized so much I can not find the original, but I have read things in the Barna surveys that are similar,   I  hate to believe this, but I do.

The Bible remains the most popular book of all time, and almost all U.S. homes (93 percent) have at least one. Yet only half of U.S. adults can name a single Gospel, and most don’t know that the first book of the Bible is Genesis. A 2000 survey showed that even 60 percent of those chapter-and-verse-quoting Evangelicals thought Jesus was born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem. Similarly, a 2004 survey of high school students found that 17 percent thought “the road to Damascus” was where Jesus was crucified and 22 percent thought Moses was either one of Jesus’ 12 apostles or an Egyptian pharaoh or an angel. Half of high school seniors also thought Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Do you think this may be true?  I have seen ‘Jay Walking’ on TV, so I guess anything is possible.  When my youngest was in elementary school there were children who did not know who Jesus was, so the survey  kind of fits into what I have seen.  I have a guy who showed up at church two times, the only two times he has ever been in a church in his life.

This level of ignorance  has an awful penalty for our society.  There is no way our culture can have a biblical word view if it does not view the bible.  The most painful part of the situation is it is our fault.  Me, you the reader, we are responsible.  I would rather argue about Calvinism, or Infant Baptism, or Lutherans like theoldAdam, or did Driscol say a dirty word, or is McArthur right about total cessation, or should Warren have used Isa in his prayer as a name of Jesus. you can get 100 comments on Internet monk if you claim[quite rightly] that “church” as we know it is in trouble.  I would rather argue what in the end is opinion with people who read the bible, than go out and read and share the bible with people who have no clue.

I love Christian blogs.  they keep me sharp, give me a sense of community, introduce me to people iwould not get to meet otherwise and help me shape my own thoughts by bouncing them off of others. If you are reading this you enjoy it also,  I enjoy reading comments and posts by  and  IKE, and JEOFURRY, AND REV. ANDY and GRACESHAKER, THE OLD ADAM, JOE, SHAWN, JOHN, JOY, my friend ROB who called from Texas when I hit a rough spot,  and the rest of the frequent fliers and occasional visitors.  On a good day there are about 100 of us who pass through  here.  We do not all agree on everything, but we all, praise God, have much more than a passing knowledge of Scripture, and I believe a passing knowledge of Christ that we each seek to grow and extend.

I would much rather speak to Christians, even ones I am in disagreement with than go out into the world and attempt to spread the Gospel.  I share a common language, world view, jargon, and fellowship with Christians.  Out in the world people think we are crazy, they do not understand a faith based in the Unseen that has more of a reality to us than sun up this morning.  Our faith draws us together as we share the experience of a common reality.

No matter who gets the blame the reality is that the Bible  plays no part in the life of most Americans today.  What I consider to be the very word of God, writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, is a bunch of old literature to most.  The best selling book of all time has little effect on the lives of  most of my fellow citizens.  Even many church goers,  nominal Christians, many who would argue, and may be correct for all I know, that they are Heaven Bound Children of the Most High God,  have no working knowledge of Scripture.  They do not read, study, or understand Holy Writ, would not turn to it for solace or wisdom.

Many churches do not stress the reading of the Bible, and all too many sermons are not scripture based.   The old joke about the preacher who had a great sermon ready, if he could just get some scripture to go with it,  is a reality in many churches.  It is entirely possible for someone to be a regular attendant of an organized church and still not be familiar with the organization of, or stories in the Bible.

So those of us who love the Bible and love Godand love our neighbor need to share the whole of the word with our society.  We need to spread our love of scripture with the world.  Our mission should be to get them to give it a try, see what wisdom, what love, what provision has been laid up in a storehouse of verse!

Psa 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

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Will, guilty as charged on this. I will say that in the last week or so I’ve really been feeling a burden about sharing the gospel as loudly as possible. It’s an awakening.

Recently, I’ve been sharing things with one of my sisters-in-law, specifically how you can lose your reward but you cannot lose your salvation (1 Corinthian 3:10-15). I was surprised when she didn’t understand the difference. She thought that our salvation was our reward. She had no idea.

There’s been a lot of recent activity around the ark of the covenant. I shared with my wife some of the things I learned through my studies of this and she was perplexed.

I’ve been sharing with my family that it’s my belief that if I don’t see the return of Christ, my son and stepson will. Like Jeff, I’m not into setting dates for the rapture because Jesus was very specific that only the Father knows the hour. But we can discern the signs of the times.

Our blogs may be poor vehicles for proclaiming the gospel. iMonk mentioned this recently. But I know the gifts God has given me so I will continue to blog and write. But I also realize the burden I have to share the good news with my mouth and not just my fingers and keyboard.

Thanks for this post. I really do sense something is happening because a lot of us bloggers are all sensing the same thing.

I believe that’s called the Holy Spirit, is it not? 🙂

In Christ,


Comment by Joe Chavez

It is brother, and without disagreeing at all I remind you that we all have felt His Return was soon, for the last 2000 years! May He hasten the day!
I think things will get really bad, really really bad,

before he returns. I remember when many god Cristians were glued to the TV for the 6 day way, feeling that was it. Well, one of these days we are going to be right!

Comment by willohroots

This post is really timely for me. I am taking a break from writing an expositional paper on Isaiah 66:15-24 to try and catch up on my blog reading and I had to comment here. This week I started an evangelism class at Liberty. One of the things we were required to get for the class was the book Share Jesus Without Fear as well as the pocket New Testament version that goes with it and a CD as well. I will confess that I was a little annoyed at having to purchase this stuff and learn yet another “evangelism method.” Part of it is that I know what I need to do, but I have been hesitant or reluctant far too many times to share my faith.

Anyway, the book is required reading for week one, so I read it this week and I was really challenged by it. Basically, it encourages having people read Scripture out loud to see and hear the Gospel for themselves. The guy asked why we would go anywhere without Scripture if it were truly important to us. After all, we don’t forget to take our wallet or keys along when we go (at least most of the time), why would we not take along Scripture so that we are prepared to share it when God gives the opportunity. I carried my pocket NT with me when I went out today and I intend to continue to do so, because there are far too many people who really don’t have a clue what God’s Word says. And if I meet up with them by God’s providence, I intend to be prepared to share it with them.

Like you, I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading Christian blogs and writing at my own as well. At the same time, I try to venture outside the bounds and be a light and a little salt in a dying blogoshpere as well. May courage build to take it to the streets of my community as well.

Comment by jeofurry

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. Nothing touches the heart like Scripture.
I highly recommend “Out of their Faces and Into Their Shoes” if only for the attitude.
The best evangelism is the hardest. Get in volved in someone’s life and love them. It hurts, takes time and does not always work, yet I am convicted it is what we are to do.
I would love to read the exposition, please, i enjoy your work.

Comment by willohroots

A recent study in Philippians prompted me to wonder, what if this one brief book were our only available Bible? How much would we have to believe and live off of? At least this:

• He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (1:6);
• We are all partakers of grace together (1:7);
• We will be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (1:10);
• Human opposition, far from defeating the gospel, is serving to advance the joyous spread of the gospel (1:12-18);
• Should life be lost, Christ is gained (1:21);
• Temporary survival is gospel opportunity (1:22);
• To depart and be with Christ is far better than this life (1:23);
• The further we go with Christ, the more joy we experience (1:25);
• The gospel of Christ is an uplifting power (1:27);
• Opposition to gospel witness presages the doom of the opponents and the glorious destiny of the faithful (1:28);
• It is a God-given privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ (1:29);
• Union with Christ brings encouragement, comfort from love, participation in the Spirit, affection and sympathy (2:1);
• Christ Jesus himself is living proof that the arrogance of this world is doomed and that gospel humility is the path of great reward (2:6-9);
• Jesus is King, and he will have every rational creature in the universe know it and own it, to the greater glory of God the Father (2:10-11);
• We do not need even an apostle always present to lead us by the hand; God himself is deeply at work in us (2:12-13);
• Knowing Christ Jesus the Lord redefines all trophies of self-exaltation as “rubbish,” for he gives true righteousness and participation in his death and resurrection; he is so superior to all things in this world that, whatever path we may take into the resurrection of the dead, the price to be paid is small (3:7-11);
• In conversion, Christ Jesus takes eternal possession of us (3:12);
• The call of God in Christ Jesus offers a prize far beyond this world, worthy of our all (3:14);
• To whatever extent we struggle to grasp the upward call, God will reveal all that we need revealed (3:15);
• To settle for the rewards of this world is to make oneself an enemy of the cross of Christ and to make a god of one’s earthly appetites, which is the path of destruction and the reversal of a truly human life (3:18-19);
• We who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh also find our citizenship in heaven, from which we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will raise our “vile” (KJV) bodies into his immortal glory by his power over all things (3:3, 20-21);
• Our names are written in the book of life (4:3);
• The Lord is at hand (4:5);
• God receives our prayers and sends his overruling peace to guard our hearts when the circumstances of life would have us frantic (4:6-7);
• As we follow the apostolic example of lovely heavenly-mindedness, we experience the presence of the God of peace (4:8-9);
• Christ strengthens us to accept with contentment whatever life may bring (4:11-13);
• When we support the ministry of the gospel, the fruit increases to our own credit (4:17);
• God receives our gospel partnership as a sacrifice pleasing to himself (4:18);
• God is committed to our own needs with all his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (4:19);
• In it all, God will get glory for himself forever and ever (4:20);
• And in the meantime, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will steadfastly be with our spirit (4:23).

Makes me wonder, how much more is there in this Bible which I hardly know?

Comment by Ike

When i first got to Dayspring, when i was a preacher not a pastor, I lead a study on my favorite book at the time [it changes] Philippians. It is like the church that “got it”.I was amazed that the long time leaders of the church we not familiar with the concepts! Do all things without grumbling or questioning, was a shocker!
I still use , “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,” as a great expression of the change in values that we go through as we are brought to life by the Holy Spirit.
Brother Ed used to teach that today, as we sit here, in China there are those who have but one sheet of a bible, and use it to good advantage to shape their lives toward the Savior’s calling, we have multiple translations and fail to use what we have.
Thanks Ike, i will read thru Philippians
in the morning with Your posting as my study guide. God Bless!

Comment by willohroots

It’s a shame…but America isn’t “Bible saturated” but biblically ignorant.

Comment by Ike


Great post!

The culture has overwhelmed people to the point where God (and the Bible) are no longer important in their lives.

They are like cattle standing in front of a new gate. They cannot envision what is on the other side. They cannot see past their noses.

I think it is the job of the believer to help point out, or precipitate a crisis.

Talk to people aboput the things in lif ethat are getting them. Relationships, work, personal problems, additictions, illness…everybody has things that are tearing them down.

That is another expression of the ‘law’. (it’s not just the 10 Commandments)

Then when the law has had it’s way with them, has exposed them and their frailties, then hand over the gospel to them.

“Yeah, I know life can really be hard (I also have x,y, and z going on in my own life), but let me tell you about the One who has given His life for us that we might have new life some day. Let me tell you about Jesus. He died on that cross for you. He has promised to make you whole again.”

That’s the gospel. The gospel contains the power of God (Romans 1:16).

In this day and age where the Christians have become caricatures and the church is not valued but mocked and is the object of derision, I think that one on one witnessing, wherein we get to know the person a little bit, is the way to bring the law and the gospel to bear in a person’s life , so that the gospel might grab a hold of them.

I don’t know how else to do it. The days of memorizing the Bible for the general public are, unfortuanately, over.

Comment by theoldadam

I never before really grasped your concept of the law. I am not sure memorizing is the answer, i have met too many who know verse but do not have the meaning. I wish they knew the basics, which i think we failed to teach. I think we need to win one soul at A TIME WITH LOVE.

Comment by willohroots

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