Friday, October 05, 2012

"The Sad Truth of Biblical Illiteracy Among Us"

These [Berean's] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind [all eagerness], and searched [examining] the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  - Acts 17:11

Daniel Wallace states: "…The intentional dumbing down of the church for the sake of filling more pews will ultimately lead to defection from Christ (2006:337).

Allistair Begg states: "People do not know their Bibles. In an earlier generation the average 13-year-old or 14-year-old certainly in Scotland would have a far greater grasp of biblical parameters of truth than the average graduate from an American seminary today".

Al Mohler:  The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.

C.H. Spurgeon: If you wish to know God you must know his word; if you wish to perceive his power you must see how he worketh by his word; if you wish to know his purpose before it is actually brought to pass you can only discover it by his word. 1607.377

Have you ever said or heard people say the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves,”. Really give me chapter and verse, it's not in the Bible!  When asked 82 percent of Americans, said it was a Bible verse. Sadly, those who those identified themselves as born-again Christians did better–by one percent.  [83% - Sad]

That was my introduction. 

Today I was inspired and felt grieved enough to write on the subject of "Biblical Illiteracy." The final straw, so to speak, was reading some responses to someone's Bible questions to a Christian group on Facebook.  In many ways this group thinks they are so "on the mark" of Christianity.  I was saddened as most of their answers to the Bible questions were general, philosophical, and relational, but not Biblical.  

 Spurgeon said it so well: "Men talk about building upon Christ, and not upon the Scriptures; but they know not what they say; for our Lord continually established his own claims by appealing to Moses and the prophets. They would be Christo-centric, they say: I only wish they would. But if they take Christ for a centre, they will inevitably have the Scriptures for a centre too; and these men neither want the one nor the other. 2212.364

As I talk about "Biblical illiteracy," I am not talking about having to memorize the entire Bible, though memorizing is a very good and profitable.  I am also not talking about us all being Biblical scholars, although the Bible does say, "…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:– I Peter 3:15.

I'm a pastor-teacher with a humble intelligence, so everything doesn't come easy for me, I have to study a lot, and I still forget things; but I don't use that as an excuse for being Biblically ignorant (illiterate).  You or I may not be able to rattle off scriptures on every subject, but how about an overall understanding of the Bible and the doctrines (what the Bible teaches). 

I really cringe at the answers you get in the "church" and "born-again" crowd when you ask, "how do you know you are saved or are a child of God?"  Especially, of the younger generations, usually they hem and haw and give some really weak answer.  I don't want to give them the nth degree (well I sort of do), but most don't have a clue what "salvation" is!!!  If they are saved, and some may be, it is in spite of their ignorance.  It is still scary, sad, and sickening how few really understand God, salvation, and THE BIBLE! 

I personally say I was saved June 21, 1975, because that was when I gave my life to the Lord, though I didn't really "understand" Biblically what was happening to me. I simply (and amazingly) believed in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  Immediately following I was so hungry to learn more about Jesus, so I turned to the Bible and read, and read, and read. Also, the Lord provided a very knowledgeable Christian brother (at a distance, and this was before e-mails existed).  I would write questions and wait for his answers, which were always full of scriptures.  I still have many of those letters 35 years later, and I thank God for putting this Christian Bible literate man in my path.  Then, in more recent years in the 1990's I met a very Bible literate brother/minister that I can always throw questions to, on top of my own studying for answers, and not as a replacement for my own studying, "…to see if these things be so"  Acts 17:11 

While there is a famine of God's Word out there, there is hope for anyone to grow in the Lord.  If you really want to learn the things of God, in addition to your own study time in the Bible, there are spiritual Bible literate people to help (you may have to search and pray to find them).     

This is a little bit of my heart on a big and serious problem in the church of the 21st Century.

Below are some passages for you and me to ponder, meditate, study, memorize, think on, and let God use to change our lives and help us to value God's Word to the utmost!

Study [be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [handling accurately] the word of truth.  - 2 Timothy 2:15

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.   - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Thanks for listening, and may you grow in the Lord as you build on the solid foundation of God's Word (the Bible).

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Lord bless you all as you seek to serve God for His glory alone :-)