There is no question that the levels of Biblical literacy in Christian circles has dramatically decreased in recent decades. This alarming trend looks set to continue and there are many reasons for this as Kenneth Berding points out in his article – The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy.
In summary, Berding points to the following reasons for this:
- Misplaced Priorities
- Unwarranted overconfidence
- The pretext of being too busy
Whilst we completely agree with all of these, we would suggest there are some more factors that compound this. Firstly, there has been an aggressive attack (sometimes from within the church) on the authenticity of the Scriptures – this has led some to lose confidence in the Bible and as a result, are less inclined to regularly read it. Secondly, many churches are underplaying the importance of sound doctrine and replacing this with experience and entertainment-based services – this is a big mistake, is this what Jesus would have done? Thirdly, some churches are guilty of giving the impression that believers need academic training to best understand the Bible – this is very wrong and hugely damaging. The Bible means what it says and says what it means – ANY Spirit-filled Christian can open its pages and understand the text.
There is no need for special training or insight (John 16:13). Every individual has a responsibility to learn what God’s word says and be able to identify if the teaching from their church does not align with the true message – just like the Bereans in Thessalonica:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)
Unless these trends change, we see little reason to hope more will take the Bible seriously. We are warned in Scripture that this will be particular feature in the end times:
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)
For those of us who are serious about our faith, let’s also get serious about reading, studying and meditating on God’s Holy Word.