Series - Biblical Illit

Biblical Literacy, Part 3

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The Individual

The church alone cannot develop disciples. Individual believers must take responsibility for their own spiritual growth. We can and should provide as many “nets” as possible to aid in our people’s maturity, but the believer must step up and take advantage of these nets, as well as develop and work a plan for personal Bible reading and study. I have found over the years that most people who really know Christ want to spend time in the Word, but many lack a structure to adequately help them be successful.

Nagging and making people feel guilty are not good motivators, so we seek to be more constructive in helping them desire to be students of the Scriptures.

Toward that end we …

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Biblical Literacy, Part 2

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The Church

The central purpose of the church is to exalt Christ. We do that through evangelism, worship, fellowship, prayer and in general, making disciples (Acts 2:42-43). The primary means by which disciples are made is through the transforming power of the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit uses the inspired Word to change lives (Rom 12:1-2). Therefore, it is vital that the local church provide a variety of means by which the life-changing truth of God’s Word is taught and applied to God’s people.

At this point I want to discuss specific means by which the Word of God can be taught in the church setting and conclude with some comments about personal study. I have to say that as a pastor of the same church for over four decades there is nothing that is on my mind more frequently than how to communicate God’s Word to His people in such a way that it transforms lives. I often wake up at night thinking of a family or individual who is not doing well spiritually, praying for ways that they might be reached with the truth of God’s Word.

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Biblical Literacy, Part 1

From Think on These Things, March 2017; used with permission.

I concluded my article titled “Biblical Illiteracy” with these words:

Biblical illiteracy is well recognized today. There are many reasons why not only the general population but also the evangelical church has little understanding and knowledge of Scripture, and I have tried to identify some of these in the body of this article. With all of the attacks on the trustworthiness of Scripture, coupled with general lack of biblical knowledge and apathy toward what it proclaims, it would be easy to despair for the future of the Scriptures.

But God’s Word always accomplishes that which it is sent forth by the Lord to accomplish (Isa 55:1) which is to teach, reprove, correct and train His people in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). We have the promise of Jesus that His Word will never pass away (Matt 24:35). Rather than despair we should make every effort to pass along the Lord’s truth to the next generation (Deut 6:4-9; Psalm 145:4). At this point we need to consider some means to do so. What can we personally, and corporately as the church, do to address the issue of biblical illiteracy?

It is to this subject we now turn.

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The Tragedy of Biblical Illiteracy, Part 2

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National Study of Youth & Religion

The bad news does not end with LifeWay’s latest survey. Considered the most comprehensive study on the religious views of teenagers ever conducted, a four year effort led by Christian Smith called the National Study of Youth and Religion in 2005 determined that the majority of American teens believe in God and worship in conventional congregations, but their religious knowledge is remarkably shallow, and they have a tough time expressing the difference that faith makes in their lives.

Though the phone survey depicted broad affinity with religion, the face-to-face interviews found that many teens’ religious knowledge was “meager, nebulous and often fallacious” and engagement with the substance of their traditions remarkably shallow. Most seemed hard put to express coherently their beliefs and what difference they make.

Many were so detached from the traditions of their faith, says the report, that they’re virtually following a different creed in which an undemanding God exists mostly to solve problems and make people feel good. Truth in any absolute, theological sense, takes a back seat.

“God is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist” who’s on call as needed.1

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The Tragedy of Biblical Illiteracy, Part 1

From Think on These Things, Feb. 2017; used with permission.

Both statistical research and anecdotal observation come to the same conclusion—America, a nation once steeped in Scripture if not always living in obedience to God, has joined the ranks of the biblically illiterate from around the globe. Both theologians and sociologists speak of our “post-Christian” culture, which, while still being fueled to some extent by the capital of Christianity, is now all but coasting on empty.

Albert Mohler, in a short article entitled “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” quotes pollsters George Gallup and Jim Castelli as saying, “Americans revere the Bible—but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”1 As a result, Mohler documents that fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels, identify more than 3 disciples or name even five of the Ten Commandments. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is in the Bible.

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