According to American Bible Society surveys, the number of Americans who read their Bibles is dropping dramatically. From 2011 to 2021, roughly 50-percent of Americans reported opening Scripture at least three times a year every year during that period. But, last year that number dropped to 39-percent. In other words, in the middle of domestic threats to this country’s democracy, threats of nuclear war in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, record inflation, and unprecedented gun violence, about 26-million Americans stopped reading the Bible.
Of the 39-percent who reported reading the Bible at least three times last year, only 27-percent read the Bible in print — a real Bible with two covers and paper pages that turn and crinkle. Nineteen-percent reported reading the Bible on an app on their phones, 18-percent online, and the other 11-percent listen to the Word on a podcast.
I find that data to be disturbing.
I’m also troubled to see new Ipsos research that shows Christians don’t know the teachings of our Lord. In response to the question, “Did Jesus teach people to turn the other cheek?” less than half of those who claim to follow Jesus said, “Yes.”
Evangelicals – 49%
Catholics – 29%
Mainline Protestants – 40%
Other Protestants – 51%
Those of us in the Churches of Christ would fit into that “other protestants” category so, yay, we win with just barely half of us knowing one of our Lord’s most fundamental teachings.
Please read the Bible. Please schedule the time every single day to read God’s Word. Please read it out loud in your home with your children and grandchildren. Be transformed by the holy words of Scripture. Let the ancient words sink into your soul and become a part of you. We are rapidly becoming biblically and doctrinally illiterate. We’re not sure what we believe and we certainly don’t know how to articulate it. Our God has saved us in Christ Jesus and called us to obey all that he commanded and to teach others all that he commanded. How are we going to live into that when we don’t read the Bible?
The waterfall at Eagle Creek has evidently dried up for the season. My two mile hike to the site and back wasn’t without its pleasures — a mama deer and her two little spotted fawns, dozens of tiny and very colorful song birds whipping through the trees and brush, squirrels and some kind of chipmunk-ish things scurrying around. But I wanted to see the waterfall. Another time, maybe.
Today, I’m reading the Gospel of John out loud and trying to finish a manuscript I’ve been working on for almost four years. I had intended to also read Timothy Keller’s “Forgive” while I was in Ruidoso this week, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to it.