Advocating for Biblical Literacy

I just returned from a weekend in Philadelphia where I spent two days with individuals and organizations laboring to counter a dangerous pandemic. No, not that pandemic…. I’m talking about the pandemic of biblical illiteracy. I enjoyed numerous conversations with some really dedicated Christians who are on a mission to address a pandemic that ultimately may prove more dangerous than the other pandemic. I am speaking, of course, of the pandemic of multitudes of modern Christians who claim to love the Bible, but whose Bible engagement is so shallow that it has little impact on their lives. I think we can all agree that the time and energy that many contemporary Christians put into engaging with the Bible is not adequate to fundamentally change the way they think, act, and love.

The reason I got invited to this gathering is because of my own involvement—along with many other creative people—in developing Bible Fluency, a program that employs songs, images, personal study, and classes to help people learn how to mentally map their way through the Bible. For many years, I have been agitating for Bible engagement by writing books, articles, and several blog posts about Scripture memory, interpretation, translations, and the need for a revival of the Bible. But I’m certainly not alone in the quest to address biblical disengagement; and it was encouraging to be in the same room with others who share a passion for God’s Word, a vision to help God’s people learn and be transformed by the Bible, and an obvious commitment to follow through on their various roles in addressing this crisis.

But today I decided to write this post for one reason—and one reason alone. I want to invite you to help turn the tide away from biblical illiteracy in our generation. Consequently, I want to invite you—that’s right, you personally—to be part of a wave of people who care enough about this increasing problem (yes, pandemic) that you will commit before the Lord to do three things:

  1. Be an example of someone who daily and consistently engages with the Bible—reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating upon it. People alter their actions when they know someone who models change.
  2. Talk about the importance of regular Bible interaction with every Christian you know (plus any non-Christians you know who are interested in the Bible—and some still are). Whatever platform is yours from which to speak, whether with individuals or congregations, then speak about how central the Bible is in your life and in the life of all Christians. Whatever platform you use for writing, whether you blog, write (gracious) comments on social media, text personal notes to friends, or compose personal letters using pen and paper, then seek winsomely to advocate for more Scriptural engagement.
  3. Pray that our merciful God would pour out his Spirit, and that we would see a revival of love and commitmentto his written Word. Pray for a change in the spiritual atmosphere, for a removal of spiritual lethargy, and for a deeper commitment to God’s Word to emerge in our own generation.

If only God’s people would love God so much that they would cherish his Word, not the way people cherish a refurbished antique car that they store in a garage, but more the way car-lovers climb into a powerful convertible, retract the rooftop, put the gas pedal to the floor, and revel in the thrill of the wind. Would that our engagement with the Bible looked nothing like the office worker who skims through a corporate memo only to ascertain a meeting time, but rather would be more like a lover who has received a handwritten letter from his or her beloved, scouring it again and again to understand every nuance in the words on the page.

Will you internally commit to talking, writing, and, most importantly, being an example of a man or woman of God who personally learns, loves, and lives out God’s Word? Can we together commit ourselves to try to turn the tide of a generation of distracted Christians struggling to truly value the only written source of ultimate truth, the Eternal Word of God?

It’s time for a quiet revolution of Christians who read the Bible themselves—day and night—who also remind their brothers and sisters everywhere to do the same. It’s time. Don’t you think it’s about time?

One thought on “Advocating for Biblical Literacy

  1. I agree, and some of that responsibility lays on the pastor/ministerial end – too often the man at the pulpit leading his congregation doesn’t feed his people from the OT and people are vaguely familiar with the Psalms or Proverbs, but not the rest of the Old Testament stories. Most evangelicals concentrate on the New.

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