While I don't always agree with the church market trends that follow George Barna's surveys, I do enjoy looking at the statistics that the group throws at us. One survey showed that, in a typical week, 22% of evangelical Christians (Understand that "evangelical Christians" are an entirely different demographic than "professing Christians") do not read the Bible at all. Another thirty percent read it only once or twice a week. The reason? People say regular Bible reading just doesn't fit into their busy schedules and that they don't have a good "reading plan." And well over 50% say that the Bible is not relevant to today's world!
It's easy to understand why we let others tell us what the Bible has to say. Oh, how sad! When Christians would rather go to a best-selling Christian book or to a blog or to a radio preacher rather than to the Bible itself, we cease to be followers of Christ and commence being followers of Whomever.
Even church members are lacking the skills, confidence, and the incentive to read the Bible as a daily guide for life. A few months ago, I sat in the adult Sunday school class at our church. Those present were discussing some political topics including abortion. While several people made mention of the "Christian" view in support of their particular perspective, no one actually opened God's Word and read what was there. In this case and others like it, Sunday School sessions are simply "Christians discussing" rather than being "Christian discussions."
Here's a challenge: Read the Bible today with a sense of expectancy. Many Christians have let the Bible become too commonplace. We hear Biblical passages all the time: In church, in Sunday school, in Bible-study, over Christian radio. . . we hear Scripture so often that we have a strong tendency to be without reverent ears --- and we do not engage our minds. God's Word disintegrates into merely words. Every time we come to a passage of scripture, or hear a passage of Scripture no matter how familiar, we should sense that a new insight or new idea may be waiting for us. Rather than coming to well-read passages and thinking "I know what this is all about," a Christian who truly wants to grow will come seeking fresh understandings of God's revelation.
"Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who
. . . correctly handles the word of truth"
- 2 Timothy 2:15
Does God's Word fit into your schedule today? Is God's Word relevant to your life today? Do you have a Bible Reading Plan?
Do you have the incentive to see what God -- through His Word - can reveal to you today?
- Esthermay Bentley-Goossen