A few years ago I attended a conference at which influential Christian pastor and author Francis Chan was speaking. His topic was Mormonism, and one particular point he made – accompanied by one particular action – left quite the impression on me.
Mr. Chan held his Bible high above his head and proclaimed: “You can’t read this” – referring to his Bible – “and still believe this” (he pointed to his outline notes on Mormonism).
He was right! No one who reads their Bible consistently should ever be swayed by the claims of false religions. Mr. Chan’s assertion is not only accurate regarding Mormonism, but for all things opposing clear biblical teaching.
Christians who consistently read their Bibles should be able to withstand any false teaching they encounter. The problem, however, is that a large swathe of Christians rarely read their Bibles consistently and are almost as biblically ignorant as the unsaved.
Biblical ignorance – an offshoot of biblical negligence – is Christianity’s worst scourge.
A Terrible Commentary According to Lifeway Research:
• 30 percent of “Bible readers” only scan several passages or stories.
• 15 percent have read at least half of the Bible during their lifetime.
• 13 percent have only read a few sentences.
• 12 percent have almost read all of it.
• 11 percent have read all of it.
• 10 percent have read none of it.
• 9 percent have read all of it more than once.
In other words, 32 percent of those surveyed are consistent Bible readers, which is encouraging. What is discouraging is that 68 percent aren’t, and this is a terrible commentary on the state of modern Christianity.
The Bible is the lifeblood of the Christian walk. It is through His Word that God reveals Himself to us. Of course prayer is crucial in nurturing a relationship with Christ, but the Bible is what we need to equip us to endure this dark, anti-God world.
To neglect the Bible is to repel God. To neglect the Bible is to embrace ignorance. To neglect the Bible is to fall prey to all manner of errant teaching and doctrine. To neglect the Bible is to embrace humanistic thought and philosophy, a sure recipe for moral disaster.
Enough Blame There is enough blame to go around, beginning with pastors and teachers. When I accepted Christ into my life in 1986, I attended a church whose catchphrase was, “Feed Yourself.” This means that yes, those in the pulpit will do their best to teach you what they can during their limited time on Sundays, but it is up to each individual to be studying and reading the Bible for themselves.
I wish more pastors and teachers were this persistent. Most of the churches I attended since then of course were proponents of God’s people reading God’s Word, but they were not vocal about it. Pastors and teachers should be aggressively encouraging the flock to be in the Word. It should be an unwavering part of their sermons week in and week out.
Ultimately, however, being consistent Bible readers is the responsibility of the believer. True Christians should not have to be “talked into” reading their Bibles daily; it should be as big a part of their lives as breathing and eating.
Believers should love their Bibles; desire their Bibles; and crave to thoroughly know their Bibles. To know the Bible is to know God. To neglect the Bible is to neglect God.
Time Getting Short Time is getting short. The return of Christ is drawing near, and Satan is marshaling his demonic forces to battle God’s people. If believers are to withstand his assaults and weather his fury, we must be equipped. The Bible – with prayer – is our most valuable weapon of spiritual warfare, and we must learn to wield it with accuracy, confidence, intelligence, and love.
May God’s Word go before us as we navigate the momentous days ahead!
#Outreach: That the world may know
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