There is an alarming trend occurring, according to a 2017 Barna poll, indicating a decline in not only Bible reading, but also in believing it to be either the literal or inspired word of God. At the time of the poll, only 20% of people polled believed the Bible to be the literal or inspired word of God and read, used, listened to the Bible 4 times a week or more. The percentage of pollsters who believe the same, but engaged with the Bible less than 4 times a week was a mere 38%. If we were looking at a cross-section of the general American public, this may not seem so bad…may even look promising. However, Barna Group’s demographic is Christians and Christian churches. So, why are so few Christians reading their Bibles? And what exactly are the implications of this, individually, corporately and culturally?
In our consumer-driven, social-media-addicted society, we have become extremely accustomed to quick, small bits of information being spoon-fed to us in rapid succession. There is no time to chew on and swallow a bite before the next one comes. Also in 2017, digital marketing analysts estimated that most Americans are being exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day! It’s a fair assumption…given that the goal of advertising is to entice you to purchase things you likely don’t need…that the vast majority of these messages are for worldly things that have little to no spiritual, or lasting value. But this isn’t limited to just advertising. We also get snippets of news, 140 word tweets, Facebook memes, Instagram photos, snapchats, etc.
In response to his first temptation from satan (Matt. 4:3-4) Jesus said that we cannot live on bread (physical food) alone, but also on every word that comes from the mouth of God. In other words, we should be feasting on the Word! The way Jesus repeatedly defeated satan in the wilderness was by quoting scripture. With every rebuke, He said “it is written”. How in the world are we going to effectively overcome this same adversary if we don’t know what the Word says? How will we know what to watch for in these last days? How will we know how to live lives pleasing to Him? How will we learn to spot the lies of the enemy, and renew our minds, if we aren’t aware of the truths contained in the pages of the Bible? How will we combat the overwhelming messages of this world? We desperately need daily consumption of His word and not just quick snippets up on a church screen once or twice a week! Matthew 24:24 says that in the last days MANY will be led astray, if possible, even the elect! We are in a very critical time of needing to know what is written as it always relevant (Luke 16:16-17) and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The word is our offensive weapon that we take up after we have put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17).
Hebrews 4:12 (NASB) – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
We have a very real enemy who is seeking to devour anyone he can. We must be able to defend ourselves with the truth of God’s word! Read the word, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, hide it in your heart so you will have it when you need it. Let the voice of God be louder than the messages of the world. Luke 6:45 says “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. What are we going to choose to fill our hearts with? Will we choose to fill up on all the junk food the world offers us, or will we choose to eat the Bread of Life?