The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

I came across an article written by R. Albert Mohler.  It’s about the growing problem of biblical illiteracy in America.  Shocking!  At the end of Dr. Mohler’s article I remind us of the power of God’s Word in the life of God’s people.

“The Nature of Our Problem

While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.

Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”

Scary Statistics

How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.

According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm.

Here is the bottom line.  “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”  [see Barna Group’s web site]

Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.

Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.

The Problem Isn’t Secular America

Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible. As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.

The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.

This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course.

Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.]

Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.”

Testimony of Scripture

The Testimony of Scripture should stir us up to be people of The Word.  In Matthew 4:4, when Jesus was in His wilderness temptation he said to the Devil, “Man Shall not live by bread alone…

Moses told the people of God in Deuteronomy 32:46, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.  For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.

God commanded Joshua in Joshua 1:7-9, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right or left that you may have good success wherever you go.  This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”

The Psalmist said these words in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

In Psalm 119:11 we read, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

James 1:21 writes, “Receive the Word implanted which is able to save your souls.

Then we read in Ephesians 6:17, “And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Listen to Great Quotes

God’s Word alone tethers us to God’s reality.

The Word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”–Billy Graham

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” –George Washington

I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.” –Abraham Lincoln

Enjoy God’s Word.  Feast on God’s Word.  Be blessed by God’s Word.

by Warren Coe

Article quoted: The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s our problem by Albert Mohler found on

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

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