Bible illiteracy, a lack of knowledge or ignorance of Scriptures, is happening in our very churches today. There are churchgoers and practicing Christians who are Bible illiterate.
A 2017 research conducted by Lifeway in Christian churches across America possibly yields similar results across other countries. Among those surveyed, only 19% read their Bibles regularly. 18% of the respondents read their Bibles rarely or never. 14% do it once a week and 22% do it once a month.
This is a sad fact and a highly concerning problem. Biblical understanding is foundational to genuine faith and growth in the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 10:17 clearly states that faith comes by hearing the message of the Word. 2 Timothy 3:15 teaches us that in knowing Scriptures we become wise unto salvation and the faith life. A shallow grasp of Biblical knowledge will definitely lead to shallow faith. If one fails to grow in the Word, one will have great difficulties navigating the faith life and one would hardly know God.
The Causes of Bible Illiteracy
Preaching and teaching ministers who are lazy
The number of weekly church gatherings vary. Some churches have multiple Sunday services plus weekday ones. Others have single or double Sunday services and no weekday meetings. That Christians meet only once or a few times a week shows how crucial the preaching and teaching of the Word is. Ministers should be driven to make sufficient preparations in the delivery of the Word. The personal study and development of preaching and teaching material should be carefully crafted. One should do a word study, a context and historical study, and the like. These procedures help one fully understand the thought and purpose of Scripture passages. These help one avoid speaking personal viewpoints that may not be in agreement with what God actually has to say.
Readers of this article may have their own experiences of listening to a lazy teacher or preacher who:
- was unclear or made little sense, meaning, he did not seem to have prepared for the message,
- had little Biblical content,
- had lots of personal stories and opinions,
- repeated previous messages and themes with no new study imparted,
- shared personal or conflicting views with little or no Biblical basis
- and more.
Leaders (Pastors, Preachers, Teachers) who lack qualification or training.
At times, the minister is zealous and diligent. However, he got into preaching and teaching too early. This may be because of need or impulsive desire. A passionate preacher and teacher should make himself accountable and be responsible enough to pursue further training and gain qualifications so that he can be a better handler and deliverer of God’s Word.
Congregants who are lazy.
Christians should know by now that we are to be responsible for our own growth in the faith. Sunday feeding will not sustain you in your Christian walk. You must open the pages of the Holy Book yourself. Reading God’s Word is essential to knowing more of Him and His purposes for your life. Reading God’s Word is also essential to making sure that you can discern right teaching from a wrong one.
Churches that prioritize political correctness.
The Bible is never politically correct. Its truths are plain. Its stand on issues is simple. God weighs issues according to rightness or wrongness. The Bible is not a people pleaser. The Bible is not a pacifier. God deals with issues directly for it is the only way to bring full resolution and understanding.
When churches shrink from their responsibility to be a light in this fallen world, Biblical illiteracy will settle in. Instead of preaching and living the Word of God in its entirety, censorship comes in. Instead of having boldness to correct sin and error, tolerance and acceptance of wrongdoing prevails. The focus will become all about loving people in the wrong way. True love needs proper rebuke and loving guidance. Else, it is not a helpful kind of love.