Focal Passages: Psalm 119: 1-8, 137-144
A lot of people say they value the Bible, but valuing it does not mean they know what’s in it. Nor does it mean they have structured their lives according to its truths. In a sermon illustration, Paul Carson, quoted George Barna who conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians’ knowledge of the Bible, and here’s what he found:
- 48 percent could not name the four Gospels.
- 52 percent cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
- 60 percent can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
- 61 percent think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
- 71 percent think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
Barna went on to say, “Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”
These statistics, although older now, still reflect, I believe, the current condition of many believers in America. Perhaps as equally sad, there are Christians who have a firm knowledge of the Bible, but are not applying that knowledge to their lives.
Could you imagine having a choice of the finest foods or table crumbs every day and you choose to eat the table crumbs? In a similar way, many Christians neglect God’s very best when they don’t read and obey the scriptures. Instead, they settle for spiritual crumbs the world offers and consequently live defeated lives.
With that in mind, there are numerous ways to demonstrate that the Bible is reliable and true, but perhaps what the skeptic needs more than anything is for Christians to back up what they believe by the way they live.
A great place to start your journey is Psalm 119:11, which says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (ESV). Challenge yourself to memorize one scripture verse per week and do what it says.