Reading is Fundamental

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“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” – Moliere
The Barna Group has published a new survey entitled, “The Bible in America: 6 Year Trends.” It offers some very interesting information. Here is the link: https://www.barna.org/research/faith-christianity/research-release/the-bible-in-america-6-year-trends#.V20-Uo-cHVI.
Over 5 Billion copies of the Bible have been sold, it is the earth’s most read book. About 70% of Americans claim to be Christians. Keep that in mind as we look at three of the questions from the Barna survey.
  1. “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.”
    • Agree Strongly – 33%
    • Agree Somewhat – 25%
    • Disagree Somewhat – 19%
    • Disagree Strongly – 23%
  2. “Which of the following statements comes closest to describing what you believe about the Bible?
    • Actual word of God and should be taken literally, word for word – 22%
    • Inspired word of God, no errors, some verses symbolic – 30%
    • Inspired word of God, has some factual or historical errors – 16%
    • Not inspired, tells how writers understood the ways and principles of God – 9%
    • Just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice – 15%
  3. “How often, if ever, do you actually read the Bible, not including times when you are at a church service or church event?
    • Never – 27%
    • Less than once a year – 14%
    • Once or twice a year – 9%
    • 3 to 4 times a year – 8%
    • Once a month – 7%
    • Once a week – 8%
    • Several times/4+ times a week  14%
    • Every day – 13%
    • Not sure – 2%

Is it any wonder that the world and the church looks like it does? Almost half of the people surveyed think the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches. 40% believe that the Bible has errors, is uninspired or just another book. Maybe most shocking is that only 13% read the Bible every day and only 35% read it at least once a week away from church. The study states that Elders, us old people, are more likely to read the Bible and believe in its inspired accuracy, while Millennials, the hip, young crowd, are more likely to not read the Bible regularly or believe it is inspired.

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Now keep in mind, we live in a world where you don’t have to be “old school” and carry the Bible around in print form. We can carry the Bible on our phones, right along with our games, pictures and apps. According to Christian Today, as of December 14, 2015, the Bible had been downloaded over 202 million times.
It’s so easy, any knucklehead can download it to your phone. I am a living example! So when you can have it literally in the palm of your hand constantly, why don’t we read it more often? There is no excuse not to. Just watch people. We are constantly doing something on the phone. Constantly. Yet only 13% read God’s Word daily.
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”  C. G. Jung
I admit it, I’m old school and proud of it. I still carry the Bible around in print form. Now before you electronic Bible folks start wigging out, it’s just my preference. My choice. Nothing wrong with reading the Bible on the phone but is it really the same? For me there is something about the printed word and the wrinkled pages that make it special. But no matter how you read it, just read it. Maybe we need to steal the Nike slogan and start a “Just Read It” campaign.
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4 (NIV).
The “I don’t have time” excuse is just a load of garbage. We make time for what we want to make time for. We read and watch all kinds of stuff that have no spiritual value every day. How can someone who claims to be a follower of Christ not read God’s Word daily? If you are, you do; if you aren’t, you don’t.
Read God’s Word and run to the Cross!
Hugh
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