The Loss of Simple Bible Reading

John ArmstrongRenewal

I cease to be amazed at how few Christians actually read their Bible. It is no longer read in the Church or the home, or at least not read often or well.

I received a kind letter from a lady this week who is a reader of our theological quaterly, the Reformation & Revival Journal. She laments the absence (and silence) of the Scripture in her evangelical church. It is assumed, she notes, but not read. The children, she writes, are biblical illiterates, learning little moral lessons, and therapeutically oriented helpful insights, without much biblical foundation. The adults prefer pablum and easy lessons to hard thought. She further laments that even pastors are now doing their Bible study with computer technologies that lead them to do simplistic word studies which lead to proof texting and distortion. Our of this context pastors (she cites real life examples) are giving the results of this type of work to their flocks.

For nearly twenty years I have watched Bible reading steadily decline in America. The evidence is clear. Churches no longer read texts from the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Epistles each week. It takes too much time. Seeker churches downplayed Bible reading (and other such ritual). Most church services have to get in and out in not much more than sixty minutes. There is, therefore, very little time for things like reading. The fruit of this direction now spills over into most all churches that are non-liturgical. Evangelical educational curricula has increasingly moved away from seeking to make sure that students know the Scriptures well. And most families have little or no time for public Bible reading at meals. The result is that we have more and more Bibles to read and spend less and less time reading them. The results of this shift are immense. The outcome will only lead to the kind of darkness that preceded the sixteenth century awakening to the Word of God.

What good is having a Bible (or many Bibles) if you do not read it (them)?