In just one year’s time, more than 45 million American adults have become disengaged from the Bible, according to the American Bible Society’s latest State of the Bible report.
Scripture Engagement is at “a historic low in America,” the group states, with a mere 19 percent of American adults consistently interacting with the Bible in a way that “shapes a person’s choices and transforms their relationships with God, self, and others.”
The survey found that “the Bible Disengaged category grew by 45.2 million adults in a single year. This is the single largest disruption in Scripture Engagement ever recorded in the 12 years of conducting the State of the Bible survey.”
Additionally, the group states, “Bible Users” now comprise only 39 percent of American adults. In the past year, a stunning 26 million Americans have either decreased their time reading the Bible or stopped reading it altogether.
Although depressing to read, these numbers aren’t really a surprise. Pandemic-anxious 2021 was ripe for a religious spasm or two, in the same way that Sept. 11-anxious 2001 was. Remember that time? Many people hopefully thought that Americans would turn to the Lord in droves, after Islamic terrorists pulled off an unprecedented deadly attack on our country. For a few weeks after the attack, the church-attendance numbers did go up. But once the initial shock of Sept. 11 wore off, so did a lot of Americans’ tepid interest in God.
The pandemic offered another one of those moments — “America is shaken like never before! Surely, people will return to God this time!” — and now we see that it was just another religious spasm, a temporary turning to the Bible to alleviate anxiety and fear.
I’m shocked every day to see how many pundits and average people alike can accurately lament the moral sewer or spiraling political catastrophe that our nation is experiencing, and yet never make any mention of God or the Bible whatsoever. It’s like their brains and hearts are so darkened at this point that they don’t even know that there is such a thing as Light.
Yet doesn’t that point out an incredible irony? Of all the times in history when Americans most needed both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the objective corrective the Bible brings to all their confused, immoral and spiritually disastrous thinking, they’re turning away from God’s Word?
And think about it: If the politically and somewhat morally astute secularists can’t even grasp their lostness, what are we to think about the millions of Americans who can’t even grasp basic, taken-for-granted truths anymore? We’ve had a front-row seat to the musings of the insane over the past few years — people who think police departments, nuclear families and American energy production are bad ideas, while open borders, LGBT child-grooming, politically motivated censorship and communism are good ideas. These people won’t even say that there are only two sexes, for crying out loud! These are the same types who are all in favor of putting a woman on the U.S. Supreme Court who says she doesn’t even know what a woman is.
All of this madness is having an effect on God’s people, too. A lot of Christians look at the breakdown of seemingly everything and are worried, anxious and downright scared at what may be coming down the pike for our families and for our nation. Concern is definitely warranted.
But here’s the irony for us: Millions of professing Christians aren’t reading the Bible, either, nor do they have a biblical worldview. George Barna’s been reporting on that for years. That’s pathetic. No, that is disastrous! As Kelly Willard once sang, “Christians with no time for Jesus? Tell me, how can this be true? We’ve all laid aside our First Love. Oh, what are we going to do?”
What difference would it make if we did read and study God’s Word every day? Certainly, we would gain the knowledge and wisdom of God like never before and grow in fellowship with the Lord and in faith and godliness.
Romans 12:2 also reminds us that staying in the Word transforms us by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are renewed when we remember the Lord’s mighty acts for His people throughout human history. Our minds are renewed when we remember His promises and how He has kept every single one of them. Our minds are renewed when we remember that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself confirmed the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. So studying God’s Word, among other things, helps us to stop panicking about the present. How can we panic when our minds are renewed in the truth that the Lord is solidly in charge of His world, in every way, and that the promises that lie ahead for us will all come true? We can’t panic when we remember that we can trust Him utterly, because He is utterly worthy of that trust.
Yes, there are many crises afoot in this country. I don’t know how long God will remain patient with an unrepentant nation like ours. He may yet send us revival, by His grace and mercy. He may not. What I do know is that the Lord knows and controls absolutely everything. I also know that His plan for His world, His church and each individual child of God will never be thwarted. Therefore, His plans cannot be changed one whit by what President Biden and his radical progressives, or the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab and his elitist Great Reset cronies, will do. Yes, He really is causing “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) The nations are plotting. But God is reigning!
Moreover, have we so quickly forgotten what is to come? Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, we need not fear death, because we will inherit eternal life. Those who die in Christ will be resurrected. We will inhabit the rooms that Christ Himself has prepared for us in His Father’s house. The nations will be judged in righteousness. Satan will be bound and thrown into the lake of fire, where he will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). And there will be a new heaven and a new earth, without any more tears, pain or death. “There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:3-5)
Why wouldn’t we want to be reminded of these things every single day? Because of Jesus, there is only a glorious future for us! We win in the end, saints. WE WIN IN THE END!
We will remember all these truths, and benefit from them in very practical ways, and refuse to panic, only if we stay in the Word regularly.
Let’s do a little experiment. Ask yourself, after reading the following Bible verses, “Do I feel better or worse about the state of this world after considering the greatness of my Lord and Savior?” Here are just a few reminders of how truly wonderful and perfect and powerful He actually is:
He is our everlasting Creator God. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28
He is holy, holy, holy. “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.’” Rev. 4:8
He is Love. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? … Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8
He is Just. “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and just is He.” Deut. 32:4
He is Trustworthy. “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; help us, Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You.’” 2 Chron. 14:11
He is our Rock. “My salvation and my glory rest on God; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.” Psalm 62:7
He is our Foundation. “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11
He is our Provider. “And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” Gen. 22:14
He is our Strength. “The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like deer’s feet, And has me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:19
He is our Hope. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope …” 1 Tim. 1:1
He is our Peace. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:20
He is our Confidence. “For You are my hope; Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.” Psalm 71:5
He is our Refuge. “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is refined; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” 2 Sam. 22:31
He is God with Us. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
He is our Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
He is our Sacrifice. “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12
He is our Salvation. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
He is risen indeed! “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.'” John 11:25
He is our Great High Priest. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4: 14-16
He is Lord of lords and King of kings. “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Rev. 17:14
He is coming again! “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:13-18
The Lord is so wonderful! How can we fail to praise Him? How can we be mired in worry or fear or anxiety when confronted with the reality of His majesty? No wonder David declared in Psalm 145:
“I will exalt You, my God, the King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will praise Your works to another,
And will declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.”
There is obviously much more to read, to ponder, to know and to believe about the character and mighty works of our Triune God in the pages of His holy Word. But we’ll only get the benefit if we make Bible reading and Bible study a daily priority. Besides, how can Christians ever be the salt and light our nation needs, and how can we ever demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus Christ in a forgiven sinner’s life, if we’re spiritually starving ourselves?
Thanks for reading this post. Now, please, I beg of you … go read your Bible!