Your Bible and You
The American Bible Society conducts a survey every year regarding Bible use. This past month, the 2022 results were released, and, in their own words, there was “an unprecedented drop in the percentage of Bible Users in the United States.” According to their findings, nearly 26 million Americans reduced or stopped their interaction with Scripture in the past year. Scripture engagement is at a historic low in America, registering now at just 19% of American adults. 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. The oddity of all this is nearly half of American adults still agree that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life. Fewer than one-third disagree. The main reason given as to not spending time in Scripture was “I just don’t have enough time.” (https://get.bible/blog/post/state-of-the-bible-usa-2022-report-released-from-american-bible-society)
While time certainly seems to be at a premium in our society today, the truth is, time is really not the key element in not reading the Bible. Of the 24 hours every day provides, surely one can take some time to read from the Bible. if you read at 100 words per minute (which is way below the average), you can read the entire Bible once each year by reading for only 22 minutes per day. In just 6 minutes a day you can read the entire New Testament in a year. Obviously, time alone isn’t the reason for not reading the Bible every day. We waste more time than that each day skimming with the remote to watch something we typically may not even be interested in. Less time could be spent on social media and more productive time spent communicating with God. The variety of translations available that are faithful to the text and enable one to understand what is being read, with little cost to purchase, can aid one in knowing God’s word. It would seem, then, that desire, instead of time, is the key factor to avoiding reading the Bible.
In the time we have encouraged people to read the Bible through in a year, the numbers of participants continue to fall. In the time we have encouraged people to read at least one verse every day, the numbers also decline, and the numbers who actually spend such a short period of time doing so every day is disheartening. What happens when God’s word is absent from people’s minds and hearts? We see the fruit it bears in society in general, and the Lord’s church specifically. Without time in the word, we won’t know what God’s will is, and how it can be applied practically to our daily life situations. How can we be blessed if God isn’t an integral part of our existence? We have no objective source for making decisions in life, and the influence of a world lost in sin will ultimately makes its way into our thinking. Hosea said the people of his day were destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and the same is true of us today. God talk may continue, but the will of God is void in it, as the desires of the flesh supersede instead.
Paul reminded Timothy, “That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15), and that only Scripture “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Isn’t it time for us to make time for God’s word in our daily lives, to commit it to our hearts, and pray that God will guide us in His way through it? What a difference it will make in life, in society, in eternity. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18).
μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)