The Problem of Illiteracy
None of us would argue that it is okay
for someone to spend their lives unable to read or write. We understand the
challenges that being illiterate present for a person. Studies have shown that
those who are unable to read or write generally have lower paying jobs, more
periods of unemployment, lower self-esteem, greater instances of generational poverty,
and a lower quality of life and health.
The power of literacy has long been known and understood. For this very reason, slaves in the United States were forbidden to learn to read or write and anyone helping them to do so could be criminally prosecuted. Knowledge is power and if you want to remain in power, you will keep others from gaining access through literacy.
We understand these truths and want our children to learn these important skills. We want them to be able to learn and grow and engage society empowered by knowledge. We give them access to education and to books, and other sources of knowledge so they can get ahead in life and not be taken advantage of due to ignorance. Why then do we forget this truth when it comes to our spiritual lives?
A Lifeway Resources Survey revealed
that among evangelical believers who attend church regularly, only 1 in 5 said
they read their Bible daily. Less than half read it more than once a week. 40%
said that they read it maybe once or twice a month. Again, 1 in 5, said they
never read it.
For the Church, Biblical illiteracy is a big problem. It is no wonder that the Church is beginning to leave behind Biblical truth and to be swept away by a rising tide of cultural moral relevance. The truth is that just as illiteracy leads to a poverty and struggle, and keeps people in bondage, Biblical illiteracy has the same effect on a person’s spiritual life. People who don’t know and read their Bibles will be spiritually poor, ignorant, and slaves to the spiritually evil powers of this world.
The Bible reveals God and His will to us. In its pages, we read words of truth that bring life and freedom. The Bible contains all we need to grow in the knowledge and grace of God. We are promised that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth as we read and consider God’s word. We will be able to test the messages of the world around us to see if they are from God or the enemy. The
Bible contains words of life.
Take a moment to consider your literacy level. Where are you in regard to Biblical literacy?
We have more options and opportunities than ever before to read, study, learn, and live the Word of God. And yet, we take so little advantage of the abundance of resources we have. Meanwhile, there are people around the world today who desire to have access to the Bible, but who are prevented by law and other barriers from having it. In the past, many men and women have literally given their lives so that people can have access to the Bible in their own language. They believed that it was worth trading their lives so that others could hold the Gospel in their hands and receive its blessings.
May we, as a church, grow in our desire
for the knowledge, truth, and grace that comes through God’s Word. May we not
take for granted the access we have, but take advantage of it to grow in
spiritual strength, wisdom, knowledge and be equipped for every good work.