OK, OK, despite the title of this post, I fully admit that the vast majority of modern day Christian are biblically illiterate.
Most cannot name the books of the Bible or find Scripture verses when asked. Shockingly few know how many apostles there were, or how many plagues, and what the difference is between Noah and Moses, or John the Baptist and John the Apostle. Aside from some of these historical facts of Scripture, the vast majority have no clue about the major teachings of Scripture regarding the Gospel, the atonement, the church, the Trinity, or most of the other central doctrines of the Bible.
But guess what?
Biblical illiteracy is not a problem
I believe that Biblical illiteracy is not a problem. Widespread biblical illiteracy is not that big of a deal to me.
Biblical illiteracy is not a problem. The real problem is that Christians don’t even put into practice the little tiny bit of Scripture knowledge we do have!
As I wrote previously, the entire Bible can be summed up in 24 words:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your strength, and your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
The problem is not that people don’t know the Bible. The problem is that we don’t even follow or practice the little bits we do know.
Jesus said that the entire law and prophets were summed up with those words above (cf. Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27-28).
If we do not even attempt to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, or make any attempt to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we do not need more Bible knowledge crammed into our heads.
We don’t need more Bible facts; we just need to get out and put our love of God into practice by showing love to others.
For most of us, this begins at home with showing sacrificial love to our spouse and children. It means giving up our desires and needs to help achieve the hopes and dreams of those in our family.
Somewhere along the way, showing love to others requires that we also show love to our neighbors. It is a tragic reality of most Christians that while we spend hours at church hearing and studying about loving and serving the community, very few followers of Jesus know the names of the people who live in the homes on either side of them, let alone the needs, worries, and concerns that they have about their health, they job, their marriage, their children, or their finances. So along with loving our families, we can also making loving our neighbors a high priority.
I believe that while we are loving others, it is then that God helps bring greater insight and understanding to the Scriptures. It is while we are loving our neighbors that the stories and doctrines and facts about Scripture come to life. It is while we are loving others that the Holy Spirit illuminates our mind with the meaning, intent, and proper application of the Bible.
If the church wants to combat the increasing biblical illiteracy of our modern age, the solution is not more teaching, but more loving.