George Guthrie, in Will We Rise to Biblical Literacy?, noted some important statistics about the Bible reading habits of regular church attenders. They are not that encouraging:
Yet, only 16 out of 100 of those who regularly attend our churches read the Bible every day; another 32 percent read the Bible at least once per week. This means that more than 50 percent of people who come through our doors on a regular basis only read their Bibles occasionally, perhaps one or two times per month, if at all. Even more sobering, only 37 percent of those who attend church regularly say that reading and studying the Bible has made a significant difference in the way they live their lives. Only 37 percent.
I applaud the recent efforts of Guthrie to promote Biblical literacy through Read the Bible for Life. However, public Scripture reading in too many churches I have worshiped with is either practically absent or so poorly done that it might have been better if it was absent. If “the medium is the message” as McLuhan suggested, what message do we send by the paucity of our public Scripture reading? What message do we communicate when we fail to give a coherent sense of the text? Should we be surprised that our congregations are slow to pick up the Scriptures for themselves when we read them in lifeless monotone?
Combat biblical illiteracy this Sunday! Read the Scriptures as if your congregant’s souls depend on it.