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National Liberty Journal, February 1, 2003

Evangelical Students Flunk Bible Literacy

Daniel Foster
Guest Columnist

A few years ago, Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, reported in Christianity Today the results of a Bible literacy test his department applied to incoming freshmen. Of these students--most of whom came from strong evangelical churches--a third didn’t know that Paul’s travels are recorded in Acts or that the Christmas story is found in Matthew.

The crisis facing the church is not that Christians disagree with what they have studied in the Bible and what is taught from the pulpit--it’s not simply that they don’t believe the clear teachings of Scripture; it’s that many have never heard them to begin with.

Christians desperately need to study the Bible and have it communicated clearly to them from the pulpit, but as churches turn to “spiritainment” to draw the masses, what often falls through the cracks is the transfer of doctrinal truths and/or the edification of parishioners’ minds.

In a recent interview, Burge maintained that biblical illiteracy is “a universal and growing problem,” among students and churches, citing the trend toward a therapeutic emphasis in preaching as part of the problem.

“There’s not an educational dimension any longer. We’re all about the experience, not the facts,” he said. And as a result the younger generation is not learning the important stories, people and background of the Bible. This semester, Burge asked 45 seniors in an advanced class to paraphrase, from memory, the Ten Commandments. Only one student could do it.

What’s to be done to remedy this situation? Study the Bible. Responsibility and the desire to change begins at home. First, ask yourself whether your own knowledge of the Bible and doctrine is as strong as you’d like. Next, consider your family--are you conveying knowledge to your kids and preparing them for attacks on their faith? Watching “Veggie Tales” is not enough. As children grow, you need to instill them with the desire and competency to study the Word, be transformed by its truths, and identify and refute untruth. Finally, consider helping others in your local church to grow more biblically literate by leading a Bible study, Sunday school class, or writing a Bible-teaching column for the church newsletter or Web site.

If this sounds like “just one more thing on my already overloaded plate,” consider enlisting the help of an electronic research assistant to do the hard work of Bible study for you.

The latest Bible software packages contain hundreds of Bibles and reference works along with automation tools that make Bible study easier and more rewarding than ever before. For example, Logos Bible Software Series X, is so easy to use and advanced it is like having your own personal research assistant. Just enter a passage and click go. The software does the rest for you, searching a library of dozens or hundreds of books and pointing you to the right book at the right time, even opening it to the right page and paragraph!

Adults and children are spending more time in front of their computers. We work in front of the screen, entertain ourselves there, maintain relationships via E-mail, and research purchases on the web. It’s only natural that the computer should become a place of Bible research and meditation. You can go straight from checking your favorite newsgroup to checking what the Bible says on the topic, painlessly integrating Bible reading and study into the daily ebb and flow of life. And when you’re ready to get serious about study, all the books and tools you need are available at the click of a mouse.

Pollster George Barna states, “Americans still revere the Bible and like to think of themselves as Bible-believing people, but the evidence suggests otherwise.” Help prove George wrong by spending some time reading and studying the Bible today … then share your knowledge with your kids and fellow Christians.

For more information on Logos Bible Software Series X visit or call 800-875-6467.

 © 2003 by National Liberty Journal. Used by permission.