USA (MNN) ― The American Bible Society did an informal survey last month and found that 63% of the participants could not attribute a quote to the Scriptures.
In fact, the study indicated that the majority of the people attributed 2 Corinthians 4:8 (in the Contemporary English Version) to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Curious about this, we contacted Faith Comes By Hearing to talk about biblical literacy. Spokesman Bill Lohr wouldn't comment on the study itself, but he agreed that it reveals an issue about biblical illiteracy. "We're attributing things like this, where it really sounds like something that is truth, it sounds like something that is really good to the person who is listening, but they're not attributing it back to the person that it comes from, and that is God."
A 2005 study by the Barna Group asked American Christians to rate their spiritual maturity based on activities such as worship, service, and evangelism. Christians offered the harshest evaluation of their Bible knowledge, with 25% admitting immaturity in their understanding of Scripture.
The risk of generational ignorance in the Church is that false teaching is accepted. Not being able to identify heresy is insidious. Lohr says, "You need to understand your faith. The only way you're going to understand your faith is to get into God's Word so that when somebody uses these phrases, or somebody uses a bit of Scripture out of context, you're able to come alongside them and work with them and help them."
This is also how people get sucked into cults and watered-down theologies that deny the deity of Christ. Says Lohr, "As the Church, if we don't understand the Scripture, and we're not in the Scripture, and we're not engaging the Scripture, then we can easily be misled in our everyday walk and in our everyday life."
Following the Miltonian line of thought, Lohr notes that freedom from confusion comes with the knowledge of the Truth. "The only way we're going to get to that Truth and know that Truth is to go to God's Word. That's what we do at Faith Comes By Hearing: we try to get people into His Word."
The precedent for using Scripture in the context of addressing trauma, freedom and other related issues goes all the way back to America's Founding Fathers. Great leaders of the United States were not confused about the precepts and logic of God's Word. Lohr says, for example, "If somebody hears: 'A house divided against itself cannot stand,' many people might say, 'That's Abraham Lincoln!' Absolutely. That's a very famous speech that Abraham Lincoln gave, but where did he get that? If you go back and research, he got it from the Bible because he read and understood what the Scripture meant."
FCBH is trying to be part of the ongoing solution by providing access and structure to encourage people to spend the time they need in Scripture. "We now have recorded the complete New Testament in 573 languages. People from around the world will be able to engage God's Word. I would just encourage folks to go out and find the best format where they're going to spend time in God's Word so that they can understand what Truth is."
Offering every person on the planet equal access to the Bible requires meeting the unique needs of generations, technical societies, and fast-paced lifestyles. It also means meeting the cultural and literacy challenges presented when working in underdeveloped countries.
According to FCBH, for the first time in history every language group has been identified, and there are 6,809 in the world today.
Working alongside other like-minded groups, the ministry is working hard to record an Audio Bible in 2,000 of these languages and start two million listening groups in order to reach 97% of the world's population by the year 2016.