In my book I Am a Church Member, I reference the envelope check-off system. Some of you are older like me. So you remember these envelopes.
Each week at church you would turn in your offering in an envelope. On the outside of the envelope was a place for your name, the amount you were giving, and a series of boxes to check if you were diligent in several spiritual activities for the week.
So you would check the box that indicated you were attending worship service. Another box said you were going to a Sunday School class. Still another communicated that you were tithing.
And then there was that other box. I can almost remember my hands shaking as my pen approached the minute cube: “Read Bible daily.”
Ouch. I read the Bible five days the previous week, but not all seven days. Wasn’t that sufficient for the inquisitive box? I would be tempted to check the box but, alas, I couldn’t tell the lie.
After all, I had read Acts 5 and the story about Ananias and Sapphira.
I was taking no chances. Would you?
The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy
You have undoubtedly read some of the studies that bemoan the growing biblical illiteracy in America. But the problem is almost as pervasive among Christians as non-Christians.
According to LifeWay Research, just three out of five Christians read their Bible at least weekly. Yet in the midst of church activities and busyness, many church leaders fail to emphasize one of the greatest needs of the church. Simply stated, Christians need to be reading the Bible and studying it in community.
The Results of Biblical Literacy
We know that we should be reading and studying the Bible. But what are the results when actually accomplish this? Let me share three results of increased Biblical literacy:
- We Grow Spiritually as Individuals. A 30-minute sermon once a week is not a sufficient time in the Word. If we expect to mature as followers of Christ, we must commit to a lifestyle of letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16).
- Our Churches Are Healthier. Healthy churches are made up of healthy members. Church members who dwell in the Word overflow with the fruits of the Spirit. They are patient, loving, joyful, and others-focused.
- We Reach More for Christ. Biblical literacy is the foundation for evangelism and missions. We should not expect to be motivated to tell others about God’s love for them if we are not engaged in His word. Conversely, when we are dwelling in the Word and it is dwelling in us, we can’t help but tell others the good news of Christ.
The Movement Toward Biblical Literacy
Every pastor wants his congregation to be growing spiritually. But no matter how great of a preacher you are, a 30-minute sermon isn’t enough on its own to foster the type of spiritual health needed. That’s where small groups and personal discipleship come in.
Healthy groups study the Word, so what are your groups studying? We found in our Transformational Groups research, that nearly two-thirds of group resources are chosen by the group leaders, many of whom have no input from pastors or staff. And while pastors and staff shouldn’t be curriculum dictators, they should at least be informed and provide input. For this very reason, LifeWay is committed to providing resources which are able to be used in any environment, whether Sunday morning or during the week, at church or in homes.
If you are interested in checking out a book-by-book resource to study the text in its context in order for participants to obey the text in their context, LifeWay is offering a free trial of our redesigned Explore the Bible curriculum. Formerly a study only for adults, now adults, young adults, students, and kids will all study the same Bible book and same memory verse. This week, you can also enter to win a free year of Explore the Bible curriculum for you church.
Biblical literacy is critical to healthy church members and, as a result, healthy churches. Explore the Bible can help your members dwell in the Word as it dwells in them richly.