For the UK: “Only six per cent of British adults read or listen to the Bible, while 55 per cent of Christians in this country never do so, according to a new poll commissioned for the Archbishops' Council Evangelism Task Force. The survey of 8150 British adults, which also shows dwindling numbers praying and attending church, was conducted by ComRes in March and reported by the Church Times. Asked about how often they read or listened to the Bible, 55 per cent of those who described themselves as Christians answered 'never' while 14 per cent said at least once a month. Twenty-nine per cent said that they never prayed, while 40 per cent said that they did at least once a month, and 18 per cent answered that they did so daily”. -Christianity today
“The survey found that most Christian millennials in the UK (51%) engage with the Bible a few times a year, or less. Only 9% read the Bible every day and a mere 13% look at the scriptures “a few times a week””. - PremiereChristianity
“After carrying out detailed face-to-face interviews with over a hundred Christians and Muslims, Unsworth designed her own survey. Of 2,116 people in Britain, she found that only 3% reject the idea that plants and animals have evolved from earlier life forms, whilst 6.8% reject the idea that humans have evolved from non-human life forms. Only 4% would qualify as young earth creationists.
Further, she discovered that even amongst regular worshippers--meaning those who attend religious services once a month or more, only 14.3% reject plant and animal evolution, 28.6% reject human evolution and 10.2% think the earth is young”. - forbes
Have you heard of this song?
Read your Bible.
Pray every day (repeat 3 times).
Read your Bible.
Pray every day.
And you’ll grow, grow, grow (repeat 3 times).
Read your Bible.
Pray every day.
And you’ll grow, grow, grow.
Don’t read your Bible.
Forget to pray (repeat 3 times).
Don’t read your Bible.
Forget to pray.
And you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink (repeat 3 times).
Don’t read your Bible.
Forget to pray.
And you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink.
Ask the majority of Christians if they’ve heard of this song, they’ll probably reply yes. Some of us may have sang this song, on the contrary others may have never heard of it. The point of this simple song is clear, we need to read our Bibles if we want to grow in the Lord. In fact the scriptures themselves declare first that Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. Then they also declare that Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”.
You can’t please God without faith, but you can’t have faith without the word of God. In conclusion without reading the word of God it’s impossible to please him. Let’s clarify further, there are those who believe the scriptures to not be so important, but that they have the Holy Spirit to guide them. It is the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth but the word says John 14:26
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”. The disciples had the benefit of hearing from Jesus but how would we know the words of Jesus, if those same disciples never wrote down what he said? The Bible is man’s protection against error, when we downplay the Bible, we downplay the foundations of our faith. To think there would be Christians today if there was no Bible would be self-deception. We cannot on the one hand deny the authority of the word in one area, yet accept the parts we like, many people do this.
Many Christians rightly believe in the divinity of Christ, hence if you said to them “Jesus is just a man and nothing more”. They will be the first to pull out the scripture of:
1 Timothy 3:16 “…God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”.
We show people to be in error by using scripture. Rarely will one say the Spirit informed me of that Jesus is Lord. So they will use what Paul wrote in Timothy to defend their beliefs, why? Because that’s the belief they care about. On the other hand, one chapter earlier we see this verse:
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”.
Such a verse is downplayed as it contradicts people’s lifestyles. Here we see the double standards applied to the scriptures. On the one hand it is the word of truth, but the next moment it is no more a guide of life. Adam and Eve practiced this double standard to God’s word and here we are today.
What must be noted is that also there’s a suspicion towards knowledge. That a person can have knowledge but not the Holy Ghost. Knowledge of the world is useless indeed, but knowledge of the word is what is needed. Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge”. People who don’t study the word their end will be destruction because they won’t be able to overcome the deceptions of Satan. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children”. The Lord even says it is fools that hate knowledge Proverbs 1:22 “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?”
Didn’t the Jews know the scriptures?
The mistake of the Jews is that they didn’t know the scriptures. That’s why Jesus seemed to alien to them. Matthew 22:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”. In this case the Sadducees thought there was no resurrection. If the Sadducees had read their Bible properly they would’ve seen scriptures like Job 14:12 “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep”. Surely they would’ve read Isaiah? Isaiah 26:19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead”. Even in the old testament the resurrection was preached, the reason they didn’t believe it was because they let their leaders distort their view of the word and never studied it themselves.
The Jews taught God had no Son. John 5:18 “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God”. Had they read proverbs they would’ve known he did have a Son. Proverbs 30:4 “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?”
The Jews at one point had no concept of the the Holy Spirit because of their false doctrine Acts 19:2 “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost”. How is it that these Christian converts had never heard of the Holy Ghost? when Isaiah 40 reads, Isaiah 40:13 “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” There may be things we believe today which another scripture could clear up, if we don’t read the scriptures we’ll never know.
The scriptures are our protection
To not repeat the mistake of the Jews and think we know when we don’t, we must read the word, studying upon every point and praying for understanding. We must pray before we read, but we must by all means read. Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”. The Bereans were called noble because they searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was preaching was so. If Paul could be fact checked by the Bereans then I must ask, is every preacher today greater than Paul? Can we also not search the scriptures daily to check whether those teaching us are indeed correct? Why repeat a mistake we can avoid? In Isaiah’s day they made the same mistake when it came to the word, trusting their leaders alone and not reading for themselves. Isaiah 29:11 “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men”. When you aren’t reading the Lord’s word and doing his commandments your heart will go far from him.
Paul mentions that 2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus|. I must ask isn’t it salvation we want? The same scriptures that made Timothy wise unto salvation surely will do the same for us. These scriptures help correct us when we stray from the path. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. Will the Holy Spirit inspire error? 2 Peter 1:21 For “the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”.
What Did Jesus himself say of scripture? When speaking of Psalm 82 he said John 10:35 “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” If that scripture couldn’t be broken, why can other scriptures be broken? Why must we also start to doubt different parts of God’s word when we don’t yet understand it? In Acts 18 Paul could’ve worked a miracle to convince the Jews but what did he use to convince them. Acts 18:28 “For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ”. Why didn’t Paul work a miracle and say “for this sign you’ve seen in me believe that Jesus is the Christ” because it doesn’t create the greatest foundation. Satan can work signs Revelation 16:14 “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles…” 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. If the people were directed towards signs and wonders as proof, then all Satan has to do is appear and work some of his own. We need a measure for truth and that is the word. Satan will never preach the word of truth fully. He can’t, that’s the one thing that goes against everything he stands for. Satan can’t deceive you by preaching the gospel as you’ll only end up following Jesus. Hence, Satan by default is forced into twisting the word in some way shape or form. He will try to mix truth with a bit of lies, then once accepted he’ll add more lies until the person is so used to lies, they believe the lies are the truth and the truth is a lie. Let’s demonstrate how Satan can’t tell the truth, When Jesus was fighting Satan in the wilderness what did Satan say:
Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee : and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Satan used the scriptures however Note the bit highlighted in red. There’s a portion missing Psalm 91:11 “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, TO KEEP THEE IN ALL THY WAYS. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone”. When you shorten a scripture there’s a way to do it without losing the original meaning. The portion Satan ripped out is important to the text because without that part it sounds like you could jump off a building and the angels will make sure you don’t land on a stone. What did Jesus reply? Matthew 4:7 “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”. He quoted a part of Deuteronomy 6:16. Jesus left us an example of how to fight Satan effectively.
This is where Satan is weak he can’t fully quote the Bible without contradicting another part of the word. If Satan quotes the Bible verbatim (as it is written), Satan has just become a mouthpiece of God. Satan can’t do that, he hates God so much so that if God says black is black, Satan will say black is white, if God says A, Satan will say B. Hence, Satan’s biggest weakness is the bible because to repeat it’s words leads people to God, to twist it exposes his plans and who he is. That’s why the word is called the sword, it’s your most powerful weapon! Ephesians 6:17 “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Which one of you would have gone to war in old times never having swung your sword once? Or only swinging it on the weekends? Or never sharpening your blade? Which one of you would go to war saying I don’t practice with my sword, but my general shows me how it should be swung, because he swings it I’ll be fine in this war. That’s what we say when we don’t read our bibles and conclude in our minds “well my pastor knows what he’s saying I’ll be fine” check what they’re saying like the Bereans! Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God”. Yes God does give pastors after his own heart, these are far and few between, you’ll know you’ve found the one after God’s heart if what he’s saying lines up with the word.
Aren’t you giving too much weight to the scriptures?
Some may venture to think that maybe we’re exalting the Bible too much and point out that Jesus said the Scriptures are all about him. John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me”. Jesus is not saying they are deceived for thinking they will have eternal life in the scriptures. In face he’s telling them to “SEARCH” because he knows they don’t do it properly, he’s pointing out that if they pay attention to what it’s saying they will find that the scriptures all bare witness to him. He’s not downplaying the scriptures, he’s trying to show them that if they knew the scriptures properly they would believe in him. In fact he says this himself. John 5:46 “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me”. In other words, the people who don’t read the scriptures (including the old testament) will never fully know Christ. They will repeat the same mistake of the Jews, then say when it’s too late “if only I had read, the book was just there”. Even in school exams we fall victim to this delay, delay, delay then realise if only I had read things would’ve been easier.
Jesus himself mentioned that believing in the word is more powerful than the raising of the dead. Luke 16:30-31 ”And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. If the scriptures won’t change someone’s mind, they won’t believe in the dead resurrecting, signs are good, but they aren’t the bottom line. In Jesus’s day signs were the test, in our day because knowledge has increased to the full, the word will be the test, there will be signs and wonders everywhere. The debate won’t be is there a God, it will be who do you want to serve?
When Jesus resurrected he walked on a road with some two disciples in Luke 24. He could’ve said at any moment. Guys I am the Christ, I have resurrected, believe on me, see the holes in my hand. What did he do instead? Luke 24:25 “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”. Jesus could’ve testified of himself using a sign or a wonder, but he chose the word as his word can’t be mimicked in any way by Satan (not that Satan can do as powerful signs as God but that people can be easily deceived by very weak "signs").
The scriptures are our safeguard and if one still thinks perhaps we’ve placed the scriptures too highly. Consider this who is like God? Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Is Baal higher than God? Are the kings of the world higher than God? Who is like his Son? Are the false idols higher? Is the name JEHOVAH higher than all other names in the earth? I would say yes. Are miracles higher than the name of JEHOVAH? Are angels higher than the name of JEHOVAH? Even at the name of Jesus (who also has that name) every knee shall bow. Philippians 2:10 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth”. So if JEHOVAH can magnify his word above his own name, is it wrong for us to stress its importance? Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”. Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”.
JEHOVAH has reseted his integrity on every thing he says, what he says is law and is good, therefore any word spoken by our God is to have the utmost reverence, all the Bible has done for us is compiled them. I pray you were blessed by this study and will strive to add another percentage point to the word of God readers. Maranatha!
Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Follow up study: The importance of Prophecy (How do we test the word)