According to my best estimates, Bible reading in America has been on the decline for the last 50 years.
Americans still respect the Bible. According to Uncover magazine (Summer, 2012), 80 percent of us believe the Bible is “sacred.”
And we still own Bibles. Eighty-five percent of households have at least two Bibles in the home. We even wish we read the Bible more. That same 85 percent express the desire to read it more than they do.
So, what’s holding us back?
I’m tempted to say “the Devil,” but acknowledging his role doesn’t really solve the problem.
On a practical level, the problem is leadership. We need leaders to rise up, pray up and gang up on the reasons people don’t read the Bible.
More than ever, what our country needs is a Bible Reading Revolution.
Why People DON’T Read the Bible:
According to Barna Research, the top four reasons people don’t read the Bible are:
- Lack of time.
- The language is difficult.
- They don’t get excited to read it.
- They don’t understand the background or history.
These are solvable problems!
Men and women regularly feel crazy busy. Then they meet someone, and all of a sudden they find time to be with that person. Why? Because they’re in love.
How do we help people develop a love for the Bible? We lower the pain-level of the other three problems.
- If the language of the Bible is difficult, let’s introduce them to easier versions. The Message is an easy-to-digest paraphrase. The NLT is written on a third-grade reading level. The NIV is also written at an elementary level. For non-readers, there are a half dozen decent audio Bibles out there.
- If lack of excitement is a problem, let’s make the Bible exciting for them. Infection is the best way to spread any disease.
- If they don’t understand the background and history, let’s give it to them!
How to Help People Read the Bible:
1. Get on a campaign.
During a normal sermon series, the pastor preaches on a passage or topic and the listeners read something else in their personal lives. If they’re in a small group or Sunday school class, they learn something different there. Learning is fragmented.
A Church Campaign combines preaching, reading and group study. It’s the magnifying effect of focus—the sun can warm you, but a laser can cut through steel.