The Bible: Beyond a Dusty Bookshelf
For most Americans, the Bible has become little more than an obligatory book to own. Though Bible sales are increasing, the numbers actually reading the Bible are declining. In fact, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that more than 90 percent of Americans own an average of three versions of the Bible. Published in an article on July 27, 1999, the story found that “two-thirds of Americans don’t regularly read the Bible or know the names of the four gospels.”
Why is this happening? People acquire Bibles with the intent of knowing God through the understanding of His word. But when initial efforts fail, they become discouraged and stop reading. The following are some of the reasons why the Bible may be difficult to comprehend:
- The translation may be in old English, which is challenging for modern-day readers.
- The Bible is complex and packed with facts, so many that readers often have a difficult time grasping all of them and understanding them as a whole.
- Biblical concepts and the spiritual significance of those concepts and other symbols are very deep.
- The distractions of the world can harden the hearts of readers (Matt. 13:4,19).
- Readers’ minds need to be opened by Christ (Luke 24:44-46) and enlightened by the Spirit (Eph. 1:17-18).
- Readers’ motives in reading the Bible need to be aimed at receiving life from Jesus Christ (John 5:39-40) and not only for biblical knowledge.
Matt. 13:4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the way, and the birds came and devoured them.
Matt. 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand, the evil one comes and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown beside the way.
Luke 24:44-46 And He said to them, These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms concerning Me must be fulfilled. Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures; And He said to them, thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise up from the dead on the third day.
Eph. 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that testify concerning Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.