How do people today view the bible? Some see it as a workbook of sorts, where writing reference notes in it and creasing it for quicker and easier access to certain passages is the norm. Others view it as a book that is too sacred or beautiful to be defaced by writing notes or creasing pages. The former may have worn and frayed bibles but they are worn due to use, not due to dust. Of course there are many who have multiple bibles. Some that are kept away due to loving memory of someone or something [say your baptism] and yet others out for daily use and study.
Those are some of the approaches people have toward the bible, but for this article, let's examine a negative one.
"The bible? Yeah, I know of it. It's just a book that's sometimes opened at church when we don't have anything special planned."
This is basically an attitude we are seeing more and more these days- one of ignorance. That simply means many folks are not familiar enough with the bible to know what it teaches, other than just "good works". One reason for that is because many don't read it for themselves and the preachers are not quoting enough of it for them to understand it! The end result of not reading the bible can be quite easily seen. The most noticeable result is a lack of scriptural wisdom.
Back in the 1940's, and even before then, up into the early 1960's most church-going people knew the bible! They not only had ready answers to the questions people asked, but they got EXCITED when talking about it; especially when others had a different view than theirs. They asked questions, studied more, and dug deeper into the bible until they gained that better understanding.
Today, however, even in churches, the bible is opened as little as possible. Preachers are telling more "warm and fuzzy stories involving situation ethics" and preaching "feel-good" sermons that don't challenge our minds. Those types of sermons are nothing more than "fluff"! Some of them do not include a single passage read from the scriptures and certainly, they do not incite us to read our bibles, nor do they promote further study at home. If we, as adult parents aren't studying and trying to better our lives spiritually, what can we say about our kids? What can we expect if our kids are forced to face a difficult situation in life? How will they know how to handle it?
The result of not reading our bibles can cause serious consequences! And those consequences may directly affect us sooner than we may think.
I've personally seen, heard, and read accounts of those who are younger leaving the church. Not just the Lord's church, but all churches. Why are they doing this? I am one to believe that parents just aren't studying with their children as they should. Again, this is referring to all churches, mind you, but some churches separate the young from their parents/family to entertain them with groups of their peers who they can associate with better.
Those younger groups begin to believe that fun and social atmospheres are just as important as worship, and how they feel is just as much a part of church as the boring preaching part. They lose the respect and reverence due to the worship, which eventually if not before, leads to a loss of respect and reverence to God's word! They drift away.
There could be other reasons too. College teaches that an open mind [to everything!] is equal to an enlightened mind because both are taught in tandem. With an open mind to religion, what one was taught gets muddled up with the teachings of others into an amalgamation of many teachings and doctrines.
This could very well be the future of religion. The seeds have been sown where those who are enlightened either don't have any regard for God's word- those who still worship do so with a potpourri of ideas and doctrines that included everyone, and even in the church there are those who are leaving due to reasons entirely unrelated.
This is all really scary, so how do we combat this? By doing as the Jesus commands and bear fruit. We may rest well knowing that we're good people, that we worship regularly, and we study our bibles as we should, but we must do more.
By reaching out to others and teaching them about Jesus and clearing up misconceptions they may have, we are saving them! We may feel frustrated that we can do so little against Satan and his tactics, but those we can save, we've done a LOT for them! How much more love can we show than that?
I'll be the first to admit that we can not always lead them to Christ. As in the parable of the sower, there may be many reasons they do not turn to the Lord. However as Jeremiah knew Israel wouldn't listen he didn't give up. Neither should we!
Maybe the reason so much has changed in religion is because we Christians aren't fighting as hard as those before us fought. They had a lot to go through while we are at peace. Perhaps said peace lulled some into a false sense of security.
The main point of this article is that we need to continue our study of the bible. Those who do so daily do well. I understand we have very busy schedules and sometimes circumstances arise that may prevent us from doing what we know we ought. I'm not condemning anyone in this article, least of all my brethren. But if maybe this lit even a little fire under you, then I consider this a success.
The 40's, 50's and 60's were a simpler time. They didn't have all of those fancy gizmos like the Nintendo Playstation or the Xbox Gameboys. No computers in their rooms nor cell phones. It was a dark time... technologically!
However the family was a very tightly knit one. They worked together, ate together, and even studied together. The end result? A powerful foundation of faith to build upon. They had a regular time set out in their day to learn more of God's word [something I'll be the first to admit I need to work on] and worshiped every chance they had.
The church then encouraged further study to make sure the things being taught were so. Today, not every church does this. And I'm sad to say that those who do not make sure what is taught is correct may believe those things that are untrue as spoken by those in leadership [or the preacher.]
I close this article with a quote from Psalms 119: 100-105 "I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."