Do You Read Your Bible?


Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 csb

They say whatever makes you angry is something the Lord has assigned you to correct. Here’s something that really bothers me…

Bible Poverty

Bible poverty is the new term someone coined for what we used to call biblical illiteracy. What do these terms mean? They refer to the appalling fact that in a nation where abundant access to the Holy Bible is available in a variety of readable versions, those who call themselves Christians are ridiculously ignorant of its contents. I run into it all the time. Modern surveys show us how bad the situation really is.

  • Did you know that fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels?
  • According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
  • A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.
  • A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

As bizarre as these things are, they are not made up. These are the findings of reputable groups like the Barna Group and others.* Findings like these go a long way toward explaining the low level of living among those who call themselves Christians, as well as why so many fall for the deception of unbiblical teachings.


Why is this happening? It all comes down to the fact that people simply don’t read the Bible. If you were to talk to ten Christians, you might find three or four who have read the Bible all the way through. Of those three or four, you might find one or two who hadve read it through more than once. Is it any wonder we have problems?

The other thing is that people refuse to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives. They seem more than content to be spoon fed by the professionals. Some might read through a little devotional book where they see one Bible verse a day. While that is better than nothing, it’s very little more than nothing.


While there are any number of excuses as to why people don’t read their Bibles, I would like to address a couple of the more common ones.

  • I don’t have time.

 Really? We have time to sit on our phones, or at our computers, and scroll through endless Facebook statuses, Tweets, news feeds, sports feeds, etc., but we don’t  have time to engage in the one thing that would seriously enrich our spiritual lives.


  • I can’t understand it.

 This excuse has a little bit of merit. I get it. The Bible is an ancient book, written  from a largely Middle Eastern perspective, involving all kinds of things that we in  the West are largely unfamiliar with. Add to that the fact that it isn’t exactly put  together in a chronological order. However, the truth it contains speaks to people  of  every generation and civilization. Plus, the more you read it, the more you begin to  see how it fits together as a unified whole. Trust me when I say that understanding  comes as a result of diligent pursuit.

  • It’s boring.

 This reveals a heart issue. How can a book written under the direction of our  Creator/King ever be boring? Finding the Bible boring usually stems from reading it  for the wrong reasons. If you are reading the Bible because you think you have to, or  because God will be mad at you if you don’t, you are setting yourself up for failure.  On the other hand, if you are reading the Bible to get to know the Lord better,  searching for Him in its pages like you would hunt for buried treasure, it will no  longer be boring. Instead, it will be come a thrilling opportunity for discovery.

While I’m sure there are many other excuses people have for not reading their Bibles, these are some of the main ones. However, it all comes down to this: One day, you and I are going to stand before the King to give an account of our lives. If He looks us in the eyes and asks, “Why didn’t you read My book?”, what excuse do you think we could give that would really satisfy Him? I’m done making excuses. How about you?

My Conviction

We should take biblical illiteracy seriously. Because of the tremendous access we have to the Scriptures, it is my personal conviction that we in the West will be held more accountable than other who don’t. The Lord put some serious time and effort into making sure we had His book in our language. It’s only right that we put some serious effort into ingesting its contents. Bible reading is a required component for anyone truly intent on living in the Reign.


*Albert Mohler, The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem, January 20, 2016

15 thoughts on “Do You Read Your Bible?

  1. The third point under “Bible Poverty” caught my interest. Recently (in the last year, but moreso in the last 3 months), I have heard this from so many people that I thought I must have heard wrong, or that they didn’t know anything more than what they were telling me, or something, because I didn’t ever think that taking care of my family was the focus of the Bible teachings. And then I began to wonder what actually WAS the main point the Bible teaches us.I couldn’t believe that i was put here to look after my own family and that was it. If that was it, why would we need to attend Church? Thanks for mentioning that. Isn’t the main point of the Bible to come to the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, come to know Him, worship Him, and listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit?Shouldn’t we feed ourselves with (Holy) Spiritual food just as we need (Earthly) Literal food to feed our bodies? Please tell me what you believe the focal point of the Bible is. When I attend church, I am often amazed at what comes out in conversation from many “seasoned” members of God’s church, and I like to help where I can, so that they can see how much God loves them, and some of the old beliefs they have can be left behind (given up), so that they can focus more on worshipping Him and thanking Him for who He is. What else is it we should be doing? I really want to know.

    • Hi Marge,

      That’s a really great question. Unfortunately, the answer is broader than I can cover here. However, in my 40 plus years of studying Scripture, I have found that the over-arching theme of Scripture (that which ties it all together) is the Kingdom of God. It is the one thing that causes creation, the crisis of man’s fall, the Old Testament progression, salvation through Christ, and the ultimate consummation of all things, to make sense.

      If you search through my blog, you will find that I have written several articles on the subject (here is one example: A couple of books that I would recommend for your own study are “Heaven on Earth” by R. Alan Street, or “The Drama of Scripture” by Craig Bartholomew & Michael Goheen. I believe you will find both of these books to be tremendously helpful.



  2. Another idea to consider is: Who is your family? We need alone time to read our Bible; to study, meditate and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, and we need those times where we read the scriptures and perhaps discuss them together with our immediate family but we need to read scripture with our spiritual family as well; in Bible Studies, Home Groups, Life Groups, etc., and those whom God gives to us. We are all part of God’s family (the Church), and we have individual families also (mostly, we do). It’s very enjoyable and fruit-producing to read together with others. In a family setting, each person can have time to talk about what they percieve and receive from the scriptures and tell how they enjoyed a certain story, etc., or verbalize their love for God and for Jesus Christ, His Son. and then we are free to give thanks and pray together. This can be done when we meet together in groups also, in homes or in the church building. (and often is)

  3. An awesome post; sadly, some startling truths listed as well.
    The Word of God is truly a fascinating Book, and as one delves into it, they soon discover that it is the Living Word of God!
    We are thankful the Holy Spirit illuminates and lends understanding to the reader.
    Agreed, we are very privileged here in the West, and we must never take that for granted!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Mike & Melissa

  4. Pingback: I’m a Reader | Living in the Reign

  5. I would agree that the Bible’s main focus is the Kingdom of God. I can see that now. That is good. Yes. I see that, and that makes life very interesting.

  6. Thanks for the post Mac. Your title is a critical question for Christians, and you’ve addressed some important items in this piece. And I agree with you.
    It’s alarming to see the biblical illiteracy or Bible poverty in tody’s western evangelical church, and I’m surprised and perplexed as to why pastors don’t seem to address this issue. Most assume that their members/congregants read their Bibles. I think that’s a dangerous assumption.

    I’m a new blogger on WordPress, but I have a piece similar to yours that I’m going to post in a day or two on my blog called Baby Boomer Christianity (
    Sorry for the shameless plug
    There are a lot more issues that need to be addressed similarly to the one in this article.

    Thanks again for posting. I’ll be following your blog.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Pete. You are exactly right, assuming people are reading their Bibles is not a safe assumption. I, for one, and determined to try and turn the tide. Blessings!

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