Shortly before Israel’s demise, the Prophet Hosea voiced a dire judgment: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). The prophecy did not imply that Israel had been deprived of the opportunity to learn the will of the Lord. Rather, it described a condition caused by sheer human obstinance and sinfulness, an ignorance resulting from ignoring. Does the indictment apply today?

Last fall I gave my ninety-eight freshmen a fourteen-question quiz on the Bible. As a class, they flunked miserably. Students who checked “Off and on” and “Inactive” as their degree of involvement in church activities had a median score of 4. The forty-five students who checked “Active” did twice as well, attaining a median score of 8—hardly praiseworthy, however, when the elementary nature of the questions is considered.

The following chart tells the story. The first three columns of figures show the number of correct answers given by students in the three categories of church involvement. Since nearly 100 students were tested, the figures in the last column can be thought of as percentages.

Appalling ignorance was seen not only in the students’ inability to answer correctly but also in the wide margin by which some of the answers missed the mark. Two New Testament books and “New Testament” were given as the second book in the Bible. No fewer than six Old Testament books and “Old Testament” were guessed to be the last book in the Bible. The author of many of the Psalms was identified as John, Paul, Saul, Luke, Peter, Jesus, and “shepards.” One student attributed thirteen New Testament letters to David. The thirteen wrong guesses for the book that relates the history of the early Church included Eli, “Genisus,” “Isiah,” and Moses! Added ...

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