The Bible has never been more popular.
It’s everywhere. From our bookshelves, to our laptops, phones, e-readers and audio books.
Virtually anyone can gain instant access to the Bible in multiple languages and translations, including the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
There are also a lot of Bible studies available. Through books, podcasts, blogs and apps, you can read, hear and study an endless variety of ideas about the Bible and its meaning.
The biggest reason for biblical ignorance and misunderstanding in previous generations was lack of access to the Bible and/or good Bible study materials. Today, the problem may be the exact opposite. There are so many voices, it’s hard for most people to distinguish valid Bible teaching from fluff or outright heresy.
As pastors, we have a great responsibility to teach our church members, not just what the Bible says and how to apply it, but how to read it for themselves, so they can distinguish good biblical teaching from shallow or bad biblical teaching.
In short, it’s no longer enough just to preach and teach from the Bible, we need to teach about the Bible, too.
Questions That Need Answers
Pastors need to regularly provide answers to questions people may not even know they need to answer.
- What is the Bible?
- How can we rely on it?
- Why do Christians follow some of the Old Testament rules (like the 10 Commandments) but not others (like mixing fabrics in our clothes)?
- Why are there so many different translations?
- How do the biblical narratives match up with secular historical events?
Here are five reasons why now, more than ever, people need their pastors to teach them, not just what the Bible says, but how to use it wisely.
1. People Need To Know “Why”, Not Just “What”
In previous generations, people trusted the authority figures in their lives to give them accurate information. Some of that was because the people in authority were often the only people who had access to the necessary information.
Today, with information being so universally and immediately accessible, we can all find out what the Bible says and what people believe about it. Now we need to know why.
2. It’s An Essential Aspect of Equipping Believers
You can’t have a mature church filled with biblically illiterate members.
If the only time people are hearing what the Bible says is when it’s being filtered through someone else, they won’t become mature in their faith.
But when people are given the tools to study and understand the Bible for themselves, they start to deepen and blossom.
3. It’s A Defense Against False Teaching
When two pastors or Bible teachers are giving opposite interpretations of scripture, which one should we believe? The one we like the most? The one with the biggest platform? The one with the longest string of letters after their name?
If people know how to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) they will be less confused by the mixture of false voices, and can more readily identify and support good teaching over bad.
4. It’s An Essential Element Of Evangelism
The average skeptic demands a logical consistency in what we believe. If a Christian can’t say why we believe the Bible, our arguments for following it will carry no weight. But if we can show a consistency of thought and behavior, that is very compelling.
A loving attitude may be the most effective open door to evangelism, but making logical sense of our biblical beliefs is a close second.
5. It Will Keep People More Anchored In Their Faith
There’s a lot of concern about younger generations leaving the church.
There are many reason for the falling away, of course, but one the strongest determiners of whether-or-not a child who was raised in the church will stay strong in their faith is how well they are able to read, study and follow the Bible for themselves. They need to have internalized their faith instead of just doing what they were told to do.
“God said it, I believe it, that settles it” isn’t enough to keep anyone active in their faith any more. They need to know the why.
Churches that keep their members biblically ignorant, simplistic or that cherry-pick what they believe will keep losing members.
Churches that preach a solid message from the Bible, backed with regular, vibrant lessons about the Bible will not just keep people in the seats, they’ll set up this and future generations for an even stronger, more dynamic faith than ever before.
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