Why Don’t Christians Know the Bible Better?


A recent article for FoxNews.com recently asked, “Why are so many Christians biblically illiterate?” This question involves two key issues. First, are Christians (or at least American Christians) really biblically illiterate? Second, if so, what can be done to change the situation?

The article notes that 80 percent of Americans believe the Bible is “God’s word.” However, this attitude frequently does not change actions toward reading it. The Bible remains the world’s most published and translated book. The problem for Americans is not access, but engagement (The average American owns three Bibles).

Most people can now access their preferred version of the Bible from any smart phone in text and audio. Endless amounts of commentary can be searched on each verse through today’s online tools. So why does the latest LifeWay Research find:

  • Only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week.
  • Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month.
  • Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.

Not reading or listening to Scripture results in not knowing it. Combined with less frequent church attendance patterns among American Protestants, it is unsurprising Christians do not know basic Bible teachings.

If American Christians (and Americans in general) are biblically illiterate, what is the solution? Some suggest involvement in a Bible teaching church or small group that offers community and accountability. While helpful, a deeper issue is involved.

In general, we invest time in what we consider most important. This often includes our work or education. The average American works far more than 40 hours per week with no required vacation. Many American students juggle high school or college plus numerous social activities, sports, and/or jobs.

Yet in this mix, the priority of making God’s Word essential to daily life has often been forgotten. Removed from public schools as well as from many families, many in our culture rarely see another person regularly study and live out Scripture.

To help, it begins with you. As Paul noted, we should strive to say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). No one is going to make you open the Bible and read it except you. The Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and changes lives. It is work, yet it is work that offers great reward.

In addition, we must not merely read the Word, but also apply it. James writes, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Just as our body improves through exercise, and not just reading about it, so also our spiritual life improves as we act upon what we learn in the Bible.

You may not be able to solve biblical illiteracy in our nation, but you can solve it for your own life. As you do, you’ll also influence others to both read and live the teachings of Scripture.


  1. michael goins on February 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    A friend has brought up the subject about God being directly involved with the killing of millions of humans. He cites reasons that God did this. I am slowly answering him but would like input.

  2. Mike Renner on February 14, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    It makes me wonder if we have we really heard the gospel of Christ, Romans 1: 16 & 17. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. It seems like most of the church today is like the church that was at Galatia. I believe the letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians pretty explains the weakness in the church today. We can do nothing from a spiritual standpoint without the grace of God working in our lives and it seems we are either frustrating it or have fallen from it. I don’t think anyone could read that small letter every day for just a week and not be changed.

    • Marie M Locke on January 7, 2021 at 11:38 pm

      Mike Renner: The Gospel is Christ and Him crucified, risen on the third day according to the Scriptures, and coming again one day soon: first to gather and Rapture His Church from the earth, and then after the “Tribulation Period”, He’ll set foot on the mount of Olives at His second return to the EARTH. His return to Rapture His Church is only to the clouds. Only those who are HIS OWN saved believers will see Him at the Rapture. The Gospel is NOT found in Romans, what you posted was passages that describe the Gospel. The Gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. (Basically, verses 3-4). In order to be a truly saved believer, you also must be believing the CORRECT Gospel, and know that Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Christ did it ALL at Calvary. There is NOTHING we can add nor take away from Christ’s Gospel. (and NO works, as Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states). The grace of God will work in a truly saved believer’s life. We are FAR from the Church at Galatia, which included one man who was sleeping with his brother’s wife, among others. (Though our present society is a mess as such). We frustrate God’s grace when we do not read, study, and ACT ON His word. As James says, we are to be, “Doers of the word, and not hearers only”. Please do not confuse any of today’s Christians with those of Galatia or any other group back then. MOST of today’s churches (assemblies) and those who call themselves Christians, are apostate – just as the Bible said it would be like in these last days. Pastors that once KNEW the truth of God’s word and preached and taught it are too busy either with the, “Social Justice Gospel” – in violation of Galatians 1:8-9. or they are too, “Woke” to even CARE anymore what the word of God says. They twist the interpretations to suit themselves – not as God MEANT for it to be interpreted. This is yet ANOTHER reason why it is SO important to STAY in the word of God, and learn all that you can. Especially now. MANY hate Christians, and after the Democrats take power on January 20, 2021, anything is possible. Read and studying your Bible is more important now than ever before. With the Rapture imminent, you MUST know the CORRECT Gospel and correct way to salvation: believing that Gospel, realizing you are a sinner in need of THE Savior, believing that Jesus Christ IS your Lord and Savior, and putting ALL of your faith in Him and His FINISHED work on Calvary’s cross. DON’T worry about reading Galatians “every day”, it won’t help you. You need to be in your Bible EVERY day, reading and studying ALL of it. With Christ’s return to Rapture His Church off this earth before the soon revealing of the Antichrist, it is imperative to know as much Scripture as possible. People cannot rightfully say that they love the Lord and refuse to at least read the Scriptures daily. EVERYONE has at least 15 minutes a day to do that. MOST of America is indeed Bible illiterate, and at this time, January of 2021, they’ve had almost 5 years sine the time this article was written to change the epidemic of Bible illiteracy in this country. The hour is LATE and the time is NOW. I pray that you do so, and be SURE that you know the CORRECT Gospel and are saved in Jesus Christ through that same Gospel. The ONLY true way to Salvation in Jesus Christ AND the ONLY way to Heaven and eternal life with Him.

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