While most Americans still have a “positive perception” of the Bible, the latest survey reveals that “Bible skeptics are on the rise,” according to the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group.
The ABS published a new report, The Bible in America, that showed Americans still have a high regard for the Bible. The report, which was concluded on an annual State of the Bible survey over six years, found that two-thirds of Americans still believe the Bible has “everything a person needs to know in order to live a meaningful life.”
The report also reveals that a majority of Americans believe the Bible has more influence on their society (64 percent). But while they have a desire to read the Bible more often for themselves (62 percent), only one-third reportedly read it at least once a week.
Here is a startling find that raises our concern: The report says, “…the percentage of Americans who view the Bible as a book of teachings written by men has risen from 10 percent to 22 percent over the past six years. In this same period, the percentage of Americans who view the Bible as sacred literature has dropped, 86 percent to 80 percent, and the percentage of Americans who say the Bible is not a sufficient guide for meaningful living has risen, 23 percent to 33 percent. (http://www.americanbible.org/features/state-of-the-bible)
In addition to these statistics is the current trend among millennials (ages 19 to 35 in 2016) that the Marxist philosophy is reportedly more popular than the Bible. According to Christian Today, (Hazel Torres, 10/31/16) a new poll by YouGov and Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reveals that nearly two-thirds of millennials are Marxists. And it reports that more millennials agree with statements by avowed socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (71 percent), economist Milton Friedman (68 percent), and philosopher Karl Marx (64 percent) than the Bible (53 percent). (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/millennials.agree.with.karl.marx.bernie.sanders.milton.friedman.more.than.the.bible.study.shows/99390.htm)
One of the first passages I thought of when I read these reports is First Peter 3:3, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…” (King James Version, KJV). The original Greek has “scoffing mockers.” They scorn the teachings of the Bible because they are skeptical that it is God’s inspired Word. And in the process they discount the promises of the Bible, especially where it applies to the future coming of Jesus Christ. So, the apostle continues to describe how these skeptics will scoff at believers who are looking for the soon return of Jesus. They will mock us saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation,” (v. 4, New American Standard Bible, NASB).
These people are not unlike the skeptics in Noah’s day when he and his sons were building the ark in preparation for the impending world-wide flood. In Matthew 24:37-39 Jesus predicted, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be,” (NASB).
Noah, “a preacher of righteousness” must have told the people, who had never seen a boat before since it had never rained by that time, that a flood was coming (Gen. 2:5-6; 6-9). Because of their skepticism they couldn’t muster enough faith to believe that God was going to send a flood that would wipe out all living creatures off the face of the earth. They were too interested in going about their own personal business mixed with moral decay, the breakdown of marriage, violence and disregard for law and order (Gen. 6:1-22; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2:4-5). Kind of reminds you of today, doesn’t it?
Given the dire statistics that show the rise of Bible skeptics, the growing trend among our younger generation to replace the inspired Word with the writings of socialists, and societal corruption, we are most concerned about the difficult times in which we live. These are signs that Jesus IS coming soon regardless what the skeptics say. So, knowing how close we are to that Great Day, we take advantage of every opportunity to be prepared while proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and his coming to others.
If we’re living like righteous Noah who found “favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8-9) and if we have the faith like he had to prepare for what lies ahead (Hebrews 11:7), then we won’t have to worry about our future outcome. For our hope and expectation far exceeds the worries and fears of this mortal life.
Recall what the Apostle Paul declared: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God,” (Rom. 8:18-21, NASB).
The coming kingdom of God will put an end to the skeptics’ arguments and their foolishness once and for all. When Jesus comes, all of creation will be free from the corruption brought on by human sin against the God of creation. When the glory that is to be revealed in us comes to pass, the entire earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord and new generations will come to believe him (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14; Jeremiah 31:34; Heb. 8:11). But let it be known: In order to know and believe these truths and be encouraged by them, however, one must read and study these scriptures daily and put them to heart (Psalm 119:105).
Here’s a classic song to sing along with: “The Bible Stands” http://youtu.be/s4Ze0Wh5o1I
Good News to YOU!