In the 2011 census, 67% of Canadians identified themselves as Christians. A statistic that is somewhat older and probably outdated says that 25% of Canadians attend church once a week. The latest survey gives a glimpse of the rot at the base of our Christianity: 5% of Canadians read the Bible daily, 11% once a week, 14% once a month. 55% have never opened a Bible in their life.
The fact that 67% self-identified as Christians indicates that they still see some value in the historic teachings of the faith — even though they might not have much of an idea what they are. Do you suppose there would be a way of getting them intrigued about the roots of that heritage? Who is going to do it? Obviously, the majority of church-going people are not Bible readers.
Here are some questions for those of us who say we read the Bible every day:
– Have you ever read a passage in the Bible and realized it was a personal message for your immediate situation?
– Do you pray for understanding when you read the Bible?
* Does a verse from the Bible ever come to your mind when you find yourself in a difficult situation?
– Have you ever read the Bible all the way through? Are there parts of the Bible that you have never read?
– Do you sometimes take time to study a particular event, or teaching, or promise so that you can understand it more fully?
– Do you talk about what you have read with your family? your Christian friends? your non-Christian friends?
If I am reading the Bible and I am suddenly struck about how this is just what brother George needs to hear, I am probably not getting much personal benefit from my Bible reading. Neither is brother George, even presuming that he is in need of help. If brother George truly needs help, then I should be praying for direction on how to talk to him as a brother without sounding superior. Perhaps I should pray to know how to encourage him to talk.
People around us need to read the Bible and believe what it says. Let’s not be one of those self-righteous religious people that have given the Bible and Christianity a bad name.The people around us have a pretty keen nose for the slightest whiff of hypocrisy. How do we avoid having that odour attach itself to us? Well, that might mean taking the Bible seriously enough to make major changes to our lifestyle if it is not 100% compatible with the teachings of the Word.
When we find inspiration in the Bible for our personal life, it is much more likely that we will inspire others to look in the same Book for answers to their needs.