Almost 9-in-10 Americans own a Bible, according to a survey by the American Bible Society, but 5-in-10 Americans say they have read “relatively little of the Bible,” according to Lifeway Research. Despite its ready accessibility through print, websites, and multiple free apps for use on cell phones, there is a lot of biblical illiteracy in the U.S.—and it’s growing.
Even among evangelical Christians, 49% say they only “read a little bit each day.” And 39% of Christians who say they attend church services at least once a month read only a bit every day. IBSA wants to help churches address the issue through a partnership with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.
Leader of IBSA’s Church Growth team, Fran Trascritti, describes the partnership as a way to help leaders “guide their churches back to the Bible.” Leaders can learn how to share the Old or New Testaments. For follow-up, there are 40 days of Bible activities.
Two previews were held for pastors and association leaders, one in Springfield July 15, and another August 19 at First Baptist Church of Marion with more than 60 in attendance. Tim Rhodus, pastor of Cross Church in Carlinville, led that preview. He showed the participants how to tell “God’s grand story” in the Old Testament using hand motions. “The event allowed church leaders to see the ministry in action,” Trascritti said, “so that they might be able to bring this exciting ministry to their own church.”
Lifeway’s Scott McConnell suggests churches find something more than a Bible reading plan for those who find reading a chore. “Scripture describes itself as ‘living and effective,’ according to the book of Hebrews…Those who have a habit of reading through the Bible a little each day say they have experienced this helpful, life-changing quality. Those who approach the book differently tend to say the Bible is positive but much less personal.”
Through a discounted rate for IBSA churches, leaders can bring in approved Walk Thru the Bible speakers that can be affordable for a church or an association of churches. For information, call (217) 391-3142 or email FranTrascritti@IBSA.org.
– with reporting from Lifeway Research