Christian professor Dr. Kenneth Berding is warning that biblical illiteracy is at a tipping point, with countless believers ignoring the Bible and failing to understand or apply its contents to their lives.
Berding, who teaches New Testament studies at Biola University in La Mirada, California, said he’s seen students coming into his classroom in recent years with less knowledge about the Bible, detailing some troubling examples of student confusion in a recent magazine article titled, “The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy.”
The crisis, he said, is profound.
“I’ve heard people call it a famine. A famine of knowing the Bible,” Berding wrote. “During a famine people waste away for lack of sustenance. Some people die. Those who remain need nourishment; they need to be revived.”
He continued, “And if they have any hope of remaining alive over time, their life situation has to change in conspicuous ways.”
Berding expounded upon the issue in a recent interview with the Christian Post, noting that the problem might actually be worse than ever.
“All the research indicates that biblical literacy in America is at an all-time low,” he said. “My own experience teaching a class of new college freshman every year for the past 15 years suggests to me that although students 15 years ago knew little about the Bible upon entering my classes, today’s students on average know even less about the Bible.”
Part of the literacy issue, Berding argued, is the way that many Americans look at the Bible, seeing it as a book that is important, but not integral to their lives. So, while they may read it as a historical or religious text, he contends that they might not apply its contents to their lives.
“[M]any Americans don’t consider the Bible to be authoritative, that is, they don’t consider the Bible to place a claim on their lives,” he told the Post. “They may consider the Bible to be important in a general sort of way, but this is a far cry from believing that God has communicated His will through this book and therefore it is binding upon your actions.”
Berding charged, though, that this is problematic, especially for Christians, as the Bible is the basis of their faith. In fact, the professor charged that he thinks believers are sinning when they avoid reading the scriptures or take them too lightly.
Berding also said that there are other factors at play that separate people from the Bible, including: distractions like social media, entertainment, the assumption that people know more about the Bible than they actually do and a refusal to put oneself under the rules and regulations of biblical authority.
He expressed fear that, though Christianity might seem alive and well in America, the structural underpinnings, due to weak biblical literacy, could inevitably buckle.
“The building hasn’t come down yet, but the next strong wind might just do the job,” Berding added.
Read his full commentary on biblical illiteracy here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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