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Stomp Out Biblical Illiteracy

By:  Donna Martin

Can you tell where to find the following statements in the Bible?


“To thine own self be true.”
“All things work together for good.”
“God moves in mysterious ways.”
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“This too shall pass.”
“God won’t give us more than we can handle.”
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

Actually, you will not be able to find these statements in the Bible.  However, they are some of the most common statements that people think are found in the Bible.

Christian researcher and author, George Barna, reported the following statistics:
*Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
*Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.
*60 percent of Americans cannot name even five of the Ten Commandments.
*82 percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
*12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
*61 percent of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
*A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

Sadly today, many people, including Christians, do not really know what is in the Bible; simply because they never really read it.  Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  King David wrote these words, and as a former shepherd, he knew the importance of having a light to help him stay on the right path as he led his sheep at night.  The Bible is our guide to help us stay on the right path throughout life.  It is important that we read and study it every day.  We should also memorize scriptures.  Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  God speaks to us through scriptures.  There have been many times in my life when a verse that I had “hidden in my heart” has come to my mind just when I needed that word of advice, encouragement, or admonition.

It is no wonder that our nation is in moral decay.  When a person does not know what the Bible says he has no basis for living a life of integrity.  Our world today is filled with so many distractions – and sadly these distractions have distracted us from the thing that we need most – time spent reading and meditating upon God’s Word.  In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Moses commands the children of Israel to impress the commandments of God upon their children and to teach them to their children day and night.  We as Christian parents and grandparents must do the same. 

How can this be done in such a busy world?  Ask yourself what is more important than teaching your children God’s word?  Learn Bible stories and tell them to your children when you are riding in the car.  Post Bible verses on the bathroom mirror so that they can be seen every day. Encourage your children to memorize the verses; make it fun by making a game of it.  Talk about the verses and Bible stories when you eat breakfast or dinner.  Turn off the television, phones, and computers and have a time of Bible reading and prayer each night before bed.

Biblical ignorance among Christians is frightening.  If we do not teach the Bible to our children, someone else will fill their heads with false teachings.  Look at the people who followed David Koresh (1993) and Jim Jones (1978).  These men misused scriptures and persuaded people to believe their false teachings. If the people who encountered these men had read the Bible for themselves, they would possibly still be alive today.

Think of all the things you do for your children and grandchildren besides feeding and clothing them.  Could any of those things that you do be more important than teaching them about God and sharing with them God’s word?  I think not.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at


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