Since 2011, Barna Group (a research and resource company which focuses on the intersection of faith and culture) has partnered with the American Bible Society (a non-profit organization with the mission to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford so that all people may experience the Bible’s life changing message) to track the state of the Bible in the United States.
In May of this year, 2021, Barna and ABS came out with 5 key findings regarding their research (Read the full report here):
- Bible users in the U.S. increased in 2021.
- Americans largely believe the nation would fare poorly without the Bible.
- Over half of U.S adults say the Bible is without error.
- Half of Americans affirm the Bible contains the keys to living a meaningful life.
- One in six U.S. adults (almost 17%) read the Bible most days during the week. .
As a Campus Missionary, I spend a lot of time helping university students who are followers of Christ understand the Bible’s role in our lives as followers in the 21st century. Through my years as a follower of Christ and my years of being a Campus Missionary I have learned why the Bible is foundational to our lives as believers. God has used Christlike men and women to teach me the following three principles.
The Bible Was Written So That We Might Believe
“…but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”John 20:31
John’s gospel is all about who Jesus is. Jesus is none other than God Himself. And John sees this very thing. John knows that when one realizes who Jesus really is and chooses to repent and believe, new life is given. So, at the conclusion of his letter, he tells his readers his reason for writing: that we might believe in Jesus Christ.
When we have grasped this big picture of who Jesus is, we can then appreciate the entire gospel in a new and incredible way. The pinnacle of the gospel comes when we utter in genuine belief, “My Lord and My God!” The Bible helps us to see Jesus clearly so that we can do just that!
The Bible Helps Discern Our Thoughts and Intentions
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12
The Bible also helps discern our thoughts and intentions. As followers of Christ, we are all called to seek and utilize discernment. We are called to live out our faith and pursue holiness. Doing that requires the ability to discern our thoughts and intentions. With thousands of details vying for our attention, we must know where this wisdom comes from and how we are to attain it.
Here is the rub: we know our hearts are deceitful, and we cannot stake our life decisions upon our feelings (Jeremiah 17:9). Gaining discernment does not come from looking deep inside ourselves but rather from setting our eyes on wisdom, wisdom that comes from God’s revealed Word."Gaining discernment does not come from looking deep inside ourselves but rather from setting our eyes on wisdom, wisdom that comes from God’s revealed Word." -@jerome_stockert #collegiatedisciplemaker #collegeministry 3 Reasons Why… Click To Tweet
The Bible Equips Us to Do Good Works
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17
God uses Scripture to equip us to do good works. God’s Word is able to equip the college student, man or woman of God, for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (and other verses like it) more than adequately convey the idea of a believer being complete and perfectly fitted for the assigned task that God gives. Believing college students are thoroughly equipped to face the tasks of life as the Holy Spirit uses His Word to work in and through them. It is an amazing and wonderful thing God does as He uses men and women to build His kingdom.
Giving the “Why” of Bible Study
Many of the college students who come through our ministries have been told to read and study their Bible, but that doesn’t mean they understand why. Too often, Christians read the Bible because they are supposed to, but no one has ever stopped to explain why the Bible is so foundational for our lives as believers.
Ministers, student leaders, volunteers, disciple-makers, take the time to sit down with your students and explain these three reasons why the Bible is so important. Don’t just encourage them to attend Bible study and challenge them to have daily Bible reading time; make sure they grasp just what a lifeline it is.