Are You Bible-Minded?
The American Bible Society and Barna Group have released a new study ranking how “Bible-minded” American cities are. What would God say about the results?
The American Bible Society just released the latest results from its annual study determining which cities in the U.S. are the most “Bible-minded.” As it turns out, the top three cities are:
- Chattanooga, Tennessee (51 percent “Bible-Minded”).
- Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama (50 percent).
- Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia (48 percent).
Even in these cities, only about half of those surveyed were classified as “Bible-minded.”
By the way, Providence, Rhode Island, came in last with only 9 percent being “Bible-minded.” (The entire list can be found on AmericanBible.org.) So what makes a city “Bible-minded”?
NPR explains, “The group says it asked a random sample of more than 46,000 people nationwide if they had read the Bible in the past seven days. If they had, and if they ‘agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible,’ they were deemed ‘Bible Minded,’ according to the study’s authors” (Bill Chappell, NPR, Jan. 24, 2014).
It isn't enough to just “strongly agree” that the Bible is accurate. God wants us to believe the accuracy of every word He has inspired to be written through His servants. They are recorded for our ultimate good in every facet of life. So, Chattanooga’s accomplishment, which enabled it to be ranked the most “Bible-minded,” was simply having 51 percent of those surveyed read the Bible once a week and strongly agree that it’s accurate. That doesn’t seem like a very impressive statistic.
And what about that definition of Bible-mindedness? Is that the definition God would use—whether for Americans or those of any nation?
What does He say?
Live by every word
Jesus Christ gave us a strong example of how to treat the Bible, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). As if to prove His point, Christ was actually quoting Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3)!
When we talk about “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” does the entire Bible count? In fact, God inspired what should be recorded throughout the whole Book: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). You can’t get much clearer than that.
Frankly, it isn’t enough to just “strongly agree” that the Bible is accurate. God wants us to believe the accuracy of every word He has inspired to be written through His servants. They are recorded for our ultimate good in every facet of life. (To learn more about the reliability of the Bible, read “How Do We Know the Bible Is True?”)
Live by them every day
If God wants us to live by every word He speaks, then how often do we need to read the Bible? The American Bible Society suggests that once per week is enough to be “Bible-minded.”
Does God give us anything to go on here?
There are plenty of examples of good study habits in Scripture. The kings of ancient Israel were tasked with copying the first five books of the Bible for daily study (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). The writer of Psalm 119 writes about meditating on Scripture “all the day” and “through the night watches” (Psalm 119:97, 148). For more, see the articles under the topic “The Practical and Priceless Benefits of Bible Study.”
Remember how Jesus compared the words of God to bread in Matthew 4:4? A little later, He includes this in the model prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). While this also applies to our physical needs (like food and income), Christ’s words indicate that we should be praying for God to give us daily spiritual sustenance also.
Of course, the best way to receive God’s words every day is to read them in the Bible.
God’s speaking to us—are we listening?
As the American Bible Society points out in their report, the Bible is the “best-selling book of all time.” In most countries of the world, people have unprecedented free access to the Holy Bible. God’s very words are literally at our fingertips!
So what is true Bible-mindedness?
In the Bible, we find the exhortation, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Whose mind is it talking about?
How do we put that greatest of minds within us? A little later, the passage admonishes us to be “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (2:15-16, emphasis added).
Hold fast the Word of God by believing every word is valuable, reading it every day and—most importantly—living it.
Do you read the Bible every day? If not, reading our Daily Bible Verse Blog is a good start. Every day a new scripture with commentary is added. Currently we are covering the book of Genesis.