This was the response I received the first time I tried to share John 3:16 with a seeker. I wish I could say it was a unique experience but it is actually quite common.
The encouraging news according to a Barna Research Group is that we live in a country where people own and revere the Bible. Over 88% of all U.S. homes have a Bible. Over half have more than one and almost 25% claim to have more than 5 Bibles. The discouraging news is people in general, and many Christians, have no idea what it says.
That same study showed that fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels and even less can name even five of the Ten Commandments. Another survey from Gallup found that less than 50% of Americans can name the first book of the Bible. Only 1 in 3 Bible owners know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Billy Graham was the most popular answer) and an incredible 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
As America becomes more secular, we are increasingly living in a world free of scripture and biblical references. Popular culture is more routinely sharing a contradictory message that waters down sin. And too many Christians are not living any differently. This biblical illiteracy only changes if we commit to living it and sharing it in order to reverse the course we are on. We have to stand on the truth of scripture and be prepared to share it clearly.
In ministry, this often means walking slowly with a seeker and not immediately start bombarding them with Bible verses. We encourage volunteers to listen for what is really happening and then use phrases like “the Bible teaches us”, “Jesus said”, “scripture tells us”. When someone asks where it says that then we have an invitation to open the Word together and share specific verses and biblical truth.
We want to encourage you to stay in the Word and allow it to breathe truth into your life. We pray you will be sensitive to opportunities to reference the truth found in God’s Word and share it with others. God is speaking to us each day through His Word and we only hear Him if we are in the Bible and preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily.