2nd Edition, Revised Material

Who Is Reading The Bible?

The real concerns over understanding the principles of biblical interpretation are demonstrated in society today. On any given day, evangelical Christians in the U.S. are twice as likely to open Facebook as their Bible, according to Lifeway Research. A survey from 2021 found that 11 percent of Americans read the Bible daily. It is crucial to understand the principles of biblical interpretation.

While 2 billion people claim to be Christians, less than 30% have read the entire Bible. Over half of American Christians believe other paths can lead to everlasting life. In reality, almost 25% of these folks believe that God did not inspire the Bible, instead, it's a product of men which is what I point out in my book.

When I consider that Christians take the Bible literally, it’s really that those people have been driven by the fear of eternal damnation and constant sinful self-degradation. They need literal answers to calm them.

The first inherent danger of biblical illiteracy is a false doctrine that each verse of the biblical text needs to be believed as is. To believe that, it must also be believed that an out-of-context verse from the Old Testament is equally valid as a requirement of faith as are the words of Jesus.

Second, biblical illiteracy leads to conclusions that interpret the Bible incorrectly, thus making their faithful practice unbiblical.

Lastly, biblical illiteracy leads to a lack of spiritual growth, which prevents believers from understanding and experiencing that they are as God created them.

I believe the people depicted in the Bible are no different than we are: just as flawed, ignorant, excited, foolish, prophetic, brash, peaceful, and fearful. They were a mess then as we are a mess now. They tried to pin down God then as we try to pin God down now. Rather than seeing each other as a reflection of ourselves, could it be these folks have developed skewed perceptions and misinformation – labeling it as Truth?

Studying the Bible requires an acceptance of each other – all the time and under all circumstances – as we begin to witness our transformation.

Donald L. O'Dell
August 2, 2023

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