I read a quote today by A. W. Tozer that says,
It is amazing that in a generation of Christians with more modern translations of the Scriptures than all the other generations put together, it is just about the weakest group of Christians we have ever seen.
It was a rather convicting statement for me. I have long held onto the New King James Version as a preferred version, and more recently have added the New Living Translation to my list of “go to” translations. I don’t necessarily promote one translation over another, although some i find difficult to read (The Amplified Bible for instance). I know Tozer wrote in the 1950’s and early 1960’s (he died in 1963) and i wonder at what his opinion would be on the selection of versions of the Bible we have today.
But Tozer’s statement points to something drastic about the modern Christian even today. Many within the church have very little biblical knowledge and have never read through the bible cover-to-cover. While reading through the bible cover-to-cover may not be entirely necessary either, it causes a disconnect in a person’s theology. For example, how is it possible that someone should argue for creation based solely on Genesis 1 & 2? The first two chapters of Genesis are important to the creation story, but are only a part in the vast dialogue within the scriptures. One is inadequately informed and should not defend creation solely on Genesis 1 & 2.
Another example would be the events surrounding the rapture at the end of the age. Many Christians simply avoid the book of Revelation altogether because it is “confusing” at best and “incomprehensible” at the least. If today’s Christian is going to try and make sense regarding the rapture and the return of Christ at the end of the age however, Revelation is the least of their worries. They must also study books like Leviticus, Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude, as well as a number of others not listed.
Tozer’s comment reveals a lack of spiritual growth in today’s Christian. Regardless of which version of the Bible one finds “most helpful,” spiritual illiteracy is perhaps at an all-time peak. Worse yet, his comment comes on the heals of a condemnation of Christians for getting caught up in the vice of entertainment. To be sure, Tozer isn’t suggesting that we cannot be entertained. However, he does suggest that Christians have traded pure worship for being entertained, where the people have become spectators. He writes,
We no longer have worshipers but rather observers and spectators who sit in awe of the performance. The demand is for something that will make us feel good about ourselves and make us forget about all of our troubles.
Having said this however, Tozer is quick to point out that roughly every third generation something happens within the hearts of people and revival and repentance explodes. Every so often people come to the end of themselves and wake up to how “bought in” to worldly ideas and ideals they have really become and a renewal of the magnificence, fear, and awesomeness of God takes place.
Are we that generation?
What is your favorite translation?
The book is called The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy by A. W. Tozer.