The first time we read about Satan in the Bible is in Genesis 3:1. We are told that he is the shrewdest of all that God had made. And he makes his entrance into the Bible in dramatic fashion by approaching Eve, saying, “Did God really say…?” It’s not a bad question really, when you think about it. It is a question that invites conversation between the two parties involved. The problem is that it’s a damaging question.
Did God really say…
One of the most damaging things in the life of a Christian today is biblical illiteracy. I read a few articles recently, one titled The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches and another called The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem, that show some startling statistics regarding how biblically illiterate Christians are. Some of the statistics are hard to stomach and some are almost funny. One paragraph from the first article reads, “British parents didn’t do much better. Around 30 percent of parents don’t know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or the Good Samaritan are in the Bible. To make matters worse, 27 percent think Superman is or might be a biblical story. More than 1 in 3 believes the same about Harry Potter. And more than half (54 percent) believe The Hunger Games is or might be a story from the Bible.”
“Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible,” Albert Mohler writes in the latter article. He adds, “As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.” If you understand the life of Jesus at all, this statement actually makes sense. Throughout the gospels, it is clear that Jesus didn’t expect those who were not part of the church to know much about biblical truths. He led them into discussion about it and after their encounter with him, in most circumstances wanted to change their ways and follow him, although there were a few exceptions.
Mohler continues though, “The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.”
And herein lies the problem. When it’s broken down to its root, Satan has been asking one question since he first arrived on the scene, “Did God really say…?” Adam and Eve fell for it, and they walked with God in the Garden of Eden. People have been falling for this question for a long time.
The challenge for the Church, especially in the Western world, is that Christians are more biblically illiterate than ever before. This means that they don’t even know what God says. If the Christian doesn’t know what God says, how can they even answer the question, “Did God really say…?” And it’s a question that is attacking many facets of everyday life in devastating ways. Mohler asks, “How can a generation be biblically shaped in its understanding of human sexuality when it believes Sodom and Gomorrah to be a married couple?” Remember, Mohler is addressing Christians and ignoring secular society as he asks this.
The two great needs of this time in the lives of Christians are these: Time spent with God in meditation and prayer, and, time spent in the Word of God. It is time to make biblical illiteracy history.