Monday, April 30, 2018

Why Don’t Most Churches Teach The Bible?

           The Bible should be studied, not read. Unless the Bible is studied, its rich content cannot be understood. The Bible is the Word of God; the 66 books that make up the Bible belong to different genres, or types, of text (Narrative, Poetry, Wisdom, Prophecy, Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypse). One cannot understand poetry as he/she understands a narrative. Hence the need to study the Bible gains greater credibility.  

            Christians’ faith in God and their relationship with God is always consistent with the extent and intensity of their Bible study. It’s more likely that the Christians’ relationship with God be deeper and better if their study of the Bible is rigorous. This is a no-brainer.

            The term ‘churches’ in the title refers only to those churches subscribing to Historic Christianity. Hence, it does not include the postmodern, the liberal, the progressive or the emergent churches. So the title, “Why Don’t Most Churches Teach The Bible?” incriminates only those churches subscribing to Historic Christianity that do not teach the Bible.

            Quite a few churches take great effort to teach the Bible to its members. These churches preach from the Bible and they conduct sincere and intense Bible study programs. Blessed are those who utilize these opportunities to study the Bible. Even those worshipping in such churches are blessed because they have a convenient opportunity to study the Bible.

            However, many churches do not teach the Bible to its members. Hence, those worshipping in these churches are deprived of an opportunity to study the Bible.

Why Don’t Churches Teach The Bible?

            Indifferent Pastor: The pastor is the leader of the church. If the pastor is not keen on teaching the Bible to its members, then, more often than not, the church would not teach the Bible.

            There are many reasons for a pastor to be indifferent towards teaching the Bible. A pastor may not have the time to prepare for the Bible study or he may have other priorities. But the fact remains that he is indifferent to the importance of Bible study, hence his church does not focus on teaching the Bible to its members.

            Institutional Church: If the church remains bogged down in a package of programs, committees, policies, team, ministries, initiatives, budgets and events, then the church may be an institutional church or on its way to being one. There’s nothing different between this church and an organization.

            A church is an institutional church when its primary agenda is in the material, and not in the spiritual. Such a church would not be interested in Bible study since it is not interested in the spiritual growth of its members. Instead, the church would be scrupulously interested in its material growth (number of people attending the church, increased offering, and the likes).

            Ignorant Members: The Bible is filled with unpleasant truths. For instance, the Bible unequivocally states that unless a person believes in Christ, he/she cannot inherit eternal life. But a convenient lie to mask this unpleasant truth is that God saves everyone – those who believe in Christ and those who do not. This convenient lie is the doctrine of universalism or inclusivism.

            There are churches that choose to not preach the unpleasant truths. Instead, they preach the convenient lie. Such a church would rather let its members remain ignorant of the Bible. An ignorant mind cannot distinguish between a lie and the truth so it will accept the convenient lie as the truth. Hence the church leadership will have an easy time preaching the convenient lies.

            Intimacy With Culture: If the church prefers to be intimate with the popular culture, then it will refrain from teaching the Bible. However, the Bible consistently opposes the popular culture.

            If the popular idea is to accept homosexuality, a church that desires to be intimate with the culture would approve and endorse homosexuality. Such a church would not desire to teach the Bible since the Bible is explicit in its condemnation of homosexuality.

What About Small Group Bible Study?

            Some churches promote small groups within their congregation to teach the Bible. How effective are these small groups?

            Small group Bible studies can be very effective if there is a strong leader to lead the Bible study. Any small group will be effective only if the leader excels in teaching the Bible and guiding the Bible study.

            A temptation the devil throws at the small group Bible studies is to morph it into a social group where friendships, business collaborations, and whatnot, are cultivated diligently. Small group Bible studies will always need to fight the good fight to remain a Bible study group instead of morphing into a social outfit.

            Small group Bible study would also do better if it manages its time effectively. Any effective Bible study requires a minimum of 60 minutes to a maximum of 90 minutes per session.

            Bible study should consume the entire 60-90 minutes. Singing, prayer etc. should be outside this time. Anything less than 60-90 minutes for Bible study cannot lead to an effective study.

            The small group Bible study should meet every week. Apart from meeting every week, there should be homework for the participants to keep them engaged in the study during the week.

What If You Are Worshipping In A Church That Does Not Focus On Bible Study?

            Approach your church leadership and request them to begin a Bible study program. If they do not implement your sustained request, then you are probably left without an option but to look out for a private Bible study program or another church. 

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