The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Yet a brand-new Gallup poll suggests that the Word of God may be losing its prime position of esteem, at least here in America.
While the poll said that three in four in the U.S. still see the Bible as the Word of God, some 21 percent consider it “fables and history,” while only “28 percent of Americans believe the Bible should be taken literally.”
To put it in perspective, Gallup has asked these same questions for decades as part of its annual Values and Beliefs survey. Fortunately these numbers are not the all-time low, but they do represent difficult times for Bible-believing Christians and present obstacles to evangelism.
Here are some ways Christians could continue to stand alone on the Word of God, all while recognizing the new cultural climate.
/// Be ready ///
The best apologetics teachers insist that any discussion can be directed toward the things of God. If your co-worker is bashing the Bible, don’t get angry. Use it as a springboard to talk about what you believe and why you believe it (1 Pet. 3:15).
You do not have to have a Ph.D. in theology to know the basic evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, true success within conversations of faith often happens, not when we are presenting the best arguments, but when we are asking good questions.
/// Be consistent ///
Look no further than the Internet to know Christians live in a day when half-truths and lies abound. It is crucial we present time-honored truth in a consistent manner, rather than a sloppy one.
Some people accuse Christians of circular logic when it comes to believing the Bible is inspired by God. They say, “you say we know the Bible is inspired because it says it is.”
The truth of the matter is, we do not have circular logic, but we have what one writer called a spiral logic. In other words, our beliefs are rooted in reality and build on one another.
We start with the fact that the biblical writers claim to be divinely inspired. We then see there is good manuscript evidence that shows today’s copies are the same as the originals, and that the Scriptures are confirmed by history and archeology. We then point out it contains fulfilled prophecy and teaching unsurpassed. The Bible is truth, and we interpret it literally and literarily (meaning as the way the authors intended, complete with history, prophecy, poetry, figures of speech, parables and more).
/// Be joyful ///
When defending the Bible, Christians often fall into the trap of being overly defensive or argumentative. From the example of the New Testament writers, far from being angry Bible thumpers, we are to be joyful stewards of His Truth.
Oklahoma Baptists are blessed with wonderful pastors and teachers who set the bar high with a gracious spirit, reflecting the Lord who came full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14). Any believer can live that same way. No matter how hostile the attitudes toward the Bible or our faith, we can rise above it.
/// Trust the Lord for
the result ///
No matter how equipped we are, we cannot argue anyone into Heaven or do the work that belongs to the Holy Spirit. Public opinion polls come and go. The beliefs of men about the Bible tell us more about the men than the Bible. As Christians, we know that God’s Word will stand the test of time, will stand for eternity.
When we contend for the Faith, let’s do so with confidence. For we know, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away. But the Word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Pet. 1:24-25).