Because of the large number of students on grounds at Falls Creek each summer, the student ministry office of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma takes the opportunity to survey several of them on various biblical and life issues.
In the summer of 2017, approximately 2,800 students participated in the surveys. This series of articles seeks to share some of the information gathered in those surveys and challenge churches and leaders to help students mature in their faith and walk with Jesus.
The Word of God
Students were asked, “Is there an absolute moral truth based on the word of God?” Ninety-one percent of respondents said, “Yes.” Furthermore, 93 percent of students said they believed the Bible was accurate in all it teaches.
However, when asked, “Do you read your Bible daily?” only 18 percent answered Yes. Fifty-eight percent said they read their Bible at least once a month, and 26 percent indicated they memorized Scripture once a month.
When asked to choose what helps them most in their walk with God, students ranked “reading the Bible” fifth out of six choices. Some things that ranked ahead of Scripture reading were events (camps, retreats, etc.), Christian friends and attending church.
So, what are some conclusions we can draw from this information? It is evident that students say they have a high regard for the Scripture. They believe it is accurate in all it teaches and contains absolute moral truth. However, practically speaking, students do not read, study or memorize it with any consistency.
There is no need to search any further than this information to understand why so many of our students are seriously doubting or abandoning their faith in college. Having a high reverence for Scripture is not the same as knowing it and testing it daily in a Christ-honoring walk of faith.
It should be no surprise that when students, who have a shallow knowledge of God’s Word, are confronted by confident purveyors of faithless ideologies, they are immediately conflicted and struggle to maintain “faith” in light of what they perceive as “reason.”
This is both an indictment on the student’s understanding of God’s Word and on us as Christian leaders, who have not done enough to present the Bible’s message and content as the anchor of a reasonable faith.
Youth pastors and parents must serve as models and mentor students in the area of personal Bible study! Events come and go, and Christian friends are only as helpful as the maturity they possess.
Students need a steady diet of God’s word and the helps necessary to study and understand the scripture, which in its richness and fullness undergirds the work of the Spirit in the creation of a mature Christ follower.
Churches must build strong small group ministries which teach the Word as complete in truth and abundant in application. The Word of God is a steady tent pole in the life of a believer and without it, the faith we maintain is in danger of toppling with even the lightest of skeptical breezes.