The Importance of God's Word
We are surrounded by Christian resources. You can hear teaching and worship music anywhere, any time. There are thousands of Christian books written to encourage you in practically every area of life. There are more devotions than could fit on the shelves of any Christian bookstore. Podcasts, online sermons, and Christian websites abound.
Are all of these resources making God's children more mature and more faithful? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Instead of supplementing Bible study and prayer, Christian resources have been replacing them. The average Christian snacks on a devotional thought instead of feasting on God's Word.
Recently, Barna Group found that biblical literacy was at an all time low. Consider these findings:
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels.
Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.
60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.
82 percent of Americans believe "God helps those who help themselves" is a Bible verse.
12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that more than 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
While Christian books and devotionals can be helpful, nothing can or should substitute for the Bible, God's inspired Word. I've met strong believers who refer to the devotional Jesus Calling or My Upmost for His Highestmore than they refer to biblical texts.
We need to remember that only the Bible is God's inspired, authoritative Word. Men and women's interpretations of the Bible aren't divinely inspired. The apostle Paul applauded an early church group called the Bereans because they tested everything he taught them against the Scripture (Acts 17:10–12). They knew which source to prioritize!
Some people think I'm a very strange clinical psychologist when I refer to the Bible on issues like roles in marriage, sexuality, and raising children. However, the science of psychology has only been in existence for the past 150 years. In that short span, the opinions of "experts" have changed dramatically on how to define psychological health and morality. The Word of God, by contrast, is unchanging. It is as true today as it was when it was first inspired. I don't understand it all, I don't know how to make sense of every passage, but I have never seen it fail. As Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever."
Juli Slattery is a widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional. She co-founded Authentic Intimacy (www.authenticintimacy.com) and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?