“I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”—Psalm 119:15-16
We live in what is sometimes referred to as “the Bible belt” of the United States. If we were to identify this area geographically, it would encompass the southeastern region of the U.S., extending a bit into the Midwest. Come election time, this is the area known as “red states,” an area populated by social conservatives, and dotted with Protestant evangelical churches. Thus, the moniker—“the Bible belt.”
Perception and reality are not always the same, however. Living in the Bible belt doesn’t necessarily mean you know a lot about the Bible. Statistically, Bible knowledge across the southeast is not much better than the rest of the nation, and it has fallen precipitously in the last several generations. If current trends stay the same, this problem will only increase in the present generation.
There are many reasons for the decline, including a failure to meet certain cultural challenges and negligence in discipleship. But one of the reasons Bible reading and knowledge have declined is because we’ve forgotten how to read the Bible. I hear it all the time, “I do not understand the Bible. I read it, or I try to. But then, after a while, I’m lost and just give up.” Sound familiar? It should.
This is a common problem, but not just for us. Luke tells us that the same concern was present in New Testament. For instance, in Acts 8:26-40 Phillip meets with an Ethiopian Eunuch who is reading the prophet Isaiah. Phillip asks him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And the Ethiopian responds, “How can I unless someone guides me?”
A lot of us, I’m afraid, feel the exact same way. I’ve tried the Bible, but it’s so confusing to me. Will I ever know what the Bible is really about? The new sermon series was specifically designed with that question in mind. I’m calling it, “The Bible: The Story of God’s Love.” In this series, we will take a big picture look at the whole Bible, exploring the Bible’s central message and purpose. My prayer is that this series will awaken (or reawaken) us all to the richness of God’s Word, drawing us into its beauty and depth, leading us to greater love for Christ and the gospel.