Idol Chatter

As the new Star Wars movie Solo makes its debut, the American Bible Society decided to survey people to find out if they could tell the difference between a quote from Jesus and a quote from Han Solo and the results were astonishing.

As part of the American Bible’s Society’s annual State of the Bible Survey, participants of the survey were asked whether Jesus or Hands Solo said, “You are from this world, but I am not.” While 48 percent knew these were Jess’ words, as found in the Gospel of John, nearly the same number did not know who said it or thought it was neither Jesus nor Han Solo.

Founded in 1816, American Bible Society works to make the Bible available to every person in various formats and languages that people can understand and afford so that all may receive the message of Jesus Christ.

The survey the American Bible Study conducted showed that higher Bible engagement – as measured by frequency of Bible reading as well as the impact of the Bible on choices, relationships and lives – equated with the correct identification of Jesus – 78 percent of Bible Centered and 71 percent of Bible Engaged, knew these words were spoken by Jesus.

Recent studies show that most Americans, even Evangelicals who love and quote Scripture have little understanding of the Bible. According to a report by Barna Group and American Bible Society, majority of U.S. adults said they considered themselves “highly, moderately or somewhat knowledgeable of the Bible,” but less than half of the group were able to name the first five books of the Bible, and in previous reports even fewer knew that John the Baptist was not one of the 12. When you ask many Christians how often they engage with the Bible, they will say often but engage with it very little outside of the context of church, and daily emailed Scripture. We can’t deny that many Christians have trouble reading the Bible.

Some experts believe that the decline in Biblical literacy is because of the changing ways Americans view the Bible. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There was a time when Christians were known as ‘people of the book’. They were often engulfed in the Bible, memorizing it, meditating on it, and sharing that Scripture with others. In today’s age, our world is so fast-paced, and our attention spans are so short that many Christians don’t spend time engaging in the Bible like we used to. This is so common that many Christians don’t know basic facts about the Bible or even Jesus’ teachings. Another reason is because many Christians don’t think of the Bible as an authoritative voice but more as a book filled with one-liner wisdom.

Statistics show that just a little over a third of Americans read the Bible once a week or more and over a quarter of Americans never read the Bible. But there is hope. Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society believes the findings of this survey point to an opportunity for increased Bible’s literacy.

“It’s encouraging to see that many Americans recognized this quote from Jesus,” said Peterson. “However, with roughly 50 percent unclear as to who said it, it is evident there is a wonderful opportunity for American’s knowledge for the Bible to increase.”

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