Posts Tagged ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet’

Biblical illiteracy: What to do?

December 13, 2017

Biblical illiteracy

December is Spiritual Literacy Month, focusing on what has been defined as “the ability to read the signs written in the texts of our own experiences.” As a committed believer with a passion to study and teach the Word of God, one of my foremost concerns is “Biblical Literacy” in the face of rampant “Biblical Illiteracy” which is has escalated to epidemic proportions in the Christian community.

Since 2011 the American Bible Society has released in-depth findings in its annual The State of the Bible Survey, which details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, number of Bibles per household, the Bible’s role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more. Some of the highlights from the survey for 2017 are included below:

  • The vast majority of households own at least one Bible, a proportion that has stayed relatively consistent since 2011. Nearly nine out of 10 U.S. adults (87%) say their household owns a Bible, with a median of 3.4 Bibles per household
  • Nearly one-third of adults surveyed say they never read, listen to or pray with the Bible (32%), a five-percentage point increase over 2016 (27%).
  • More than half of all adults surveyed wish they read the Bible more often (58%). This is down slightly from 2016 (61%). Each segment of the survey expresses a desire for more Bible reading, but despite this, two-thirds (67%) say their level of Bible-reading is about the same as it was one year ago.
  • Most Bible users (91%) still prefer to use a print version of the Bible when engaging with scripture; however, an equal number (92%) report using another Bible format than print in the past year. Using technology-related formats is also on the rise.

Although most Americans own a Bible, their actual reading and understanding of the Bible reveals something else.  George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in widely quoted survey results, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.” According to Gallup, “Despite the impressive statistics concerning Bible reading and study, it is apparent that ignorance about its contents is widespread.”

Woodrow Kroll, president of Back to the Bible, made this comment: “When we speak of creeping Bible illiteracy in America, we are not talking about the inability to read but the choice not to read…This failure to read the Bible consistently, or to hear its truth consistently, is the major factor in Bible illiteracy in America. It is an epidemic in …America.”

In the midst of pervasive Bible illiteracy, what can one individual do to combat this devastating situation? The Scriptures indicate that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, knowledge of the Word of God (Hosea 4:6). Unfortunately Christians are woefully ignorant of the principles of the Bible and their practical application in daily living. The consequence of such ignorance is destruction. Throughout the New Testament, the phrase “I would not have you to be ignorant” is used. If we are not to be ignorant, then expectations are that we are to become enlightened as we read and apply the Word of God which is “a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet.”

The best way to counter “Biblical illiteracy” is to support “Biblical literacy.” An old adage states, “If you don’t know, learn. Once you know, then teach.” We can teach by precept and by example, as we pursue the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that come from reading and studying the Scriptures.

In the coming year each believer can become a “Committee of One” to work to combat Biblical ignorance and help stamp out Biblical Illiteracy. Each of us can develop a strategy to read the Bible more in the coming year than previously. We can maintain a schedule to become consistent in our reading and studying of the Word of God. If you’ve never read the Bible all the way through, consider setting that as a goal this year. Various online resources provide Bible reading schedules to assist. If you are not involved in a Bible Study group, explore that possibility as a means of becoming more involved in “studying to show yourself approved as a workman of the Word.”

 As each of us becomes more enlightened, we can share what we have learned with others and apply the principles to our own lives as well. Just as light dispels darkness, so the Psalmist reminds us that “The entrance to Your word gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.” Jesus Christ also spoke these words “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine that men might see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

The lyrics to an old Perry Como song “Just One Little Candle” express a great truth:

It is better to light just one little candle,
Than to stumble in the dark!
Better far that you light just one little candle,
All you need’s a tiny spark!

If we’d all say a prayer that the world would be free,
The wonderful dawn of a new day we’ll see!
And, if everyone lit just one little candle,
What a bright world this would be!

This song also brings to mind “Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet” with the Maranatha Singers:

As we conclude this year and move into 2018, may the New Year be a year in which the eyes of our understanding are flooded with light, as we read and teach the Word of God as never before.

What are some of the ways to address the issue of biblical illiteracy? Share your thoughts.

A lamp and a light

November 17, 2016

psalm 119 105

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for November 17, 2016 is taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Also known as the Torah Psalm, this passage makes reference to Word of God in every verse, employing such synonyms as “statues, Law, judgments, precepts, etc. One of the most familiar metaphors used to describe the Scriptures is found in Psalm 119:105 (NKJV):

[ן Nun] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Biblical scholar, EW Bullinger, points out that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each, with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).  This arrangement made the psalm easier to memorize, according to the Holman Bible Handbook.

 

The Verse of the Day is part of the Nun section set to music in the following video by Clear:

 

 

This particular verse was among the first scripture memory songs that I ever composed with the following lyrics:

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

When I am in the dark

And cannot find my way,

I open up the Bible

To see what God will say.

I look and find the answer

And then I gladly obey.

 

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

When you have a problem,

And you don’t know what to do,

Just open up the Bible

See what God says to you.

Just look and find the answer.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

 

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

Psalm 119:105 is the inspiration for this worship composition “Lamp unto My Feet” by Hillsong

 

 

 

 

David W. Morris is the worship leader on “Thy Word” (Psalm 119:105) by Hosanna! Music.

 

Reflecting on Psalm 119:105 is a great way to launch our day.