FIRST-PERSON: 'That's the Book for me'

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- "The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E."

For decades, these lyrics have been on the lips of boys and girls in Sunday School classes around the world. If taken to heart, they contain a lasting truth that can withstand life's greatest tests, as well as waves of skepticism young people will face from the entertainment industry, the academic world and elsewhere.

Yet research shows that many of the children who learned these lyrics, while they may still believe in the Bible, don't live like it. Even in the "Bible Belt," we feel the effects. Among summer campers at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, a recent survey found that 93 percent of students said they believe the Bible is accurate in everything it teaches, yet only 18 percent said they read it daily.

In the same survey, asked what helps them most in their walk with God, students ranked "reading the Bible" fifth out of six choices. Among the things ahead of Scripture reading were events (camps, retreats, etc.), Christian friends and attending church.

Christian events, friends and worship services are, of course, good things. But research shows there is no substitute for daily Bible reading.

The Center for Bible Engagement of the Back to the Bible ministry found that reading the Bible four times a week is the "magic number." If a person reads their Bible fewer than four times weekly, they are more likely to engage in destructive behaviors, such as drunkenness or fornication.

If, however, a person reads their Bible at least four times weekly, they are less likely to engage in these destructive behaviors and are more likely to engage in productive behavior, such as prayer, evangelism, graciousness toward others, marital commitment and personal ethics in the workplace.

What's at stake in regard to Bible engagement, then, is theological and behavioral. That is partly why it is so encouraging to see one new development in America. Last month, the Museum of the Bible opened in our nation's capital.

Founded by the Green family (of Hobby Lobby), the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is the largest museum in the world devoted to presenting the history, narrative and impact of the Bible.

Since 2009, Steve and Jackie Green have been planning the presentation of archaeological finds pertaining to the Bible and the world's most impressive display of materials relating to the Bible's original writings, its preservation and its distribution around the globe.

I, for one, cannot wait to see the wonders of God's Holy Word on display in this first-rate museum. Yet, the museum will be important not just for Bible-believing folks like me. For honest skeptics, the museum will show the unquestionable significance of the Bible in our world. For seekers, the museum will speak to minds and hearts.

Indeed, the Museum of the Bible is one way we must awaken an awe and newfound appreciation for the Word of God. If local churches and national efforts like the museum are successful, we can expect the full power of God's Word to be unleashed on a nation walking in darkness.

If we are unsuccessful, then the B-I-B-L-E children's song will be left in the dust bin of memories, and even worse, an entire generation will have missed completely the ultimate memo from God to all of mankind: the Bible.

Brian Hobbs is editor of The Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, where this article first appeared.
To hear a Baptist Messenger interview of Museum of the Bible founders Steve and Jackie Green, go to https://www.baptistmessenger.com/messenger-insight-291-an-interview-with-the-museum-of-the-bible-founders. For further information about the Bible reading survey, reported by Andy Harrison, Falls Creek program director, go to https://www.baptistmessenger.com/falls-creek-surveys-18-percent-read-bible-daily.
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