The latest statistics bear out exactly what the message of Bearing the Standard proclaims: many people think that the Bible is vital for establishing our values, determining our beliefs, and dictating the boundaries of our behavior… yet only a small portion are willing to actually live by what the Word of God says.
The State of the Bible 2013 report—a nationwide study commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Research—found that while “66% of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, 58% say they don’t personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible.” This means that at best, less than two-thirds of those with such a pro-Bible view (and at worst, only 10%) are willing to submit their daily lives to the authority of Scripture.
But it gets worse.
Among self-professed “practicing Protestants,” the number of those agreeing that the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life rose to 79%. Nevertheless, out of this group,
- 50% were uninterested in wisdom or advice from the Bible about family conflict
- 60% were uninterested in any about parenting
- 67% were uninterested in any about romance and sexuality
- 74% were uninterested in any about dating and relationships
- and 82% were uninterested in any wisdom or advice from the Bible about divorce
(and all these stats are even higher among Catholics)
Nearly nine in ten “practicing Protestants” believe that the values and morals of America are declining, and the most-cited cause for the decline is a lack of Bible reading. So why is there such a severe disconnect between what believers believe about the importance of the Bible, and how much we listen to and do what it says?
Because we have failed to bear the standard of Scripture.
As I say in my book,
[B]earing that standard means far more than simply recognizing Scripture as the objective, authoritative, written Word of God. It’s even more than knowing what the Scriptures say—more than faithfully turning to the Word for comfort, counsel and inspiration. If it is our true intention to renounce the voices we have allowed to influence us—to no longer live only for ourselves, but to follow Yeshua completely and without compromise—then it’s time to wake up, and totally commit our lives to God’s Word in absolute, unconditional obedience….
As faithful disciples of Messiah, and humble servants of the God of Israel, our “grand business” before Him is simply to obey. We have neither the prerogative nor the responsibility to determine our own beliefs, establish our own values, or prescribe our own boundaries for behavior. On the contrary, even though the mere thought of being ordered around makes us squirm in our rebellious skin, our job is no more and no less than to just do what we’re told.
This, of course, is a slap in the face to our post-modern, Western sensibilities, which tell us to value independence above all, and to define freedom as the license to do as we see fit.
Bottom line: we very much like that the Scriptures have something to say… we just aren’t particularly inclined to listen and obey. The question is: are you willing to stand up and be counted for the Master? Or are you content to be just another lame statistic?