The phrase, “God helps those that help themselves”, Is often quoted as a favourite Bible verse (especially amongst pickpockets and shoplifters.) If you thought that this non-Biblical verse comes from the Bible you are in good company. According to an official survey, 82 percent of Americans, thought so as well.
We get a sense of the widespread Biblical ignorance when we find that fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of the population can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.
And at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Another survey of students graduating from high school revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. And many thought that The Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. Although the Bible is still a best seller, we have become a generation of Biblical illiterates.
Early on in his ministry, Billy Graham said, “When the Bible goes down, anarchy and confusion will take its place. This will be followed by a condition, such as the world has never known. This generation has to face the appalling fact that it is either back to the Bible, or back to the jungle.”
We neglect the study of the Bible at our own peril. The Bible makes it clear that the way to progress and develop your spiritual life is to spend time studying and meditating on the Word of God.
When Paul gathered with the elders on the beach at Miletus, it was an emotional scene. He was on his way to Rome to be tried and faced probable execution. They knew they would never see him again. In a stirring farewell speech he had a final word of assurance for them, “I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up.” Acts 20.32
When Joshua took over from Moses to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, he was given this advice: “Study this Book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1.8
No book has had so much impact on the world as the Bible. George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Former British Prime Minister, William Gladstone said, “I have known 95 great men of the world in my time and of these, 87 were followers of the Bible.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “This book is God’s greatest gift to mankind. All the good things we know about God are communicated to us through this book.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said, “This is no mere book, but a living creature with a power to conquer all that would oppose it.”
And then there were the doubters. Voltaire said, “Within 100 years you will only find the Bible in museums – today his own house is the office for the Geneva Bible Society.
The American agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, predicted that within 15 years the Bible would be in a morgue – not long afterwards he was in a morgue and the Bible is still a best seller.
It is time for us to get back to the Bible or back to the jungle. It is time for us to read, study, and meditate on the Word of God. It is sharper than any two edged sword; it is alive and powerful; it is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces, a fire that burns up the chaff, and a sword that pierces into your inmost soul until you are no longer reading the Bible, but the Bible is reading you.