A growing disconnect between Bible ownership and Bible reading in America has made many Christian leaders throughout the nation worried.
Although approximately 88 percent of Americans reportedly own a Bible, less than half of those people read the Bible more than once a month, a previous study found.
Looking for a way to resolve the problem, several concerned leaders within Christian Bible agencies, denominations and ministries, gathered together this week in Orlando, Fla., for the Forum of Bible Agencies North America Summit.
Realizing that change began with their own selves first, more than 300 Christian leaders signed the Uncover the Word Commitment pledging to practice daily Bible engagement in their own lives as well as encourage it within their spheres of influence.
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren and the president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Samuel Rodriguez joined the call to action as well, challenging their fellow leaders to rebuild Bible engagement in North America.
Leaders committed to: declaring their confidence in God’s living and active Word, renewing their personal daily encounter with God through the Bible, restoring the Bible to a place of centrality, and dedicating themselves to create compelling invitations to engaging with the Bible.
“Through Uncover the Word we aim to help people discover that the Bible is not a dusty, outdated book but has much to say about today’s most pressing issues,” Lamar Vest, president and CEO of American Bible Society told The Christian Post via email.
“Further, we want to help people find a Bible format-high tech or low tech-that best fits their lifestyle so they can experience its message on a consistent basis and positively impact those around them.”
“Let’s re-energize churches and communities all across our country to rediscover the best resource available to grow in relationship with our Creator and into the likeness of Christ,” Vest affirmed.
The Uncover the Word movement was created by the American Bible Society and embraced by the Forum of Bible Agencies and other national ministries. The organizations involved have been increasingly discussing the lack of engagement with God’s Word.
“We made the decision earlier this year that we needed to join forces and take immediate action,” the previous chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals shared with CP. “So we brought together top researchers from across the Church to respond to the growing challenge of Bible engagement.”
A recent study conducted by ABS found that 86 percent of Americans still considered the Bible to be sacred or holy.
However, even though they held those beliefs, they did not look to the Bible as a roadmap for life, Vest stated.
“If we were actually reading the contents of the Bible on a consistent basis, wouldn’t the world look a little better?”
Popular depictions of American society made it appear as though people were just too sophisticated for belief in God, the CEO explained. While that was true for some, he believed that one of the main reasons Christians did not read the Bible today was because they were too distracted.
Through Uncover the Word, he and other leaders hoped that people would begin to recognize that the Bible as a gift from God – a roadmap answering all of life’s questions from dating to raising kids to death.
“No how-to book can begin to compare to the information available to us in the Bible.”
Despite many attempts by some to remove the Bible from public life, recent research by ABS showed that 54 percent of Americans actually believed the Bible had too little influence on culture.
“Our hope is that Uncover the Word will ignite a movement of Bible readers and cultural influencers,” Vest said in a statement.
He also told CP, “Our hope continues to be not just more Bible reading, but more Christ-like transformation.”
“While there is value in uncovering God’s Word in our lives, we are convinced that [a real, genuine] change is in the job description of God. Through Uncover the Word we want to help people understand all that they have the opportunity to experience about the heart of God and that it can be done in just a few minutes per day.”
American Bible Society has been working for 195 years to give people access to the Bible in every format and language. They are based in Manhattan and is one of the nation’s oldest nonprofit organizations.