When I was in high school, I felt dumb around my friends. I had only recently become a Christian and didn't know any of the Bible stories like everyone else did. So I started reading the Bible on my own for an hour and a half a day, and one day something clicked. I realized the Bible was alive and spoke to me as a young person.
That once-common experience is becoming more and more rare. If you're a millennial, you're part of an entire generation that is losing touch with the Bible, even though it could do great things in all our lives.
According to recent Barna Group research, nearly three out of five young Christians will leave church life, either permanently or for an extended period. I believe that's driven at least in part by a lack of engagement with Scripture. One-third of millennials say that they never read the Bible, according to another study, and nearly half say they read the Bible fewer than twice a year, far higher percentages than any other generation.
If you, as a young person, feel your problems and stories are unwelcome in church and feel the Bible has little to tell you, it's natural that you'd begin to disengage. Faith, including Bible study, falls by the wayside. It's not that life is without its problems — after all, who doesn't worry about relationships or money. However, if you're under forty, it's likely that you or your peers might not believe the Bible holds the solutions.
I am convinced that biblical teaching and study are relevant to all our problems and challenges, and they're critical for a fulfilled life. The Scripture not only provides the story of creation and the gospel, but it contains lessons that instruct the reader in how to live well and find purpose. Even if you aren't sure what you think about the Bible, dive into it for yourself and discover how it speaks to you.
By "feasting" on the words of the Bible, readers get to know the Word of God firsthand, understanding Him in a new way. In my work at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship I have seen it again and again — once students start studying God's word intently, they begin to understand the world from God's perspective, and their life and faith find new meaning.
This isn't just an American phenomenon. All over the world, Wycliffe Bible Translators is translating the Bible into every human tongue so people everywhere can read it in their native language. I have seen people read a translation for the first time, and the proverbial light bulb clicks on in their head. There is no substitute for deep, serious study of the Bible. Everywhere the Bible spreads, it has a transformative effect.
That's why efforts like #WhyBible, Wycliffe's annual campaign to promote conversation about the relevance of the Bible to modern life, are so important. Each year the campaign sparks online discussion about how the Bible changes lives. #WhyBible 2018 - held last month on September 30, International Translation Day - saw participants from all over the world and raised thousands of dollars to fund Bible translation. In conjunction with #WhyBible 2018, Wycliffe released a free e-book detailing six of the most effective techniques that introduce and guide people in studying Scripture. One is the inductive method, which helps you interpret Scripture with the original audience in mind and then see its relevance to your own life.
Our culture may take it for granted that we have 24/7 access to a Bible in our native language, but it's important to remember that access is a privilege, one that can help all of us find fulfillment in our lives. When people turn to Scripture for guidance, it changes their lives for good. Visit Wycliffe.org/whybible to learn more about reminding the world that the Scriptures are more relevant than ever. There you can also find articles, Bible study help and devotionals to help you dive deeper into the Scriptures.