5 Steps to Lead a Bible-Reading Revolution

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Leaders need to rise up and ignite a Bible reading revolution.

According to my best estimates, Bible reading in America has been on the decline for the last 50 years.

Americans still respect the Bible. According to Uncover magazine (Summer, 2012), 80 percent of us believe the Bible is “sacred.”

And we still own Bibles. Eighty-five percent of households have at least two Bibles in the home. We even wish we read the Bible more. That same 85 percent express the desire to read it more than they do.

So, what’s holding us back?

I’m tempted to say “the Devil,” but acknowledging his role doesn’t really solve the problem.

On a practical level, the problem is leadership. We need leaders to rise up, pray up and gang up on the reasons people don’t read the Bible.

More than ever, what our country needs is a Bible Reading Revolution.

Why People DON’T Read the Bible:

According to Barna Research, the top four reasons people don’t read the Bible are:

  • Lack of time.
  • The language is difficult.
  • They don’t get excited to read it.
  • They don’t understand the background or history.

These are solvable problems! 

Men and women regularly feel crazy busy. Then they meet someone, and all of a sudden they find time to be with that person. Why? Because they’re in love. 

How do we help people develop a love for the Bible? We lower the pain-level of the other three problems.

  • If the language of the Bible is difficult, let’s introduce them to easier versions. The Message is an easy-to-digest paraphrase. The NLT is written on a third-grade reading level. The NIV is also written at an elementary level. For non-readers, there are a half dozen decent audio Bibles out there.
  • If lack of excitement is a problem, let’s make the Bible exciting for them. Infection is the best way to spread any disease. 
  • If they don’t understand the background and history, let’s give it to them!

How to Help People Read the Bible:

1. Get on a campaign.

During a normal sermon series, the pastor preaches on a passage or topic and the listeners read something else in their personal lives. If they’re in a small group or Sunday school class, they learn something different there. Learning is fragmented.

A Church Campaign combines preaching, reading and group study. It’s the magnifying effect of focus—the sun can warm you, but a laser can cut through steel.

Hal is the Founding Pastor of New Song Church in Oceanside, CA. New Song has helped launch a church planting movement that has planted 163,000 churches in the past fifteen years. His latest book "The Bible Questions" is designed to launch a Bible Reading Revolution in our churches and cities. To get the book, or the Campaign Kit, or find out how to participate in the movement, go to www.pastormentor.com.

More from Hal Seed or visit Hal at http://www.pastormentor.com

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  • Rick-SW Florida

    A very timely message indeed. Our younger generation in church appear Biblically illiterate. And the older generation are very blaise about the Scriptures. The HOLY SPIRIT wants to make it exciting, instructive and corrective in our daily lives!

  • whitey bird

    As another article I just read this morning quoting C.S. Lewis ” “We don’t need to be told new ideas as much as we need to be reminded of old truths.” Thanks for the article Hal.

  • DCG

    When a former church did a Bible reading campaign for the summer months–The Bible in 90 Days–the pastor was inundated with appointments made by those who said they didn’t know THAT was in the Bible. But, the article is correct. Without the pastor’s affirmation of this campaign, few would have felt motivated to participate.

  • Hal (not the same hal)

    I admit I skimmed this article and there are good suggestions. I started a Bible reading program in Fall 2011 with the New Testament and Gen 1 on Jan 1 2012. I sent out hundreds of invites to churches to participate by me sending every one interested an email every Friday with next week’s schedule and a “lite ” commentary. Pastor has to do nothing to receive this – get someone else to put up a copy and where to order. no cost to anyone. You probably guessed, only one church responded and it is a part of the Christian Motorcyclist Association that brings thousands to Christ every year. Even my pastor friends and colleges – not interested

    Starting Gen 1 on Jan 1 2013 and going clear through again with a built in emphasis on the OT prophecies and fulfillment in NT. No, I have never studied the Bible with that format either and having worked it mostly through now, yes it is fun and Christ expanding.

    P.S. Outside USA TBFF is send each week to 6 other countries around the world.
    Interested????? Thebiblefridayfolder@yahoo.com

  • Ryan

    I read the bible in anticipation of hearing from God. Yes, it’s all God’s word but as I’m reading along, things will stick out and touch me,.. touch my heart based on circumstances going on in my life. The trick is getting past the stories and what peole were doing and read into the heart of what was going on. This is what makes the bible so realavent for today despite the time it was written or the culture it came from. Heart wise, we as humanity have always been and are all the same. If you read the bible in respect to the heart of humanity and heart of God, it will get you down beneath the surface stories into real heart matters that we can learn from. For me anyway, God does not say all that much. A phrase here. A verse there. If I’m really lucky, a couple verses or so and what ever he says tends to really hit hard with very few words. If you explain to people like I have here how God will speak directly to them, things that are specifically for them, this might get people excited. It keeps me reading. I want to hear from God. I get concerned when I go serveral days reading the bible and don’t get any word from the Lord.

  • standingupforJC

    “Because more than anything, what every church and every city in this country needs is a Bible Reading Revolution.” – I must agree! =D