Barna Group just released a study revealing the most “Bible-minded” cities in America. Being “Bible-minded” means the people polled in that city read the Bible weekly and hold to its accuracy in teaching. Of the 96 cities polled, only 5 cities ranked 50% or higher. The highest overall are generally in the South and the lowest are in New England.
Of course, meeting the criteria of this poll doesn’t necessarily mean the person polled is a Christian. But the fact remains that the Bible is not a foundational part of American’s lives. With around 70% of Americans claiming to be Christian, it appears that perhaps only half of us are “Bible-minded.” (This is a rough estimation, but I think it is fair.) The word of God has been relegated to being another book on the self, or in the e-reader. It remains in the culture as guide among many, utilized when convenient.
What would it look like for the Bible to take root in our lives once more? The Bible has always been relevant, but its relevance needs to be promoted. It has always been instructive, but its application needs to be made more critically. Its words are inspired by the creator of the universe, our creator, and as such it provides better truth, goodness, and beauty than anything it competes against in our lives.
A series of short, five minute films were made in 1962, each based on a Psalm. My favorite is from Psalm 3, called “The Crowd.” It stars William Shatner as actor and narrator, and the screenplay was written by him as well. Rather than describe the film, I will point you to watching it on Youtube.
I appreciate this film because it portrays a man so rooted in biblical thinking that his mind goes to the Psalms in a time of trouble. He seeks comfort not in a bottle or a woman, but in the inspired words of a man after God’s own heart. The more we read the Bible and the more we trust its accuracy, the more we depend on God, its author.