One church leader described it as “scandalous.” He’s referring to Americans’ knowledge of Bible content.

It’s true that the average American would not fare well on a Bible quiz. Many cannot name the four gospels, or more than two or three of the disciples, or many of the 10 Commandments. Some believe Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife, and that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Some Christian leaders say this lack of biblical literacy is the chief cause of society’s moral decay. But others are not so sure. Pastor and author Jeremy Myers said, “The problem is not that people don’t know the Bible. The problem is that we don’t even follow or practice the little bits we do know.”

And Myers fears that some preachers and teachers may actually be contributing to the problem by implying that accumulation of Bible knowledge is the ultimate goal.

What’s the ultimate goal? I’d argue that it’s a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is a means to that end. To that end, I read the Bible daily. I love how it points me to Jesus. (That’s become more powerful since I’ve been reading The Jesus-Centered Bible, which makes frequent color-coded links to Jesus throughout, including in the Old Testament.)Jesus-Centered Bible

If we truly desire for people to know, love and follow Jesus, I’m not sure it helps to discount them for under-performing in a Bible Jeopardy game. But I pray, as they read the scriptures, they’ll get better acquainted with God and his incredible love for them. I’m less concerned that they can regurgitate the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Can we shift our focus from viewing the Bible as an academic compendium of facts, figures and names, to an adventuresome account of a loving God who sacrificed everything for us, who invites us to follow him everywhere?

I invite you to listen to my conversation with Jeremy Myers about the Bible and its role in our lives–in this week’s Holy Soup podcast here: