The Barna Group has recently released data that is slightly positive, but also incredibly frightening and sad. The good news is a survey they conducted shows about two-thirds of all Americans believe that the Bible is the “actual, inspired word of God.” Now for the bad news: only 16 percent of millennials believe that the Bible is actually God’s word. Because of this sad development, Wycliffe Bible Translators are initiating a month-long #WhyBible campaign “to spark discussion about why the Bible matters today and to share stories about its incredible impact on individuals, communities and the world,” according to Scott Everhart, senior director of marketing at Wycliffe Bible Translators.
An uphill battle
In a country where our beliefs and the word of God are attacked daily, it is really a wonder that so many millennials still believe. We are constantly fed media that makes religion, and Christianity in particular, look foolish and harmful. In movies and shows, villains and wackos often wield the Bible as their source of inspiration. Celebrities and governmental officials have recently gone as far as to say that Christian fundamentalists are as dangerous as radicalized terrorists. Think back on all the movies you’ve seen come out in the past few years and all the shows you’ve watched; when did you ever see a decent portrayal of a true, Bible-believing Christian?
In light of this, many millennials who were raised in Christian homes are being pulled further away from God’s word every day, and younger generations are becoming even less likely to pursue God’s truth. That’s not even considering those that have had no exposure to Christianity at home. Those who were brought up without any Christians in their lives have been trained to believe that Christians are lunatics.
It may sound like I’m exaggerating; unfortunately, I’m not. Urban Dictionary defines Christianity in cringe-worthy terms: “The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.”
Changing that mentality is going to be an uphill battle.
Speak the language
Enter Wycliffe Bible Translators USA.
Wycliffe has been sending missionaries to unreached people groups and translating the Bible into their languages for nearly 75 years. While not all people groups in the world have been reached yet, Wycliffe estimates that there are approximately 1,700 languages that still have no translation, but they’re working on that. Wycliffe has felt the need to reach out to those in our own country who have not heard the gospel or who have been presented with a false view of God’s word.
The most effective tool to reach young people in the 21st century is technology. Millennials are so accustomed to communicating through media like Twitter and Instagram that they pepper their actual speech with “hashtags” and “lols.” Wycliffe intends to take advantage of that technological affinity to influence the way millennials think about the Bible by launching their #WhyBible initiative during the month of September.
The #WhyBible campaign seeks to hear from people across the globe on why the Bible is still relevant in our lives. Everhart says of #WhyBible, “Its ultimate goal is to remind Christians who may have fallen out of the habit of engaging with Scripture regularly, and to encourage others who may have never picked up the Bible before, that God’s Word has significant relevance for today and for our future.”
The initiative hopes to spark conversations about why the Bible isn’t some dusty old book of fairy tales, but an influential and truthful book that relays the stories about times that God intervened throughout human history, about God’s love for humanity, and about God’s life-altering sacrifice. The hope is that millions will see that the Bible is valid and can change us in unfathomable ways.
“The Word of God is perhaps the most important ingredient for a healthy, individual faith and a thriving church community,” said Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe USA. “We want to start a conversation about the Bible’s power to change lives.”
Share your stories
Wycliffe wants people to share their stories and reasons for why the Bible matters to them. They hope to involve individuals, churches and all kinds of organizations to take part in #WhyBible.
“This issue is much bigger than Wycliffe USA,” Creson said, “and our hope is that other faith-based organizations, churches, parachurch organizations and individual believers of all kinds will join in this discussion about why the Bible matters today and to share stories about its incredible impact on individuals, communities and the world.”
As an individual, it’s incredibly easy to get involved. Right now, open your Twitter account and use those 144 characters to share why the Bible is important in your life and remember to use #WhyBible. If you don’t Tweet, use Instagram to take a picture that represents why the Bible matters to you and use #WhyBible. If you’re living in the stone age and still only use Facebook, then write a short post about the Bible’s significance, use #WhyBible and share.
Christians have already started taking part in the #WhyBible campaign. Hannah Hubbard @HLHJournal tweeted, “God is teaching me this summer. Psalms 27 and 91. He will always take care of me. That reassurance is everything. #whybible”.
Even Lecrae has gotten in on the #WhyBible action tweeting out, “If you really wanna be a rebel, read your Bible… That’s the only rebellion left.”
For more information on getting involved, visit them online at why.bible.
For me personally, a daily dose of God’s Word helps keep my heart on furthering God’s plans rather than my own. That’s my #WhyBible.
You may only be one voice, but when we all gather our voices together to praise the word of God as relevant in our lives, our tweets and posts will become an offering of a sweet fragrance to our Lord. Be a part of that.
A native-born Miamian, Tami Gomez is a freelance writer for the Good News while she and her husband attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. They hope to become missionaries to the Far East. She can be reached at [email protected]