Other disturbing findings that document an overall lack of knowledge among churchgoing Christians include the following:
• The most widely known Bible verse among adult and teen believers is “God helps those who help themselves”—which is not actually in the Bible and actually conflicts with the basic message of Scripture.
• Less than one out of every ten believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for his or her decision-making or behavior.
• When given thirteen basic teachings from the Bible, only 1% of adult believers firmly embraced all thirteen as being biblical perspectives.
Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, asserts that biblical illiteracy is at a crisis level not just in our culture in general but in America’s churches.
“If it is true that biblical illiteracy is commonplace in secular culture at large, there is ample evidence that points to similar trends in our churches,” he says.
Burge points to research at Wheaton College in which the biblical and theological literacy of incoming freshmen have been monitored. These students, who represent almost every Protestant denomination in the United States from every state in the country, have returned some “surprising results”:
• One-third could not put the following in order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost.
• Half could not sequence the following: Moses in Egypt, Isaac’s birth, Saul’s death, and Judah’s exile.
• One-third could not identify Matthew as an apostle from a list of New Testament names.
• When asked to locate the biblical book supplying a given story, one-third could not find Paul’s travels in Acts, half did not know that the Christmas story was in Matthew, half did not know that the Passover story was in Exodus.