Have you ever tried to read the Bible cover to cover? Even among Christians, a minority make it all the way through.
According to the Barna Group, an evangelical Christian polling organization, the average American household contains 4.4 Bibles, but 57 percent of people say they read from it less than five times a year. Even those who read more often tend to return to brief passages that they find inspiring while skipping the troublesome parts. The book may be the world’s best seller, as some folks like to crow, but most copies collect dust—and for good reason. The Bible is a hard slog.
God-Breathed? Not By the Look of Things
Millions of Evangelicals and other Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible in its entirety was dictated by God, who channeled his message through the minds and voices of human men. Each phrase is considered so perfect that it merits careful linguistic analysis to determine his precise meaning. In support of this approach, Evangelicals quote the Bible itself. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).