The Bible

This past week I came across some stunning reports that spoke of ‘regular church attenders’ and their ability to identify certain well know passages of Scripture. For instance, it would give John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Than it would ask the respondent what verse this was. In one portion of the study it asked if regular church attenders knew what ‘The Great Commission’ was. Surprisingly, 51% of the people polled said they had never heard of the great commission. There could be a lot of underlying factors in this but none the less, it is shocking. The phrase ‘Great Commission’ is not found in Scripture. Rather it is what we have titled that portion of Scripture where Jesus gives those orders to ‘Go and Make Disciples of all Nations.’ (Matthew 28:16-20). This interaction that the Resurrected Lord had with the Disciples occurs each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as well as in Acts. Each account gives similar yet different word for word accounts of Jesus’ words. It is arguable that this understanding still does not give excuse for why 51% of the people polled have not heard of the Great Commission. I believe it to be one of the greatest instructions given in Scripture. Of course, we know from Matthew 22:36-40 that the greatest commandment is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ The second is like it, Jesus says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Beyond this, a love for God and neighbor is a desire to see them enter into a relationship with the one that can heal, bring peace, restore their lives. If we are loving them, we should be leading them, leading them to the very feet of Jesus. There is a great amount of this sobering study that lies on the church’s shoulders. There are churches across the country, even the world, that has allowed the Gospel to be cherry picked as if we were looking for our favorite piece of candy and not wanting the other stuff that ‘might not taste as good!’ Our pastors, lay leaders, elders, teachers, all have a responsibility to preach all the gospel, even those areas that do not seem as popular. I am not certain why the Great Commission would not be on the upper end of sections to preach but for some reason our church people do not know about it. Now, you are not off the hook! The study and recognition of the authority of Scripture in our life is not just for those who are the leaders of the church. Proverbs 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on you lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” As a member of the Kingdom of God you have a responsibility to be feeding yourself with Scripture both day and night. You should be growing, not just from the teachings of others, but from your own study!

Beyond our own self, we should be teaching others as well. Who can you share scripture with? Who can you help grow an young Christian to a more mature Christ Follower? Each of us can grow and help someone else grow. If you do not have anyone, or you need to grow yourself, pray to God to help give wisdom and insight in this area. If you want him to provide someone you can mentor, I am confident He will! If you are interested in reading the full study regarding this Scripture understanding simply go to: https://www.barna.com/research/future-teaching-great-commission/.