Joan of Arc Was Not Noah’s Wife

Did you know that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife? No, this isn't some kind of joke. One in ten Americans think the French saint was Noah's spouse. Such unlikely answers were all too common in a survey conducted recently by Christian pollster George Barna. The bottom line is that, while most Americans have a Bible and even accept its authority, they don't know much about what's in it. For example, 59 percent told Barna that "the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings." Seventy-two percent believe that "all of the miracles described in the Bible actually took place." And 85 percent believe that "Jesus Christ was born to a virgin." But despite these reassuring answers, the bad news is that Americans are reading the Bible less than ever before. Not quite 50 percent open the Bible in any given week, and even then they only skim a few verses. Americans who are researching some topic of interest rarely consult the Bible—only about 25 percent. As a result, 64 percent—or two out of three Americans—don't know that Jesus was descended from King David. Almost 40 percent think the "entire Bible [including the Old Testament] was written several decades after Jesus' death." As Barna writes, "There is virtual total ignorance of the history of the Bible" among Americans. And "the content of the Old Testament is a mystery to most adults." Biblical illiteracy on this scale hasn't existed since before the Reformation—more than 400 years ago. At that time, most people wanted to read the Bible but either didn't own one or weren't permitted to do so. Today, the Bible is a best-seller every year, but too many of us don't actually read it. American culture today largely rejects the very concept of truth. False ideologies and even neo-pagan religions are multiplying. Yet the only way Christians can withstand—and correct—these cultural forces is to be rooted in God's Word. Bible reading is now a "survival skill," and only Christians steeped in biblical knowledge can defend the faith in our age of relativism. It isn't enough to wring our hands about the decline of morals or Christian influence in society. We'd better look at ourselves. Christians are called to be disciples. We are called to be disciplined in studying God's Word. Only then can we also lead disciplined lives. Every summer, tourists flock to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to see how the Amish live. Not many of us are called to withdraw from the world like the Amish do. Most of us are called to bring Christian truth to bear on the world—to influence society, culture, and politics. But to do this, we have to get serious again about knowing God's Word—and then doing it. We can meet this high calling. But only when we are grounded in the Word—and when our own habits not only protect us from the world but are also an example to the world that longs for living examples of faithfulness and truth.


Chuck Colson


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