Bible literacy

History of the Bible Literacy Campaign

Woodrow Kroll has often said, God only wrote one book. I think He’d be pleased to have us read it. The lack of Bible reading, even within the church, is the underlying cause of the creeping plague of Bible illiteracy in America and elsewhere.

Some people, even some Christians, don’t see this as a problem, but they are like the proverbial ostrich with his head in the sand. Bible illiteracy is a huge problem. In fact, to quote Dr. Kroll again, Bible illiteracy is not a problem in the church; Bible illiteracy is the problem in the church. Check out some of the statistics in our Bible Literacy Factoids. They will frighten you.

For Woodrow Kroll, the campaign for Bible literacy began all the way back in 1980 when no one was even talking about the problem. As chairman of the Division of Religion at Liberty University, Dr. Kroll was responsible for giving a Bible comprehensive exam to all incoming freshmen. This exam was created by the team at the Association for Biblical Higher Education (then known as AABC). Permission was given to administer the exam to incoming freshmen so students could be placed in various sections of Bible 101 (a required course for all freshmen at the time) with other students at approximately the same knowledge level of the Bible.

Please bear in mind two things. First, these students came from fine Christian families for the most part. They were often homeschooled or educated in Christian schools. They attended church and their youth group. They had every advantage an incoming college student could have to do well on the test. And second, the results of the freshmen tests do not at all reflect on Liberty University. These were incoming freshmen; they hadn’t even taken a class yet.

The final year Dr. Kroll administered the exam he gave it to 1,100 freshmen. The exam had 75 simple Bible questions and it was decided that students answering half the questions correct would be considered “passing.” As every teacher knows, that’s being extremely generous. However, when the 1,100 freshmen took the exam in 1980, only 45 of 1,100 students “passed” the exam. Not 45%; 45 students. It was that day that Woodrow Kroll knew something had to change and in his heart the Bible literacy campaign was born.

Over the years Dr. Kroll addressed the problem of Bible illiteracy to groups of pastors, educators, parents and anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, much of what he said appeared to fall on deaf ears.

Toward the end of the last century, however, other voices were heard warning about the creeping plague of Bible illiteracy. David Well’s book No Place for Truth was published in 1993, a solid critique of the Evangelical church’s failure to grasp fundamental truths of the faith. But an August 9, 1999 article in Christianity Today by Gary Burge entitled, “The Greatest Story Never Read” may have done the most to bring the issue to the attention of many Christians.

In 2000, Woodrow Kroll’s first book exposing Bible illiteracy, Back to the Bible, was published by Multnomah, and as a result of that book the Bible Literacy Campaign was launched. In November 2003, Dr. Kroll asked permission from the Back to the Bible board to begin a separate arm of their media ministry to determine the causes and perhaps the cures for Bible illiteracy in America.

As a result, Dr. Kroll founded The Bible Literacy Center in 2006 and he then expanded the center to become The Center for Bible Engagement in 2009. Woodrow Kroll’s book Taking Back the Good Book: How America Forgot the Bible and Why It Matters to You was published by Crossway in 2007.

Throughout the years (since 1980), Woodrow Kroll has played a key role in combating Bible illiteracy and finding ways to increase Bible literacy. World-renowned pollster George Gallup Jr. said, Woodrow Kroll has been a frontline leader in the effort to bring back the Bible as the foundation of faith. And Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Senior Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago noted, God has chosen Woodrow Kroll to be the man to sound the alarm of Bible illiteracy and awaken us to a vision of better days ahead!

For more information regarding the epidemic of Biblical Illiteracy in America, take time to read (click to open or download PDF) these articles (by Dr Kroll) and be moved to join the fight!

“An Overview of the Crisis in America”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Founder

“Just How Illiterate are We?”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Founder

“The Impact of Bible Illiteracy”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Founder

“Stamping Out Bible Illiteracy”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Founder

“The Kroll Scale of Bible Illiteracy”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Founder

Bible Literacy Factoids



Receive Woodrow Kroll Ministries updates
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.