2017 State of the Bible Report Offers New Insights into Bible Engagement in America

Americans find hope in God’s Word amidst concern over declining morals

How do Americans understand and interact with the Bible in 2017? The latest State of the Bible report explores this question using survey data taken from a representative sampling of Americans.

This year’s survey isn’t the first of its kind. Since 2011, American Bible Society and the Barna Group have worked together to publish an annual State of the Bible report. By documenting shifting perceptions of the Bible over the years, these surveys help American Bible Society and its partners identify where Bible ministry is changing lives—and where more work is needed.

Here are some highlights from the 2017 State of the Bible report:

What Americans Think of the Bible

The 2017 survey shows that 81 percent of Americans think morality is on the decline in American society—a 5 percent increase from the 2016 survey. But Americans have faith in the Bible’s influence.

“The Bible remains a hands-down winner of hope for Americans,” says American Bible Society President and CEO Roy Peterson. “Those who are opening up the Word of God are discovering it to be a guide to help make sense of life and a source of eternal hope.”

What’s more, Americans associate Bible-readers with overwhelmingly positive attributes. According to the survey, Americans believe Bible-readers to be: humble (39 percent), loving (38 percent), and accepting (34 percent).

How Americans Interact with the Bible

In the survey, 68 percent of American Bible-readers said they read the Bible because it brings them closer to God. And 58 percent of Americans said they would like to spend more time listening to or reading the Bible.

The percentage of Americans who are Bible engaged, those who have a high view of Scripture and read it at least 4 times a week, is at 20 percent—an increase from 17 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, the percentage of Bible skeptics, who believe the Bible is just another book of teachings written by men, has leveled off at 19 percent—a decrease from 21 percent in 2016.

“While it is too early to say the decrease in Bible skepticism is a trend, we are optimistic and will continue tracking the data in the coming years,” said American Bible Society’s Executive Vice President of Ministry Mobilization Geof Morin. “Either way, we encourage all Americans to give the Bible a chance and read it for themselves.”

Want to explore the 2017 State of the Bible survey?

[ Visit the website]

To read the official 2017 State of the Bible press release, click here.

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