Bible-engaged Christians are happier, have greater life purpose, American Bible Society study shows
American Bible Society’s 13th Annual State of the Bible Report Reveals “Human Flourishing” in the American Church
American Bible Society today released the third chapter of their 13th annual State of the Bible report, which highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement. Today’s release reveals the powerful connection between Bible engagement and human flourishing. The first three chapters are now available to download at StateoftheBible.org.
“Our research confirms something millions of Christians know through personal experience—that the Bible has the power to transform our lives and make us happier, healthier and whole,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD, American Bible Society’s Chief Ministry Insights and Innovation Officer. “We find that Christians who are committed to their faith, fully engaged in the Bible and transformed by its message, flourish in every domain of human experience. While these Scripture-engaged Christians go through the same hardships as everyone else, the difference is they experience life’s ups and downs through a worldview shaped by the Bible’s message of hope. No matter the circumstances, those who trust in God and connect with him through Scripture are happier than those who haven’t yet sought God in his Word.”
State of the Bible findings come from a nationally representative survey performed for American Bible Society by NORC at the University of Chicago, using their AmeriSpeak panel. The data came from 2,761 online interviews with American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Flourishing and Hope
- Scripture engagement leads to human flourishing. Researchers at Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health developed the Human Flourishing Index that measures six domains of human experience, including life satisfaction, virtue, and purpose. Scripture Engaged people report the highest levels of human flourishing (7.9 on the Human Flourishing Index, compared to 7.1 for the Movable Middle and 6.7 among the Bible Disengaged). For the Scripture Engaged, the domain of “Meaning & Purpose” is the highest score (8.3) of any area.
- Forgiveness is key to human flourishing. Without exception, the more forgiving people are, the more they flourish. Those who strongly agree with the statement “I am able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not” score 7.7 on the Human Flourishing Index, compared with 7.1 for those who somewhat agree, 6.6 for those who somewhat disagree, and 6.0 for those who strongly disagree (page 57).
- Knowing and using your spiritual gifts leads to greater meaning and purpose. Christians who agreed with the statement “I know and use my spiritual gifts to fulfill God’s purposes” also scored the highest on the “Meaning and Purpose” domain of the Human Flourishing Index at 8.4, compared with 6.3 among those who disagree (page 59).
Between July and December 2023, American Bible Society will release six new chapters in the State of the Bible story, including Gen Z perspectives on the Bible, faith and church; and the impact of emerging technology on Bible engagement habits.
To download the first three chapters of State of the Bible 2023, visit StateoftheBible.org.
*For descriptions on how Scripture engagement was measured and reported, please see page 35 of the ebook available for download at StateoftheBible.org.
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