Study Finds One-Third of Americans Who Rarely Use the Bible Still Say It’s Transformed Their Lives
the seventh chapter of the 12th annual State of the Bible report, highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement.
American Bible Society today released the seventh chapter of the 12th annual State of the Bible report, which highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement. Today’s release shows that 60 million of the 155 million non-Bible Users in America say the Bible has transformed their lives. The research also shows that print Bibles are still the most popular format of Bible reading and the most preferred method of Bible use among both Practicing and Non-Practicing Christians is reading a few verses at a time. The first seven chapters are available to download at StateoftheBible.org.
“While we’ve reported that there has been a sharp decline in Bible reading, nearly 60 million people who engage with the Bible less than three times per year say it has had a transformative impact on their lives. Our research shows that consistent interaction with God’s Word changes us,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society. “As the Church, we must look for every opportunity to show our neighbors the transformational love of Jesus—which is all over the pages of the Bible.”
The State of the Bible 2022 findings come from a survey in January 2022 conducted by American Bible Society in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago, which produced 2,598 online or telephone responses from American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Regarding methodology of Bible use: 48% of Bible Users—those who said they interacted with the Bible three to four times a year or more—report reading a few verses at a time, 32% report reading full chapters or stories, and 26% report utilizing a plan (page 156–157).
- For Bible Users, more than 50% of women report reading a few verses at a time compared to 43% of men. When it comes to reading full chapters or stories, men surpass women 35% to 30% (page 160).
- Print is still the Bible format most often used for reading, as nearly 70% of Bible Users say they have read from a printed version in the past month (page 161). 48% of Bible Users report reading from a Bible app, and 46% say they searched for Bible content online (page 162).
- 45% of Non-Practicing Christians in Generation Z report enrolling in a Bible reading plan with their phone, tablet, or computer compared to 24% of Practicing Christians in the same age group (page 163).
- Scripture engaged people are significantly more likely to agree with the following statement: “I am able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not” (page 170–171). 47% strongly agree, compared with 11% of those who are Bible disengaged.
- Nearly 60 million out of 155 million non-Bible Users—those who do not use the Bible on their own even three times a year—say the message found in Scripture has transformed their lives (page 169).
In November and December, American Bible Society will release the final two chapters in the State of the Bible 2022 story. To download the first seven chapters of the State of the Bible 2022 ebook, visit StateoftheBible.org.
*Scripture engagement is defined as consistent interaction with the Bible that shapes a person’s choices and transforms their relationships with God, self, and others. For descriptions on how Scripture engagement was measured and reported, please see page 33 of the ebook available for download at StateoftheBible.org.
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