State of the Bible 2020

Pray for Americans to connect with the life-giving messages found in God’s Word

Since 2011, American Bible Society has worked with Barna Group to conduct its annual State of the Bible report. This report examines how adults in the United States relate to the Bible and what difference it is making in their lives.

This year, the 10th annual State of the Bible report reveals Scripture engagement amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

At the start of the year, many leaders declared 2020 the Year of the Bible as a way to encourage Bible users to renew their commitment to deep, consistent interactions with God through Scripture. Then Covid-19 struck, disrupting almost every aspect of American life including our physical wellbeing, our economic outlook and our religious lives.

So how did Covid-19 affect Scripture engagement in America?

The Bible in a Covid-19 World

Year over year, overall Scripture engagement has risen by 11.8% or 7.5 million adults. But, the Covid-19 crisis put significant pressure on Americans’ engagement with the Bible. As of the first week of June, Scripture engagement among adults had fallen from 27.8% to only 22.6%, representing some 13.1 million Americans who were no longer consistently interacting with the Bible in a way that shaped their choices and transformed their relationships with God and others. The pandemic brought social distancing to religious communities across America making it hard for Americans to maintain a relationship with the Bible. On average, hope decreased significantly among American adults since January, according to State of the Bible research.

But research also shows that an individual’s relationship with the Bible is the single greatest influence on her or his overall spiritual health. Scripture engagement is associated with positive emotions in Bible users. They tend to feel hopeful, peaceful, encouraged, and loved when they interact with the Bible.

That’s why we’re inviting you to pray. Pray for Americans to turn to God’s Word for hope. Pray that in these difficult times when many are under emotional, physical, and mental stress that they’ll find comfort in Scripture. And pray for the church to play a significant role in helping people become Scripture engaged.

To receive the first four chapters of The State of the Bible 2020 ebook download here. And be on the lookout, American Bible Society will release more chapters between August and December 2020.

Let’s Pray Together

God, we pray for people across America to open the pages of Scripture so they can encounter your love. Thank you that your words are truly worth more than the finest gold and sweeter than honey, (Psalm 19:10).

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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