State of the Bible 2021

Pray for transformation as Americans increasingly turn to the Bible for answers

American Bible Society released the 11th annual State of the Bible report, showcasing the latest Scripture engagement and spirituality trends in the U.S. This year’s report surveyed 3,354 adults representing every U.S. state to measure the nation’s relationship with the Bible, faith, and the church. Findings show that millions more Americans turned to the Bible in the past year than in previous years, as one in four U.S. adults reported more frequent Bible reading.

The first two chapters of this report entitled, “The Bible in America” and “The New Normal,” show key national Bible engagement trends in the wake of pandemic pressures as well as civil and social unrest.

Between June and December 2021, seven new State of the Bible chapters will be released to show how Americans turn to the Bible in times of stress; how holistic health and the Bible are connected; how Gen Z understands the Bible and faith; and how the Bible, money, and generosity are related.

What is clear from initial survey findings is that—following a season of turbulence nationally—Americans turn increasingly to God’s Word for hope and healing in the wake of various stressors. While dealing with the stressors of COVID-19, America’s top comforts are family, prayer, and food. The Bible ranks seventh, overall. Data from this report offers us insights on how to pray specifically for Americans journeying through various points in their spiritual formation. Whether Americans are Bible engaged, curious or disengaged, let us pray the light of God’s Word would illumine the way of love across our nation in times of joy, loss or uncertainty.

Three Ways to Pray

Pray for the Bible Engaged.

Pray for spiritual renewal among Americans who are choosing to consistently interact with the Bible, allowing it to shape their choices and transform their relationships. Since 2018, the number of those Bible Engaged has remained about the same. While more women regularly engage God’s Word than men, slight negative shifts in women’s Bible engagement occurred likely due to pandemic disruptions this year. Four in ten Bible Engaged approach the Bible with a desire to be closer to God, with 88 percent finding meaning in God’s Word. Pray for growing numbers of Americans to consistently engage the Bible. May they discover the blessing found in not only hearing God’s Word, but also in obeying it and growing in love with the God of the Bible.

“Jesus replied, ‘That’s true, but the people who are really blessed are the ones who hear and obey God’s message!’” Luke 11:28 (CEV)

Pray for the Bible Curious.

Pray that those open to reading the Bible will experience its invitation for a deeper life in Christ. Currently, ninety-five million Americans are “test-driving the Bible,” in search of hope and wisdom. For the fourth straight year, those in the Bible Curious category have increased, while the number of those in the Bible Disengaged category have declined. Twelve million more adults opened a Bible this past year than the previous year, totaling 181 million Americans who are turning to God’s Word today for direction and hope. Pray for this continued shift toward Bible curiosity across our nation. Ask God for growing spiritual hunger leading to fulfillment in Christ and devotion to his Word.

“Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.” Romans 15:4 (GNT)

Pray for the Bible Disengaged.

Nearly 100 million Americans fall in the category of the Bible Disengaged. Survey results show they face several frustrations when approaching Scripture. Christians who do not engage with God’s Word often do not know where to start in their reading; they find it difficult to navigate; and they are generally not excited about reading it. Furthermore, nearly 82 percent of the Disengaged do not affiliate with any religion. For those inside and outside the church, pray for faith in God to increase as they encounter God’s Word. Pray for growing hunger to discover the God of the Bible and find him in the pages of Scripture.

“You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 3:15b (GNT)

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Laura Gish
Laura Gish

Laura Gish leads Prayer Mobilization for American Bible Society. Originally from Texas, she now calls Philadelphia home. Laura can often be spotted in the city's historic parks with her adorable Westie named Jack, whose charm befriends local passersby. As a displaced Texan, she is still looking for authentic Tex-Mex food in the Northeast. Laura is passionate about the Bible and empowering people to embrace a fascinated lifestyle of prayer.

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