State of the Bible 2021: How to Pray through the Year in Review
The full State of the Bible USA 2021 report is now available for download.
American Bible Society released its final chapter of the 2021 State of the Bible report, entitled, “Help Wanted: The Year in Review.” It highlights the influence of faith as the U.S. continues to wrestle with the prolonged sociocultural impact of the pandemic.
In this report, we learn that amid numerous economic, lifestyle, healthcare, and employment disruptions this year, the number of people reading the Bible in 2021 has increased for the 4th year in a row. Americans turned to God’s Word for answers more frequently in 2021 than last year, with nearly one in four (24%) of adults trending upward engagement.
We find that in times of pressure, more people are turning to God’s Word for answers. They are discovering the promise of Psalm 46:1, “God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (GNT). God’s Word offers hope and inspires flourishing. That’s why we invite you to pray with us for more people to read, hear, and reflect on the message of Scripture.
Considering report learnings, will you join us in praying for God’s Word to come alive and transform more hearts and minds today?
Here are 9 key report findings and prayers:
- Bible reading has increased. Now, 181 million Americans are engaging Scripture, representing a significant increase (7.1%) in the number of people who are turning to God’s Word since 2020. Lord God, we praise you for drawing more Americans this year toward your healing and hope through the Bible. Continue to heal places of pain and longing through meaningful interaction with Scripture.
- Previously disengaged Americans are opening their hearts to the Bible. Now, 95 million people are willing to read Scripture, representing an increase from 26 percent to 37 percent of the population since 2020. God our rescuer, we praise you for relentlessly pursuing those who are far from you. Open the hearts and minds of those searching your Word so they may experience the saving grace generously offered in Christ.
- Digital Bibles deepen engagement with Scripture. While Americans prefer printed Bibles, the Scripture Engaged are twice as likely to prefer reading the Bible on their smartphones or tablets (27%). God who inspires our creativity, thank you for opening new pathways for Bible engagement through digital tools. May these tools equip individuals and communities of faith to love you and others and grow deeper in your Word.
- The Bible helps with stress management. Higher Scripture engagement does not mean feeling less stress, but it correlates with heathier experiences to cope, with prayer (70%) and Bible reading (67%) being primary sources of stress relief. Prince of Peace, when stressors of life come, inspire your people to meaningfully interact with Scripture. May your Word stir wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, and fruitful to healthfully address stress.
- The Bible leads people to experience greater hope. Those who regularly interact with Scripture experience a significantly higher hope agency score (18), on a scale of 3 to 24, compared to the average score for adults (15). God of all hope, we ask for more Americans to experience the supernatural peace and abounding hope found in Christ. Inspire contagious hope in the face of life’s challenges through growing rootedness in your Word.
- God’s Word inspires flourishing. Scripture Engaged Americans score higher in every category of human flourishing. Those rooted in the Bible and Christian community experience higher levels of hope and holistic flourishing and are better equipped to process traumas and commons stressors in everyday life. Jesus, thank you for coming that we may have life to the full. We pray for all people to experience the healing power of your Word alongside a faith community that lives out the values of the Bible.
- Gen Z is curious but undecided about the Bible. Gen Z, those surveyed from ages 15-24, is less certain about the Bible’s impact and importance, but is highly curious about the Bible. God, we pray for this curious generation to turn interest into interaction with your Word. May Scriptures lead young people to transforming encounters with Jesus, who longs to address the deepest questions shaping their minds and hearts.
- Bible Engagement gives strength to Practicing Christians. Compared to 78 percent of Non-Practicing Christians, nearly all Practicing Christians (97%), on average, believe the Bible has transformed their lives, inspiring closeness to God and healthier emotions and behavior. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us wisdom in Scripture to equip us for life’s challenges. Empower your people to experience greater spiritual and emotional health through meaningful interaction with your Word alongside thriving faith communities.
- God’s Word inspires generosity. Those who are rooted in God’s Word are more likely to express volunteerism, service, and giving to those in need, regardless of income level. God who so loved that he gave us Jesus, we thank you for showing us the ultimate act of generosity through Christ’s gift of salvation. We pray your Word will inspire the joy of giving – through acts of kindness that point a watching world back to you.
To download the entire State of the Bible USA 2021 ebook, visit: StateoftheBible.org
Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.
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