CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Less Than Half of Practicing Christians in America Read Bible Regularly, Says Study

Bible
(Photo : Savio Sebastian/Flickr/CC) A significant proportion of the American teens read Bible regularly, and say that it has everything a person needs to live a meaningful life.

The American Bible Society revealed that more than half of practicing Christians in the United States read Bible only rarely.

Director of Project Ignition at the American Bible Society, Samuel Harrell, said in a presentation at Jacob Javits Center on 2nd November that only 18 percent of the adult American adults read Bible, while 37 percent of the practicing Christians engaged with their Bible.

Harrell was citing the figures from a six-year study conducted by the Barna Group on the state of the Bible in America.

"We have been having the honor of walking for a number of years with Barna Group and studying the state of the Bible in America. I know that you and I are feeling the change in the winds and the trends that are affecting us, so you probably had conversations about just what feels very real about the Bible in our culture," he said.

In 1991, the national average of Bible-reading population stood at 45 percent.

According to the Barna study, the decline in Bible reading over the years could be attributed to the shrinking elders' population. About 49 percent of the elders were reading Bible at least once a week or more, and only 24 percent of the millennials matched up to that.

The study said that Bible scepticism has also increased since 2011. Some 53 percent of the Americans strongly agreed in 2011 that Bible was a sufficient guide to a meaningful life, but the proportion of people agreeing to the statement was only 45 percent in 2016. Americans who strongly disagreed with the above statement also increased from 23 percent to 33 percent in six years.

Over the years, the number of American adults who believe in Biblical accuracy have also declined from 48 percent to 33 percent.

A majority of Americans who read the Bible say that scriptures bring them closer to God. Six years ago, 64 percent of the Americans read Bible for the same reason, but in 2016 only 55 percent of them said so.

In 2011, about 16 percent of the Americans said that Bible gave them comfort, and another 18 percent read scriptures for direction. The number of people giving these reasons to read the Bible also declined slightly in 2016, when 14 percent said they read it for comfort and 12 percent expressed their need for direction.

"A healthy dose of skepticism means that people are still asking questions of faith, of Christianity and of the Bible," David Kinnaman, president of Barna and director of the research said in the Barna report. "I believe those questions, when asked and answered honestly and from a biblical point of view, can lead to the Spirit's work in people's lives."

Tags American Bible Society, Barna Group, State of the Bible

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