Church goers express confidence and confusion reading the bible

LifeWay Research

Some churchgoers may fully understand the scripture while others (half) admit they have problems understanding Scripture on their own. Despite repeatedly affirming confidence in their own abilities to explain and understand the Bible, a recent LifeWay Research study in partnership with Explore the Bible curriculum found 57% of Protestant churchgoers say they find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own.

LifeWay Research stated, around 1 in 5 churchgoers 65 and older (19%) lack confidence in their ability to address the doubts of someone struggling with the truthfulness of Scripture. 

"If we only seek to understand a text in its original context, we see the Bible simply as history and remove its active cutting edges. If we simply jump to apply the text, we run the risk of missing the principle or truth that should direct our application of a Bible passage." McCrary stated.

Despite their commitment to understanding the Bible in its original context, 4 in 5 churchgoers say the Bible can have multiple meanings for readers. For 82% of churchgoers, the truth of God's Word can mean different things to different people, with 15% disagreeing.

Every individual has a different opinion and a point of view which proves how believers understand the scripture may be different. More than understanding what the scripture is saying, researchers, state it is most important to be understanding the original context of a passage and applying that passage to our modern context. 

"We tend to jump from what a passage says to what we do in response and forget to consider the principle or truth behind what is said."

"Doing Bible study correctly takes time and thought, but it gets us to the meaning which does not change so we can then look at how we encounter God today and what our response should be to those encounters."

"For a religion claiming a basis in God's Word, it's surprising to see this many practicing Christians giving their own word priority in their beliefs. In a world filled with constant changes, it's hard for some to accept the biblical claim of an unchanging source of truth," said McConnell.