Barna Survey Shows Americans Overall Seem to be Reading the Bible More, But More Christians Are Reading Their Bibles Less

More Americans consulted the Bible in 2019 than in 2018. But among those who claim to be “Bible-centered,” 9.9 million decreased their engagement with Scripture, a study from the Barna Group shows.

Barna’s annual “State of the Bible” survey, conducted in partnership with the American Bible Society and involving just over 2,000 interviews, examined behaviors and beliefs about the Bible among U.S. adults.

The study found that overall, 21 million people are looking to the Bible this year when they didn’t last year, while almost 15 million people who considered themselves “disengaged” from the Bible in 2018 are more engaged this year.

Yet, Barna also found that Bible centeredness is decreasing and skepticism is growing nationwide. “Bible Centered” adults have decreased from 9% to 5% in the past year, and more than one-third of adults (35%) reported never using the Bible in 2019, a 10 percentage point increase since 2011 (25%).

Based on their findings, American Bible Society concluded that 41.6 million Americans make up a “moveable middle,” a group of people who interact with the Bible in their daily lives for practical advice but are unpredictable in terms of their involvement in the future.

The study also revealed that people who engage with the Bible regularly are more financially generous than those who do not. When asked to recall the total gifts they gave to charity in 2018, Bible-centered respondents recalled contributing $1,000 on average, while the Bible-disengaged gave $20 on average.

Additionally, Bible-engaged people are more generous with their time (57%) compared to just 2% of the Bible-friendly and 3% of the Bible-neutral.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett