While researchers have observed an overall decline in the percent of Americans who identify as Christian, a newly published annual survey found nearly half of all adults engage with the Bible at least three or four times a year on their own.
The “State of the Bible” study conducted by the Barna Group and commissioned by the American Bible Society found 48 percent engage three or four times a year by using, listening to, watching, praying or using Bible text outside of a church service.
Significantly, the study shows that 21 million new people are looking to the Bible for wisdom and guidance this year. Also, 14.9 million people who were disengaged in 2018 have chosen to interact with the Bible. At the same time, 9.9 million adults defined as “Bible-centered” – people who interact with the Bible frequently, and it shapes their relationships and choices – have decreased their level of engagement with the Bible since last year.
Taken together, Barna said, “these changes have led to a swelling in the ranks of the so-called ‘moveable middle’ to 41.6 million adults, those people who interact with the Bible looking for practical advice for their modern lives.”
The study indicates that Bible engagement results in an increase in financial giving and in volunteerism.
In 2018, Bible-centered respondents recalled contributing $1,000 on average, while the Bible-disengaged gave $20 on average.