Relatively Few Protestant Churchgoers Read The Bible Daily
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Among Protestant churchgoers, only a third spend time reading the Bible every day.
The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found those who regularly attend Protestant churches are inconsistent in their reading and thinking about Scripture. The study identifies Bible engagement as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing Christians.
This research asked churchgoers about many biblical characteristics to see which actions, beliefs and desires are present in the lives of followers of Christ, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. Among them, Bible reading was one of the most predictive of spiritual maturity.
A third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly say they read the Bible personally every day. A little more than a quarter say they read it a few times a week.
Fewer say they only read it once a week , a few times a month or once a month . Close to one in eight admit they rarely or never read the Bible.
A 2016 LifeWay Research study found one in five Americans said they had read all of the Bible at least once. However, more than half said they have read little or none of it.
Many Christians Struggle To Read The Bible On Their Own
Many Christians struggle to understand Scripture without help from others, new research has found.
Over half of the 1,002 US Protestant churchgoers surveyed by Lifeway Research said it was challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own.
“Churchgoers are ready to defend the Bible as true and as a faithful moral standard,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
“But most admit they stumble on understanding the specific meaning as they read.”
“Reading and studying as an individual is important, but we need others to help us think through what we discover,” said Dwayne McCrary of Explore the Bible.
“Studying together also allows us to gain insights from others that move us forward in our study as well.”
Despite this apparent difficulty, nine in 10 said they could usually understand how a passage of Scripture was relevant to themselves, and over three quarters were confident they could help others with doubts about the truthfulness of Scripture.
Older Christians were more likely to struggle, with around a fifth of over-65s saying they lacked confidence in their ability to address the doubts of someone struggling with the truthfulness of Scripture, and a fifth saying they did not think they could help a neighbour if they were confused about a Bible passage.
Nearly all churchgoers said it was important to understand the context within which the Bible was written, and believe that the meaning should be applied to today’s context .
Why People Read The Bible
Whilst the vast majority read the Bible for spiritual reasons, there are significant minorities that do so other reasons, such as the 5% who use it as a non-faith reference. This is usually crosswords or quizzes, or to follow up on a reference in a TV show or film.
I sometimes pick it up from the shelf when Ive heard a quote or text in a newspaper and want to know more.
I refer to it for the answers to crosswords and quizzes
Some non-faith engagements with the Bible are based on its narrative content.
I enjoy reading it sometimes for the stories in it
However, most people claimed to read the Bible for faith reasons because it gave them comfort and strength
I find it a comfort and I enjoy reading it. Its familiar and something I enjoy reading.
“It gives me comfort. I always read it.
I try to make sense of things when bad things happen.
Because it refreshes and inspires
It is stimulating. It provides me with a vision to strive for.
I find I read it because it refreshes me.
For religious guidance
To get guidance form God
I look for guidance throughout my life.
Im a believer and I read the Bible daily. It gives me guidance and inspiration.
Because it is part of being a Christian
Because I believe in God.
As part of what I believe in.
As part of my faith I read it to understand how to be a good person.
Because it is the voice of God
I find it comforting, it is God talking to us.
Because it is the voice of our Lord.
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The Importance Of Reading The Bible
Why do you read the Bible? Or maybe I should ask the question, why do you not read the Bible? As someone who teaches the Bible in both the context of the university and the church, it is clear that many Christians do not take reading their Bibles seriously. In this blog post, I want to briefly discuss a few reasons why you should be engaged in the spiritual discipline of Bible reading on a regular basis, how you can build the habit of regular Bible reading into your life and some ways to approach the Bible
The Beginners Guide: How To Read The Bible For Beginners
Reading the Bible on your own can be intimidating. Where do you even start?
Reading the Bible on your own can be intimidating. Where does one even begin?
Do you start at the beginning and read straight through to the end? Should you jump around and read whatever strikes your fancy?
Is there a version of the Bible thats better than another version?
Speaking of versions, how many versions are there and what is the difference?
But reading and studying the Bible is an important part of every believers life and is one of the core spiritual disciplines.
Today Ill address the most common questions that beginners have about the Bible and how to read it.
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Do You Miss Spending Time With God
A third of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree they desperately miss the time with God if they go several days without reading the Bible. Almost three in five at least somewhat agree .
Around one in five disagree and 22 percent neither agree nor disagree.
Women are more likely to agree strongly than men . Hispanic churchgoers are more likely to agree strongly than African American and white churchgoers .
Those 65 and older are the least likely age group to agree strongly they miss the time with God when they go several days without reading the Bible .
Evangelical Protestants and black Protestants are more likely to agree strongly than mainline Protestants .
The more regular the Bible reading habit, the more likely churchgoers are to say they miss that time with God.
Among Protestant churchgoers who read the Bible every day, 65 percent strongly agree. That number is cut in half among those who read Scripture a few times a week . It continues to decline among those who read it once a week or a few times a month and among those who read it once a month or less .
One indication that reading Gods word is beneficial is how much readers miss it after not reading for a few days, McConnell said. This fits with the Bibles own description of itself as being living and effective.
We seek to inform, inspire and challenge you to live like Jesus.
Only 20% Australian Christians Read Bible Daily New Campaign Helps To Form Better Habits
Christians are saying they just don’t have the time. While lives are getting busier, attention span is getting shorter, and communication must happen within the span of an SMS, a Facebook post or a Tweet of 140 characters. So how can Christians be brought back to a book of over 700,000 words?
This was the background to the Bible Society’s ‘Live light in 25 words’ campaign. This Australia-wide campaign is an invitation to Christians simply to make a fresh start on their Bible reading habit by beginning with 25 words about the length of a Bible verse. Christians are encouraged to read a verse, think about it or talk it over with someone else, and so let the word “dwell in them”. Over time, this habit can grow, and a Christian will begin to experience more of what Jesus promisesâ”to lighten the burdens we all carry.
The Bible Society is asking churches, Christian organisations and Christian schools to be part of a nationwide push to encourage their members to grow their Bible habit. Many resources – audio-visual, in print and online – are being developed to help.
*Sourced from GSI Report February 2011 NCLS 2006 Milk to Meat Bible Engagement Report Hughes, P. & Pickering, C. . Bible Engagement among Young Australians: Patterns and Social Drivers. Unpublished research report initiated by Bible Society and other partners.
For more information, visit www.biblesociety.org.au/25words
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Know Gods Truth So Our Lives Honor And Please Him
The Bible shows us how to measure success its not fame and riches, like the world tells us and to clearly see what matters. When we build our lives solidly on Jesus, the world cant manipulate us with its shifting views of truth. The Bible is still applicable to our modern lives because Gods nature and standards do not change. The ten commandments are as relevant now as they were two thousand plus years ago. Treating others with kindness is still in fashion with God, and always will be. His greatest commandment? Love God and love others.
Engagement With The Word Of God
Many Christians will spend time each day in a quiet place, praying, reading the Bible and thinking about what it says. Jesus said:
“When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly”.
Some people use Bible study notes to help them focus on a particular passage or theme. United Christian Broadcasters provide an online Word for Today that is there to help with personal Bible reading.
Christian parents often read Bible stories to their children at bedtime and pray with them. Many of these stories become great favourites, for example, the stories of Jonah, Noah’s Ark, the Lost Sheep, the Good Samaritan.
The Bible is read in church services and then often a sermon or homily will be given about the reading. Some churches follow a Lectionary. This is a plan of Bible readings for every day of the year. There are two readings – one chosen from the Old Testament of the Bible, and one chosen from the New Testament. These readings fit in with the festivals and special days of the Church Year.
On Sunday the homily will be based on the readings for the day. In many churches, people are encouraged to be part of a study group. These small groups will often meet in a persons home and will spend their time praying and studying the Bible.
The Bible is accessible these days in book form, magazines, leaflets, internet, apps, phone and many more. It is now possible to read or hear the Bible anywhere.
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~ The Bible Is A Worthy Investment Of Our Time ~
As Sean McDowell reminds us, The Bible has shaped western civilization more than any book ever written. No other book even comes close. So, clearly, a lot of people have found the Bible worth reading over the centuries.
But finding the time to read it in our speedy, modern world isnt always easy. We have so much clamoring for our attention, including television and social media. How many of us, for example, have opened Facebook, just to check for messages, and found ourselves, an hour or two later, still scrolling through our feed? Ack!
So how might we carve out time to read the Bible? One way might be a consistent reading time every day. You might try reading a Psalm or Proverb while you eat breakfast, for example. Or if your family eats dinner together, try adding it to your meal. What a great time to discuss the reading while youre all still seated at the table! To help guide your Bible readings and discussion, consider signing up for our daily devotional emails. If reading together is initially difficult, try adding a Bible-based activity to family time. Whos up for a game of Bible bingo or trivia?
Old Testament: The Single Author Theory
The Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, narrates the history of the people of Israel over about a millennium, beginning with Gods creation of the world and humankind, and contains the stories, laws and moral lessons that form the basis of religious life for both Jews and Christians. For at least 1,000 years, both Jewish and Christian tradition held that a single author wrote the first five books of the BibleGenesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomywhich together are known as the Torah and the Pentateuch . That single author was believed to be Moses, the Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and guided them across the Red Sea toward the Promised Land.
Yet nearly from the beginning, readers of the Bible observed that there were things in the so-called Five Books of Moses that Moses himself could not possibly have witnessed: His own death, for example, occurs near the end of Deuteronomy. A volume of the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws recorded between the 3rd and 5th centuries A.D., dealt with this inconsistency by explaining that Joshua likely wrote the verses about Moses death.
Rembrandt van Rijn, painting of Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law, 1659.
That’s one opinion among many, says Joel Baden, a professor at Yale Divinity School and author of The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis. But they’re already asking the questionwas it possible or not possible for to have written them?
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Evangelicals Admit Struggling To Find Time For Daily Bible Reading And Prayer
New research has shed light on the difficulties evangelicals have in making time for their spiritual life.
In particular, the Evangelical Alliance’s study found that evangelicals struggle to find the time for both reading the Bible and praying each day.
Of the over 1,500 surveyed, nearly all said they read the Bible regularly, but only 31 per cent said they set aside a substantial period of time each day to pray.
Although 87 per cent agreed that every Christian needs to spend time alone with God on a daily basis, and that without that their faith will suffer, 42 per cent said that they find it difficult to find time on a regular disciplined basis to pray and read the Bible.
Nearly a fifth said they do not have a fixed pattern of prayer but rather pray when the chance or need arises. This figure rises to 29 per cent among those born after 1980.
Over half of those surveyed said they prayed “on the move”, while walking or using transport. When they do find the time to pray, evangelicals are most likely to be asking God to bless their family .
“Older people are significantly more disciplined and structured in their prayer patterns,” the Alliance noted.
Nearly two-thirds admitted to being easily distracted when spending time with God and while most agreed it was important for a Christian to read or study the Bible on a daily basis, in practice only half are managing to do this. Another 40 per cent said they read the Bible several times each week.
Frequency Of Reading Scripture
% of adults who read scripture
|At least once a week||Once or twice a month||Several times a year||Don’t know||Sample Size|
|Sample size = 35,071. Visit this table to see approximate margins of error for a group of a given size. For full question wording, see the survey questionnaire.Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state. You can see the sample size for the estimates in this chart on rollover or in the last column of the table. And visit this table to see approximate margins of error for a group of a given size. Readers should always bear in mind the approximate margin of error for the group they are examining when making comparisons with other groups or assessing the significance of trends over time. For full question wording, see the survey questionnaire.|
Frequency of reading scripture by religious group
% of adults who read scripture
Age distribution by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who are ages
Generational cohort by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who are
Gender composition by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who are
Racial and ethnic composition by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who identify as
Immigrant status by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who are
Income distribution by frequency of reading scripture
% of adults who have a household income of
Educational distribution by frequency of reading scripture
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