George Barna, founder of the Barna Group, as described on their website they are a visionary research and resource. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. A new study just released shows the State of the Bible in 2019, and this was done in partnership with the American Bible Society. This study brings exciting news as there is more Bible engagement than previous years! We are excited to bring this news to you and hope you are encouraged.
The first area covered is how fewer Americans are disengaged with the Bible. This study is done based on the population in America which is at 327 million people. Using 14 questions covering adults’ interactions with and perspectives about the Bible, Barna and American Bible Society defines five different segments of Bible engagement which measure:
- Frequency (how often people interact with the Bible)
- Centrality (how the Bible shapes their choices)
- Impact (how the Bible transforms their relationships)
Year-over-year, overall Bible engagement appears to have increased slightly, with some Disengaged shifting to Neutral or Friendly. The chart below shows some significant shifts among each major segment. Notably, there are 8-point increases since 2018 among the Bible Friendly and Neutral groups. There is also a 9-point decrease among the Disengaged.
In the chart below you can see how the points have changed concerning Bible engagement by the years.
As shared by the Barna Group, two other significant but less encouraging shifts in the spectrum of Bible engagement are worth noting. The first is that Bible Centered adults have decreased from 9 percent to 5 percent in the past year. The other trend is that more than one-third of adults (35%) reports never using the Bible in 2019, a 10-percentage point increase since 2011 (25%).
We have seen in America when things get hard in our country, people tend to draw near to God but when things go well, and we prosper people seem to leave God. America is doing great and has been for the past two years, with many of the lowest unemployment numbers ever and more jobs than people to fill them and so much more! But as we see in this study and the chart above more people are not engaging with the Bible. We can change this in our nation, and as the Church, we must stay steady with God no matter how our nation is and remember that we can’t serve both God and money so even when we prosper financially we still need to put God first because we want God to trust us with the coming wealth transfer. Greg wrote about this wealth transfer in the book, I Will Fight, and how we can be successful in our lives no matter where we are while at the same time keeping God first in our lives. You can get your free copy HERE we only ask that you pay for shipping and handling.
The next topic covered is how those adults engaged with the Bible give more financially. Overall, seven in 10 Americans (70%) report giving to a non-profit organization of some type in the previous year. The typical amount given is $100. However, Bible users are more likely to donate than are non-Bible users. The typical non-Bible user donated $10, compared to Bible users, who gave an average of $500. Similarly, scripture engagement also corresponds with higher levels of giving. For example, Bible Centered adults gave an average of $1,000 in 2018 compared to $20 among Disengaged, and $5 among Skeptics.
Next, six in ten American adults believe that the Bible has transformed their lives! Also shared is how Bible engagement has positively correlated to relational and spiritual growth. Half of monthly Bible users (49%) agree their engagement with the Bible has made them feel more willing to engage with their faith. Among adults who use the Bible at least three to four times a year, three in five (61%) express they always experience a greater awareness of how much they need God. Half agree they consistently feel a sense of connection with God (51%), and a similar proportion (50%) desires to know God better. Another 46 percent of Bible users say they show more loving behavior toward others, and one in three (34%) is more generous with their time, energy or financial resources. Results also show a positive influence on how they treat people of a different race than themselves (62%), their support for refugees (55%), their decisions at work or school (53%) and their decisions about sex and sexuality (49%).
There are three reasons why people don’t read the Bible, they don’t know where to start, they don’t have a version they can understand, and they don’t have a plan. For believers to grow closer to the Lord and to know what sin is, we must read God’s Word! We have a free plan for you that you can sign up for today and start your journey on reading God’s Word, and abiding in His Word as He has called us to do, sign up HERE at iAbide and we will send you your free plan right away. What are some ways that we can increase the number of those engaged with the Bible? We want to hear your ideas. Write to us at [email protected]. Greg and John shared in this segment.
Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com