The American Bible Study (ABS) published a new study which found that more than half of Americans are ‘Bible curious.’
In its 10th Annual State of the Bible, the ABS revealed that 67.8% or 172 million adults were interested in learning more about Scripture. Also, the findings showed that there were more Americans exploring the Bible for the first time in June 2020 than in January. This is a great opportunity for the church to reach out and bring more people to faith, according to PR Newswire.
This survey reveals that a big opportunity still remains for Christian organizations to make an impact on Scripture engagement. —Robert Briggs, American Bible Society president and CEO
“Faith communities have demonstrated incredible resilience, innovation and empathy through the pandemic. But this survey reveals that a big opportunity still remains for Christian organizations to make an impact on Scripture engagement,” said ABS president and CEO, Robert Briggs.
In addition, the ABS report proved the relationship between Scripture engagement and in-person church activities. As houses of faith closed down during the early stages of the pandemic, a decline in Bible engagement was seen. Fewer than one in ten (9%) Americans used the Bible daily, the lowest number during the ten years the ABS conducted the studies.
The Christian ministry said people participating in church-related activities showed an increase in Bible use. In its Scripture Engagement Scale, a Christian joining one activity organized by the church had an average of 89/100 points, while participating in two or more church activities scored above 94 points on average.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live, including how we practice our faith. A Pew report showed that 47% of the respondents said the pandemic has strengthened their faith, while 38% of people claimed that the health crisis had a negative impact on how they worship.
“This study supports the idea that the Church plays a significant role in benefitting people’s wellbeing and Scripture engagement,” explained Dr. John Farquhar Plake, Director of Ministry Intelligence at American Bible Society. “To increase Scripture engagement, we must increase relational connections with one another through the Church. The pandemic – and now this survey – have shown that when relational church engagement goes up, so does Scripture engagement, but when it goes down, Scripture engagement drops with it. In other words, it’s probably the relationships people have with one another through Church that really make the difference.”
The State of the Bible 2020 showed that Americans who have been personally impacted by the Coronavirus, whether a family member, friend, or neighbor got the respiratory illness or died because of it, claimed to have an increase in Bible engagement. Those who were infected by the virus, 8 in 10, wished they read the Bible more.
As churches slowly open across the country, Briggs advised that, “The Church must transition from ‘survival’ mode back into ‘discipleship’ mode, and, yes, that’s going to take even more innovation.”