January 10, 2020

Americans are Reading the Bible Less Often

As we enter this new year, we are also entering a new decade. It’s not hard to see how drastically our country has changed in the last ten years. It’s also not hard to notice a correlation between the sharp spiritual and moral decline and the decline in reverence for God’s Word. In a day when technology puts Scripture at our fingertips, Americans are reading the Bible less often. Our desire to engage with the Bible has been on a slow decline over the last decade – and there’s proof.


The State of the Bible is an annual nationwide study commissioned by the American Bible Society. The research, conducted by Barna Group, reflects thousands of interviews with American adults. The results are released each spring. Year after year, this report gives Christians reason for concern. For instance, when asked to choose between whether the Bible or the U.S. Constitution is more important to the moral fabric of our country, the most recent participants viewed the Constitution as more important.


But the results of this report should also cause us to take stock of our own Bible engagement as believers. While nearly half of all adults say they are Bible users, only 5% say that reading the Bible is transforming their relationships and shaping their life choices. In 2019, significantly fewer adults fell into this “Bible-centered” category compared to the previous year.


Even then, only 5% of Bible-centered participants said they open the Bible to learn about the nature of God. Twice as many said they read Scripture because it tells them how to treat other people. Yet, their answers demonstrate that the more a person engages the Bible, the more they experience an awareness of their need for God and a desire to know Him better. In turn, they desire to read it even more.


All this begs the question – into which group do you fall? If you are a follower of Christ, are you Bible-centered, Bible-engaged, or just Bible-friendly? Is God’s Word merely a source of spiritual insight or is it shaping and transforming your life? The downward spiral in our culture is clear. Americans are reading the Bible less often, but we can choose to buck the trend. Have you engaged with God’s Word today?