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Fewer people reading Scripture, says American Bible Society

Storm clouds gather around a church in Camp Washington, Ohio. Associated Press/Photo by Aaron Doster

Fewer people reading Scripture, says American Bible Society

While fewer people are reading, the number of people engaging with the Scripture in other ways has held steady, according to a report released Thursday by the American Bible Society. The report focused on the number of people reading the Bible, how often they read it, and the number of people wishing they read it more.

Researchers used fifteen questions to determine engagement with the Bible. They surveyed the frequency of Bible reading, its impact on the reader’s relationship with God and others, and Scripture’s centrality in making decisions.

What are the numbers on Bible use? According to the report, Bible use is slightly down from last year. Fewer people this year say they use the Bible at least three times a year outside of church services. But those who are reading the Bible generally seem to be doing so more often.

How do those numbers compare to other years? The American Bible Society notes that in 2021, roughly half of people in the United States said they engaged with Scripture at least three times a year outside church. That number has dropped to 38 percent this year.

What about overall Scripture engagement? Is it still steady? The number of respondents engaged with Scripture remained at 18 percent, or 47 million people. More people dropped from the middle into the ABS’ lowest level of Scripture engagement.

How did the researchers get these numbers? The American Bible Society worked with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago on a survey to capture and represent the Bible’s impact nationally. Researchers conducted the study over the month of January, surveying individuals above the age of 18 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Dig deeper: Read Sharon Dierberger and Emma Freire’s cover story for WORLD Magazine, providing a crash course in the history of Christian nationalism—and debunking the myths surrounding it.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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