Research Results

by CODEC in England and Wales
Author: Revd Dr Peter Phillips
Published by: CODEC, St John's College, University of Durham

This survey of British people's knowledge and use of the Bible was carried out in streets and shopping centres across England and Wales.

Here are some of the findings:

  • 75% said that they owned a Bible, 46% of these owned a traditional Bible, 18% a modern version and 36% said that they owned both a modern and a traditional version.
  • 18% said that they had read the Bible in the last week. 31% said the Bible was significant in their lives now. 47% said the Bible was never significant to them.
  • Even if the information about Bible reading habits is a little gloomy, knowledge about core details of the Christian faith and some of the central Biblical figures are better.
  • About 80% of those surveyed had some knowledge about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. However, knowledge about some essential stories is being lost, especially Old Testament stories.

The survey briefing concludes: "...the masses have been persuaded that the Bible cannot be understood without someone else coming to interpret it or indeed make it more simple – to broker the Bible. Once again, we are offered the stark reality of a people who have been robbed of their Bible, robbed of the words of life by elitism and clericalism. For Biblical Literacy to make an impact of some kind, we need to re-engage the masses with their Bible, to return it to the people: we need a New Reformation!"  [more...]

Author: Barna Research
Published by: American Bible Society (2011)

Published as part of Uncover the Word, "this April 2011 research contains findings from a nationwide study commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Research. The study documents responses taken from U.S. adults 18 years of age and older, and categorizes them to highlight essentially four different groups and their feelings with regard to the authority and relevance of the Bible: 1) Engaged, 2) Friendly – Moderate, 3) Friendly – Light, and 4) Antagonistic."

"Lack of time" was noted as a primary deterrent for every single group. Sometimes this response can be more symptomatic than causal; humans find time for things that are high priorities. Still, people can believe in the Bible and want to read more, but don't have the personal bandwidth.

The survey hones in on the perceptions, misperceptions, Biblical confidence and format preference of each group. There is a helpful conclusion section, with recommendations for encouraging Scripture Engagement among people in each of the four categories.  [more...]

Viability, reproducibility, and long term results
Author: Gregory Fisher

"We wanted the research to address fairly both the positive impact and the challenges facing the FCBH program... This research took a brutally honest look at our own program, and found factual evidence to support our contention that audio scriptures are a valuable tool for use in making disciples in oral cultures."

Greg Fisher is the Regional Manager for Africa for Hosanna/Faith Comes By Hearing. In this 43-page ebook, he describes the methodology and results of a recent research project looking into the FCBH listening group programmes in Africa.

He asks: "What use had the end user made of the FCBH program? We knew what had been introduced into the field through our trainers, but, how had the program actually been used? In what interesting ways was it contextualized in different areas of Africa? What long term impacts would the end users of the program report to our researchers? We knew the long term impacts we hoped to see; however, we wanted to know the impacts the end user reported to help us to measure impacts hoped for against actual impacts seen."

The ebook is available as a download from Smashwords.  [more...]

Authors: Philip Hughes, Claire Pickering
Published by: Christian Research Association, Australia, 2010

"In Australia, frequent Bible reading is the practice of a small group (between 3% and 5%) of young people. This is predominantly a sub-group of those who are involved in Evangelical and Pentecostal churches and youth groups, and those who come from families which encourage the practice."

This 53-page report by the Christian Research Association in Australia presents an in depth survey of Bible engagement among 13-24 year olds. It includes statistics on regular Bible reading, attitudes of young people to the content of the Bible, barriers to Bible engagement, major influences on young people, as well as proposing the following recommendations:

  1. Focus on building youth groups and Bible study groups
  2. Develop materials for occasional readers and the curious
  3. Work with families in encouraging Bible engagement
  4. Explore relevant forms of communication and community for encouraging Bible engagement
  [more...]
Published by: Bible Society (UK), 2008

Congregation members also feel that there is scope for improving the role the Bible plays in Church services. Many feel their understanding of the passages read by preachers during sermons would increase if preachers were better at contextualising the material and providing them with examples of how it is relevant to their lives and how they can apply biblical principles to the problems they face.

This report contains the views of church congregations and pulpits across England and Wales. Commissioned by Bible Society, the report reflects the comments of more than 3,000 church leaders and members.

Topics researched include: the Bible in terms of society and churches, the Bible and spiritual growth, Bible resources, and Bible literacy and application.  [more...]

A study of meditative engagement with selected psalms amongst Edinburgh students
Author: Fergus Macdonald
Published by: University of Edinburgh

"...the creative engagement between respondents and text results from respondents discovering that the psalms resonate with their idealism and basic human needs in ways that facilitate their ongoing spiritual quest for meaning and enlightenment, as well as providing an opportunity to confront God with complaints and dilemmas."

This study is the account of an empirical research programme in practical theology exploring the potential of the Book of Psalms to facilitate the spiritual journey of a sample of University of Edinburgh students aged between twenty and thirty who are on or beyond the fringes of the churches. Drawing upon some insights of the Bible Society movement regarding ‘scripture engagement,’ and in the wider context of increasing interest in spirituality and decreasing confidence in the churches among many westernised young adults, the project seeks to answer two research questions.  [more...]