The American Bible Society and Barna Group published their annual research on the State of the Bible, “a comprehensive study of Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward the Bible”.
For 2014, they identified six trends:
- Bible skepticism is now “tied” with Bible engagement. Skepticism or agnosticism about the Bible has increased and now stands at 19%, the same as the percentage of those who are Bible engaged (who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God).
- Despite the declines, most Americans continue to be “pro-Bible.” But “being pro-Bible doesn’t necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more.”
- Distraction and busyness continue to squeeze out the Bible. “Americans say they want to read the Bible — 62% wish they read Scripture more — they just don’t know how to make time.”
- The age of screens has come to stay in the Bible market. “In just a handful of years, use of tablets and smartphones for Bible searches has skyrocketed, from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2014. That said, a strong majority still prefer to read the Bible in print (84%); the same holds true even among Millennials (81%).”
- Increasingly, people come to the Bible for answers or comfort. Although most come to the Bible to connect with God, there is an increase in those looking for pragmatic answers to life’s problems.
- People are less likely to link moral decline with a lack of Bible reading. People blame decline on other things (movies, music, TV, etc).
The full report is available as a free PDF download. Go to the State of the Bible website, find the View Past Reports section near the bottom of the page and select State of the Bible 2014.