Americans Aren’t Reading the Bible

Bible Cause CoverA recent study by LifeWay Research found that Americans have a positive view of the Bible, but they are not reading it.

Here is a taste of Bob Smietana’s synopsis of the report:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Americans have a positive view of the Bible. And many say the Christian scriptures are filled with moral lessons for today.

However, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible.

Less than a quarter of those who have ever read a Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Christian scriptures each day. And a third of Americans never pick it up on their own, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Small wonder many church leaders worry about biblical illiteracy, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“Most Americans don’t know first-hand the overall story of the Bible—because they rarely pick it up,” McConnell said. “Even among worship attendees less than half read the Bible daily. The only time most Americans hear from the Bible is when someone else is reading it.”

Read the rest here.

Smietana also notes, drawing on data from the American Bible Society, that 87% of Americans have a Bible in their home.

And now for some historical context.

All of this reminds me of the story I tell about former American Bible Society CEO Eugene Habecker in chapter 27 of The Bible Cause: A History of the American Bible Society.  Back in 1996, Habecker was concerned that Americans were not reading the Bibles sitting on their family bookshelves.

For those of you who don’t want to buy the book, I summarize the story in an article at Christianity Today titled “How the American Bible Society Became Evangelical.”