(By Bob Smietana, LifeWay Research). 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.”
Many unfamiliar with biblical text
Almost nine out of 10 households (87 percent) own a Bible, according to the American Bible Society, and the average household has three.
But Bible reading remains spotty.
LifeWay Research surveyed 1,000 Americans about their views of the Bible and found significant splits in how familiar they are with the Christian scripture. One in five Americans, LifeWay Research found, has read through the Bible at least once. That includes 11 percent who’ve read the entire Bible once, and 9 percent who’ve read it through multiple times. Another 12 percent say they have read almost all of the Bible, while 15 percent have read at least half.
About half of Americans (53 percent) have read relatively little of the Bible. One in 10 has read none of it, while 13 percent have read a few sentences. Thirty percent say they have read several passages or stories.
Americans also differ in how they approach reading the Bible.