by Aaron Earls
While most Americans would contend the Bible is the book that has had the most impact on humanity, America’s relationship with the Bible remains complicated.
To find out what we think about it today, the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible 2015 examines the attitudes of U.S. adults toward Scripture. Here are 13 of the most interesting facts from the study about Americans and the Bible.
1. It gives us meaning.
Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans strongly agree the Bible contains everything a person needs to know and live a meaningful life.
2. Most want more biblical influence on society.
More than half (51 percent) believe the Bible has too little influence on American society today. Millennials are the only generation with less than half agreeing the Bible has too little influence. Only a third agree with that statement.
3. We overestimate how available it is globally.
Almost three-quarters (72 percent) wrongly believe the Bible is currently available in all of the world’s languages. In reality, 26 percent have no Scripture translations even started and 31 percent have translations in progress.
4. Even non-Christians own one.
A Bible can be found in more than 2 out of 3 non-Christian homes (68 percent).
5. Most of us read it occasionally.
Half the nation (52 percent) says they read the Bible at least three to four times a year.
6. Not many of us read it daily.
One in 7 (14 percent) Americans say they read the Bible every day.
7. Older Southern women are reading it.
Bible readership is more likely among women (58 percent), those living in the South (66 percent) and at least 69 years old (66 percent).
8. Young people aren’t.
More than one-third of millennials (37 percent) never read the Bible, the highest percentage for any generation.
9. Millennials are reading it for different reasons than others.
Fewer millennials say they read the Bible because it brings them closer to God (51 percent) than any other generation. But the youngest generation was the most likely to say they read Scripture when they have a problem to solve or need direction (21 percent).
10. Most readers want to be appliers.
More than half (58 percent) of those who read the Bible in the past week say they gave a lot of thought to how it might apply to their life.
11. We’re split on what it means.
Forty percent believe the Bible’s main message is God is love, while 31 percent believe it tells the story of who God is and His desire to have a relationship with the people He created.
12. We still don’t know what it says.
More than a third (36 percent) mistakenly believe “God works in mysterious ways” is a quote from the Bible, including 44 percent of those 69 and older, the most for any generation. And those aren’t the only phrases Americans misidentify as from the Bible.
13. The more you read, the more you give.
Bible readers are much more likely to donate more money to non-profit organizations than non-Bible readers. In fact, the amount donated is directly correlated—though not necessarily causally related—to the frequency with which one reads the Bible.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.