How are Christians doing with Bible reading or study? The statistics are still not very encouraging, but they are there for all of us to see.
When Bible owners(everyone) were asked how often they read the Bible on their own outside of a Church service, only 10% of respondents said they do so every day; a shocking 40% never touch their Bibles outside of a Church service! For the full report, please read State of the Bible 2022 from the American Bible Society.
A LifeWay research went further: they asked Church going protestant Christians how often they read their Bibles. As expected, this is a more committed group than anyone who owned a Bible, so the numbers were a little better. However, they are still saddening.
Only 32% of these Church going protestants read their Bibles every day; up to 12% of them rarely or never read their Bibles.
Reading the Entire Bible
According to the Ponce Foundation, “of over 2 billion Christians in the world, less than 30% will ever read through the entire Bible”. Lifeway research findings are similar: one in five americans have read through the Bible at least once.
Perhaps, the numbers on Bible reading are not the best proxy to measure what really matters. If Christians had an excellent fund of Bible knowledge, will the dismal Bible reading numbers matter? Certainly not! The immediate purpose of Bible reading is knowledge; in fact, the New Testament often does not command us to read the Bible but to grow in the knowledge of God!
Regrettably, believers’ knowledge of the scriptures confirms what the numbers about Bible reading are saying. This excellent article from Christianity Today archive describes the astonishingly low level of general Bible literacy.
We have a big problem in the church
If the Church is built on the Truth of the scriptures as its firm foundation, then these troubling statistics should make us weep before God and seek for heavenly solutions.
I believe a major reason for that lukewarm attitude towards the scriptures is that many believers sincerely do not know what is in the Bible for them. I no longer need anyone to encourage me to read the Bible. Why? I hold tight unto it for dear life! I encourage you to carefully read the article Why Do We Read or Study the Bible?
Why We Read it
Until you catch a revelation of what the Bible really is to you—God’s Word, your life—reading or studying it will be a lifeless Christian chore. I pray this opens your understanding to see.