The Bible has a transformational impact on the majority of people who choose to read it, according to new research released by the American Bible Society.
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The 12th annual “State of the Bible” report found that Bible users — people who use the Bible three or four times each year on their own outside of the church — say Scripture has impacted them.
The vast majority of Bible users (92%) agreed with the statement, “The message of the Bible has transformed my life.” Just 8% disagreed with this proclamation.
“Our research shows that consistent interaction with God’s Word changes us,” Dr. John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society, said in a statement. “As the Church, we must look for every opportunity to show our neighbors the transformational love of Jesus — which is all over the pages of the Bible.”
Meanwhile, just 38% of non-Bible users — those who seldom or never read the Bible — said Scripture has transformed their lives; 62% said the Bible has not impacted them in such a way.
These statistics are especially notable considering how many non-Bible engaged people to find inspiration in the text.
“It’s remarkable that such a sizable portion of those who aren’t reading the Bible much say they’ve been transformed by it,” the report reads. “This is not just a glass-half-full observation. Of course, we wish more Americans would interact with Scripture on a regular basis, but this is a noteworthy statistic.”
The American Bible Society continued, “Of the 155 million non-Bible users in America, nearly 60 million would say the Bible’s message has transformed them.”
And the transformational impact of the Bible extends into forgiveness as well, with those engaged with Scripture significantly more likely to agree they are “able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done” to them, regardless of whether those people ask for forgiveness.
Nearly half (47%) of Bible-engaged individuals agreed, while only 11% of those disengaged said the same. All of these data points came from the seventh chapter of the report, released last week.
As Faithwire previously reported, previous chapters from the “State of the Bible” survey also “show that Americans who consistently read and apply the Bible report greater levels of hope and resilience.”
The research, based on 2,598 phone and internet interviews with American adults across the U.S., found the Bible “makes a significant difference in well-being” on the Human Flourishing Index, with those engaged in Scripture scoring 19% higher than those who are not.
Plus, those engaged in Scripture have consistently scored higher on the “hope” front.
“Over these last three years, Scripture-engaged Americans have been at least 14 to 19 percent higher on the Hope Scale than people in the Movable Middle or Bible-disengaged categories,” a release from the American Bible Society read.
And while significant decreases were seen in key Bible metrics, the study also found a positive: a substantial proportion of people who seldom or never read Scripture expressed at least some curiosity about the Bible and Jesus.
In fact, the American Bible Society said this particular subset of data offered “positive news for those in Bible ministry” on the inquisitiveness front.
“Nearly two-thirds of people who seldom or never read the Bible (non-Bible users) indicated some curiosity [about the Bible and Jesus],” the report reads. “One-third of non-Bible users said they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ curious.”
If believers can connect that hope, resilience, and transformation with their biblical habits — and show these attributes to people unengaged with Scripture — perhaps engagement outside the church will increase.
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