COVID-19 Is Disrupting Americans’ Engagement with Scripture

Jul 28, 2020 by

by Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition:

The Story: A recent survey reveals how COVID-19’s disruption of in-person church attendance is directly impacting Scripture reading.

The Background: At the beginning of 2020, polling by the American Bible Society and Barna Group found that Scripture engagement by adults in the U.S. had risen to 70.9 million, its highest level since measurement by the two organizations began in 2011. A follow-up survey in June, though, showed that the COVID-19 crisis has significantly reduced Americans’ engagement with the Bible.

The State of the Bible polling found that as of the first week of June, Scripture engagement among adults had fallen from 27.8 percent to only 22.6 percent, representing some 13.1 million Americans who were no longer consistently interacting with the Bible “in a way that shaped their choices and transformed their relationships with God and others.”

The largest changes were in the groups classified as “Bible Centered” (i.e., people who say their values and principles of Scripture are central to their life choices and relationships) and “Bible Engaged” (i.e., people who say the values and principles of Scripture mostly influence their relationships with God and others, and to a lesser degree, the Bible also influences their life choices). The percentage of Bible Centered shrank by 3.8 percent, or 9.7 million American adults, while the Bible Engaged category shrank by 1.7 percent or 4.3 million adults.

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