Christians say the Bible is God’s word, but even among Protestant churchgoers only a third spend time reading it every day, according to a study released July 2.
The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from LifeWay Research, conducted Jan. 14–29, found those who regularly attend Protestant churches are inconsistent in their reading and thinking about Scripture.
The study identifies Bible engagement as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing, maturing Christians.
“This research asked churchgoers about many biblical characteristics to see which actions, beliefs and desires are present in the lives of followers of Christ,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Among them Bible reading was one of the most predictive of spiritual maturity.”
A third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly (32%) say they read the Bible personally every day. Around a quarter (27%) say they read it a few times a week. Fewer say they only read it once a week (12%), and close to 1 in 8 (12%) admit they rarely or never read the Bible.
Churchgoers aged 50 to 64 are more likely to say they read the Bible every day (35%) than adults under 50 (30%).
In a 2016 study of churchgoing Protestant parents LifeWay Research found regular Bible reading as a child was the biggest factor in predicting the spiritual health of young adults.
The latest survey finds Bible reading as an adult has similar far-reaching effects.
Researchers also asked churchgoers if they think about biblical truths throughout the day and if they miss time with God if they go several days without reading the Bible. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) agreed or somewhat agreed they did.
“Jesus’ prayer for His followers was that they would be sanctified by the truth of God’s word,” McConnell said. “It’s not surprising that the lives of those who spend time reading the Bible look more like Christ. … This fits with the Bible’s own description of itself as being ‘living and effective.’” (BP)
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