How Many Christians Read The Bible

How Many Christians Read The Bible

Reading the Bible is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. Throughout history, Christian traditions have relied on the Bible for guidance and reflection about life and God’s will. Today, many Christians continue to view the Bible as an important and inherent part of faith. Though this tradition may be timeless, it’s not always clear how many people are actually engaging with the Bible.

One survey from Lifeway research found that 64% of practising Christian Americans indicated that they read the Bible each week. Other survey findings from the American Bible Society indicated similar proportions– about 66% of U.S. Christian adults read the Bible at least once a week. Additionally, according to the study, 98% of practising US Christians view the Bible as Holy Scripture.

Though surveys offer interesting insights, many agree that interpreting such data is difficult. How are ‘practicing’ and ‘Christian’ defined? Is knowing the Bible merely enough? Questions such as these and more complicate the attempt to measure Bible engagement.

Moreover, there’s some disagreement among church leaders on the current state of Bible engagement. While some offer a positive opinion on the topic, others are less optimistic. After speaking with pastors across the country, journalist Katelyn Beaty in the Atlantic concluded that “each church leader’s opinion of how much their congregation read the Bible varied.”

Others, however, are offering unique ways of assessing ‘Bible engagement’ outside of surveys and interviews. Pastor Brian Hampton from Serving the City Church in Atlanta implemented a digital Bible curriculum called Digital Bible Engagement (DBE). The analytical framework of DBE allows churches to track key Bible metrics, ranging from passages read to insight gained. For example, DBE can uncover how many Christians read which Bible passages and how this affected their understanding or interpretation of a particular passage.

Though precise measurement of Bible reading may be difficult, there are numerous ways to assess the impact that Bible reading has on the lives of Christians. Bible reading not only educates on the text and develops a knowledge base, but it can also deeply shape our actions, outlook and life. Additionally, with the help of analytical frameworks, churches can make the most of their Bible curriculum and increase the engagement of their congregation.

Impact of Bible Reading

The impact of Bible reading is often difficult to measure. While data from surveys and interviews can offer interesting perspectives on Bible reading engagement, many suggest that its impact on Christian life goes beyond this. Reading the Bible regularly can help inform decisions, develop character and inspire worship.

Reformed theologian James K. A. Smith offers a perspective on the latter, stating that that reading the Bible “is the practice of attending to God.” From this perspective, reading the Bible is not just an activity that informs on the details of Christian faith, but an activity that can also foster an intimate relationship with God. As Smith writes, “It’s not simply a private reading of someone else’s story. It is first of all a response to God’s invitation to enter his story.”

Those reading the Bible can also potentially gain insight on how to apply the wisdom within to their own lives. Biblical scholar Elizabeth Boase suggests that a “good reader” is “able to bridge the gap between Scripture and life today.” For Boase, this connection is essential for an active engagement with the Bible that can ultimately “shape our relationships with others different from us,” and lead to a “more complete understanding of God.”

Barriers to Bible Reading

It’s true that many Christians recognize the importance of reading the Bible. Yet, other factors may prevent Christians from engaging with it regularly.

According to the Pew Research Center, lack of time was indicated as a top factor that prevented Christians from reading the Bible. This is likely rooted in the fact that nearly 70% of Americans admitted to leading “extremely busy lives.” Additionally, the Bible may also intimidate some from delving into its breadth of chapters and verses.

Aside from time and intimidation, another factor to consider is the comparative ease of accessing certain media. Compared to the Bible, people are more likely to access TV, books, music and movies around 6 to 10 times per week.

Due to these factors, it may not be a surprise that some surveyed indicated that they were not reading the Bible regularly, or at all.

The Role of Technology

In response to the above factor, an increasing amount of churches and ministries are starting to utilize technology to increase Bible engagement.

For example, tech companies are getting involved in the effort to facilitate Bible study. Many have developed apps and websites that make reading, understanding and learning the Bible easier and more accessible.

Projects have also been developed and organised against the backdrop of new technologies, such as the Crosswire Bible Society. This project focused on developing an effort to “digitize scripture” and make it accessible to all. The result allowed readers to better take advantage of references, versions and commentaries linked to scripture verses.

Additionally, larger church structures and ministries are also having success utilizing technology in their Bible engagement initiatives. According to a study from Newsmax, “19 percent of churches said that streaming services during COVID-19 was the biggest factor in increasing their Bible engagement.” Other tech initiatives, such as social media, texting and private communication programs have also seen success in increasing church engagement.

What’s Working?

The data recently collected by the Pew Center indicates that the 14-18 year old age group stands out as being unusually religiously engaged. When analysing the age groups, it was found that amongst these teenagers, Bible reading is twice as popular compared to 35-51 year olds. Yet, further studies are still needed to determine what’s driving this increased engagement.

But, it’s not just among youth that Bible engagement initiatives are having success. Intergenerational initiatives, such as small faith groups and Bible studies, are still common in many churches. Additionally, digital curriculum initiatives, such as DBE and Boomerang, are offering uncommon insight and data on successes in churches nationwide.

How Can We Improve Bible Reading?

To this end, many churches and ministries are utilizing technology initiatives to fill in the gaps. This often helps them analyze what’s working and allow them to adjust their techniques and tactics. Additionally, it’s important to remember that connecting with the Bible will likely look different for many people, so providing various opportunities to engage is paramount.

In addition to embracing technology, some churches and pastors hear the importance of training “good readers”. Panel discussions like the one mentioned earlier, or seminars featuring Biblical scholars can offer guidance for churches in this realm. Additionally, providing ample resources for readers to study the context, language and history of the Bible can be helpful in developing deeper understanding and appreciation.


Many Christians around the world find value in reading the Bible. Surveys, though difficult to interpret, indicate that a large majority of practising Christians read the Bible regularly. Yet, there are a number of potential barriers to engagement, including lack of time and intimidation. As such, this has driven the need to create innovative technology initiatives and teachings to help increase familiarity and understanding of Christian scripture. Moving forward, encouraging good Bible readers by providing ample resources and teaching may help churches engage with the Bible in meaningful ways.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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