A new survey found that Bible reading increased dramatically in 2020, with some 181 million Americans opening a Bible in the past year, a 7.1% increase from 2019.
According to the American Bible Society, the Coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest caused Americans to find solace in the written Word. Data showed that one in four U.S. adults report more frequent Bible reading in 2020 compared to the previous year.
“Over the past year, Americans have faced a once-in-a-century pandemic—along with significant political and social unrest,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and director of ministry intelligence for American Bible Society. “However, our research shows that in the midst of incredible pressure, Americans are finding hope and resilience in the Bible.”
Regular Bible engagements also spiked, with 16% of the respondents saying they read the Bible at least four days a week, a 4% increase from 2019, reports Relevant Magazine.
Our research shows that in the midst of incredible pressure, Americans are finding hope and resilience in the Bible. —John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for American Bible Society
Plake added that, “This marks the fourth straight year in a trend of Americans moving toward the Bible, with COVID-19 encouraging many of us to look to faith for answers.”
ABS polled 3,354 Americans in January 2021 and released on May 11 the first two chapters of their 11th annual State of the Bible report.
The report revealed that, “Americans are moving forward with muted optimism after a year of stress, frustration, and loss.” ABS looks at how Americans rank these four categories in times of stress and hardships: relationship comforts, activity comforts, substance comforts, and spiritual comforts.
More than half (53%) of Americans find comfort through their relationship, followed by activity (52%), substance (46%), and spiritual (44%).
“The most popular comfort choice from all respondents is seeking out a family member (43%), followed by prayer and/or meditation (38%). Food is the third most popular option for the general American population, chosen by one in three (34%). Reading the Bible ranks seventh, overall (23%),” the report said.
ABS pointed out that Americans give a high importance in leaning on God in times of uncertainty and stress. Fifty-four percent of respondents believe that the Bible is significant in one’s life and it contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life.
“There’s an astounding opportunity right now for the Church to answer our nation’s pervasive trauma and pain with the hope and healing of God’s Word,” said Plake. “In the midst of real trauma, grief, and affliction, the Bible brings comfort to those who seek it. In the pages of the Bible we find a God who sees us and a God who desires to be with us.”