Most churchgoers do not read Bible daily - survey

Published 08 September 2012
A recently released study by a Christian research organisation shows that most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.

The findings of the Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by LifeWay Research noted that 19 per cent of respondents report reading or studying the Bible outside of church "every day".

By contrast, 36 per cent of respondents said that they either engage the Bible "once a week", "once a month", or "a few times a month". Eighteen per cent reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, told The Christian Post that he felt attributes from the modern American culture influenced the responses.

"Regular Bible engagement is both personal and requires discipline. Neither are popular in Western culture today," said McConnell. "Too many churchgoers want the benefits of salvation without investing in personally knowing Christ and the abundant life He offers."

For the study, LifeWay Research interviewed a demographically balanced online panel of American adults in October last year. A total of 2,930 surveys were completed, with churchgoing respondents being defined as those who attend a Protestant church at least once a month.

"Bible engagement encompasses more than just Bible reading. It measures the extent to which individuals interact with the truth of Scripture and allow it to permeate their thinking and influence their actions," said McConnell.

"There is a widespread desire among churchgoers to please Jesus, but much less interested in daily wrestling with what pleases Jesus. Instead of Christ being preeminent in the lives of every churchgoer, He is often only the preamble to lives lived apart from biblical truth."

Other findings in the study included 90 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement "I desire to please and honour Jesus in all I do" and 59 per cent agreeing with the statement "Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths".

In an interview with Baptist Press, LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer explained the importance of scriptural study and reading.

"God's Word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity," said Stetzer.

"As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won't grow if you don't know God and spend time in God's Word."

While the study noted the small percentage of regular Bible engagement from respondents, it also pinpointed six actions that "positively impact" the level of Bible engagement a churchgoer partakes in.

These actions were confessing wrongdoings to God, believing in Jesus as the only way to Heaven, following God with an awareness that it "may be costly," praying about the spiritual statuses of acquaintances who are not Christian, reading a book on spiritual growth, and being mentored by a "more spiritually mature Christian."

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