The Bible might be the most printed and sold book in the world for over the last five decades, but the American Bible Society said less than half of Christian Americans are no longer spending time reading the Bible. And the rest of the country is worse.
Samuel Harrell, director of Project Ignition at the American Bible Society, gave a presentation at the Movement Day Global Cities conference at the Jacob Javits Center last Wednesday and revealed the findings made by the Barna Group of their six-year assessment, according to The Christian Post.
Records show that only 18 percent of the American population 18 years and older read the Bible. Out of the practicing Christians in this group, only 37 percent read the Bible.
"I know that you and I are feeling the change in the winds and the trends that are affecting us, so you probably had conversations about just what feels very real about the Bible in our culture," Harrell said.
Eugene Peterson, author of "Eat This Book," said the Bible requires spiritual reading since it would honour the "intricate web of relationships between God and the human."
Fellow author Chris Webb of "The Fire of the Word" also agrees. "When we open the Bible, it does not say to us, 'Listen: God is there!' Instead, the voice of the Spirit whispers through each line, 'Look: I am here!'" Webb explained.
Unfortunately, Harrell said only 38 percent of Americans considered themselves friendly towards the Bible. From that number, 14 percent are male while 22 percent are female. When the numbers are broken down by generation, millennials are the least engaged with Bible reading at just 12 percent. In comparison, older adults are the most engaged with Bible reading at 26 percent.
"Millennials, they are reading you and me. Millennials are looking at us, millennials are saying, hey, one fourth of millennials are sceptics. There are those who are indicating that not only do they not believe the Bible, but they categorise the Bible as just another book or fairytale. But they also voice opposition to the Bible and consider it a dangerous book," Harrell said.
As for race, African-Americans are the most avid Bible readers at 29 percent, followed by whites at 17 percent and Hispanics at 15 percent.
A whopping 62 percent of Americans said they want to read the Bible more. However, there are certain challenges — especially when it comes to the millennial group.
"As one of our experts at ABS says, the number one reason millennials give for increasing their Bible reading is its impact on someone else. Think about that," said Harrell. "What are they saying?"