A desire to read the Bible more is a consistent desire of U.S. adults, according to the Barna Group.
The percentage of U.S. adults who would like to read their Bible more has been consistent for the last five years – moving from 60 percent (2012) to 62 percent (2014) to 61 percent (2016).
While intention to read the Bible more has remained high, follow-through is often lacking. “About one quarter (23 percent) of Americans say their Bible used increased,” Barna found.
Reasons for increased Bible reading varied, but 67 percent said that they “came to understand it as an important part of [their] faith journey.”
Several other explanations involved significant life experiences – both positive and negative – that led people to turn to the Bible for answers and guidance.
The leading factor for decreased Bible engagement (cited by 58 percent of respondents) was “too busy with life’s responsibilities (job, family, etc.).”
Gender and age influenced responses.
Women (68 percent) were more likely than men (54 percent) to affirm their desire to read the Bible more. Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) were more likely than Millennials (1984 to 2002) to do so by a 68 to 55 percent margin.
“We have consistently seen in our research that, even with skepticism on the rise, Americans still hold the Bible in high regard,” said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group.
“However, like other new year’s resolutions, such as exercising more and eating healthier, Scripture reading is often an aspirational goal … that for most people probably doesn’t feel necessary to survival and so can easily get swamped by the day-to-day demands of a busy life,” she added.
The full report is available here.