The Bible remains a fixture in American culture and lifestyle according to the “State of the Bible” report, an annual poll conducted by the Barna Group, a California-based research organization, and the American Bible Society.
“The results show that, despite shifting cultural trends, Americans still read the Word, and it remains a powerful, transformative tool in their life. These and other snapshots are included in our list of top seven findings from this year’s State of the Bible report,” the survey said.
Overall, half of Americans are “Bible users” — they read it, pray with it or consider biblical content through online or recorded forms. The survey found that Bible use has remained relatively consistent since 2011.
“Two-thirds of Americans express at least some curiosity to know more about what the Bible says. A similar number of adults (63 percent) are interested in knowing more about who Jesus Christ is,” the survey said. “Just over half of adults who used the Bible in the past week (53 percent) say they give a lot of thought to how it might apply to their lives.”
Similar numbers say that reading the Bible boosts their own spiritual growth, as well as their inclination to “show more loving behaviors to others.’
Overall, six in 10 U.S. adults (58 percent) believe that the message of the Bible has “transformed their life,” with majorities of Bible users saying their time with the holy texts increases their sense of connection with God and their curiosity about God.
City dwellers (53 percent) and small town or rural (49 percent) residents report higher use of the Bible than suburbanites. In the South, 55 percent report regular use; the numbers are 42 percent in the Northeast and 44 percent in the West.
Baby Boomers (51 percent) are most likely to consult the Bible, followed by senior citizens (48 percent) and Millennials (47 percent).
The traditional printed word of the Bible remains the favorite, the survey found.
“The appeal of a print version of the Bible remains high at almost nine in 10 who prefer it (89 percent). Little has changed in the preference for a physical copy of the scriptures in the last eight years since tracking began,” the research said.
Technology is a factor, however.
“More than half of users now search for Bible content on the internet (57 percent) or a smartphone , and another 42 percent use a Bible app on their phones. More than one-third listen via podcast or audio version of the Bible,” the survey said.
The Barna/American Bible Society poll of 2,040 U.S. adults was conducted Jan. 4-18, and released Wednesday.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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