NASHVILLE — Christians say the Bible is God’s word, but even among Protestant churchgoers only a third spend time reading it every day, according to a study released Tuesday.
The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from LifeWay Research, conducted Jan. 14–29, found those who regularly attend Protestant churches are inconsistent in their reading and thinking about Scripture. The study identifies Bible engagement as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing Christians.
“This research asked churchgoers about many biblical characteristics to see which actions, beliefs and desires are present in the lives of followers of Christ,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Among them, Bible reading was one of the most predictive of spiritual maturity.”
Regular Bible reading
A third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly (32 percent) say they read the Bible personally every day. Around a quarter (27 percent) say they read it a few times a week.
Fewer say they only read it once a week (12 percent), a few times a month (11 percent) or once a month (5 percent). Close to 1 in 8 (12 percent) admit they rarely or never read the Bible.
A 2016 LifeWay Research study found 1 in 5 Americans said they had read all of the Bible at least once. However, more than half said they have read little or none of it.
In the latest study, churchgoers aged 50 to 64 are more likely to say they read the Bible every day (35 percent) than adults under 50 (30 percent).
Churchgoers in the western U.S. (37 percent) are more likely to be everyday Bible readers than those in the Midwest (31 percent) or South (31 percent).
Hispanics are the ethnic group most likely to say they read Scripture every day (40 percent).
Those who attend church four times a month or more (34 percent) are more likely to read every day than those who attend less frequently (27 percent).
Evangelical Protestants (36 percent) and black Protestants (30 percent) are also more likely than mainline Protestants (20 percent) to say they read Scripture every day.
“Jesus’ prayer for His followers was that they would be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word,” McConnell said. “It’s not surprising that the lives of those who spend time reading the Bible look more like Christ.”