A new LifeWay study suggests that those who read the Bible every day are few and far between. More often than not, these daily Bible readers live in the western part of the country, too.
The survey asked those who go to church at least once a month how often they read the Bible. Just 32 percent of the 2,500 respondents answered “every day.”
LifeWay conducted an online survey between the dates of January 14-29, 2019. They screened for people who attend either American Protestant or non-denominational churches, and sought churchgoers across the United States.
While the ratio of 1 out of every 3 Christians reading their Bible every day may seem disappointing at first, it doesn’t seem as bad when combined with the next group of people: those who read their Bibles a few times a week (27 percent). Those two groups combined represent over half of the respondents—meaning the majority of churchgoers read their Bible at least a few times a week, if not more often.
According to the results, those surveyed read their Bible:
Every day – 32 percent
A few times a week – 27 percent
Once a week – 12 percent
A few times per month – 11 percent
Once a month – 5 percent
Rarely/never – 12 percent
The More You Go to Church, You’re More Likely to Read the Bible Every Day
The study also indicates going to church makes one more likely to read his or her Bible more frequently. Respondents who attend a worship service four times a month or more (34 percent of the respondents are represented by this statement) are more likely to read their Bible every day than those who attend less than 4 times a month (27 percent of the respondents).
Breaking the respondents down by age also reveals some interesting insight. The highest group of “every day” readers came from the 50-64 age bracket (35 percent), while the 35-49 group and the 18-34 group both came in at 30 percent. When comparing church affiliation, Evangelical Protestants are most likely to read every day (36 percent), followed by Black Protestants (30 percent), and finally Mainline Protestants (20 percent).
Comparing ethnic groups, Hispanics have the highest percentage of “every day” readers (40 percent). And those who live in the west are more likely to read every day (37 percent) compared to those in the midwest (31 percent) and even the South (31 percent).
Bible Reading Linked to Thinking About the Bible Throughout the Day
Respondents were also asked to respond to the statement “Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths.” Again, church-going frequency indicated the more one goes to church, the more likely they would “strongly agree” with thinking about the Bible throughout the day. Hispanics were most likely to strongly agree with this statement (52 percent), while those living in the South (35 percent) beat out the westerners (34 percent) and midwesterners (24 percent).
Another statement posed to the respondents included: “If I go several days without reading the Bible I desperately miss the time with God.” Once again, more frequent churchgoers were most likely to “strongly agree” with this statement, along with Hispanics (44 percent). Comparing regions, those in the south (36 percent) and west (34 percent) were more likely to strongly agree compared with those in the Northeast (26 percent). And comparing church affiliation revealed Evangelical protestants were most likely to strongly agree (38 percent), compared to Black Protestants (33 percent) and Mainline Protestants (19 percent).
Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research, notes “Jesus’ prayer for His followers was that they would be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word.” Therefore, McConnell concludes “It’s not surprising that the lives of those who spend time reading the Bible look more like Christ.”