A new study finds that the overwhelming majority of those who read the Bible at least three times a year have experienced transformation as a result of their encounters with Scripture. Imagine how their lives would have been transformed if they read God’s Word daily. A sizable minority of Christians who interacted with the Bible less frequently also experienced transformation.
The American Bible Society released the seventh chapter of its 12th annual “State of the Bible” report Wednesday, which focuses on “Bible use.” The survey of 2,598 adults conducted from Jan. 10-28 defines “Bible users” as those who said they interacted with the Bible at least three to four times a year.
Within this group of “Bible users,” 92% answered in the affirmative when asked if “the message of the Bible has transformed my life.” Just 8% said otherwise. By contrast, a majority of respondents who did not meet the criteria for designation as a “Bible user” (62%) did not see the message of the Bible as a source of transformation in their lives, while 38% did.
John Farquhar Blake, the director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society, reacted to the findings of the survey in a statement: “While we’ve reported that there has been a sharp decline in Bible reading, nearly 60 million people who engage with the Bible less than three times per year say it has had a transformative impact on their lives.
The Bible Society research shows that consistent interaction with God’s Word changes us.
Of course, it will, the Bible contains the truth about us and God’s world. It reveals the truth about our spiritual enemy (Satan and his demons) and the good news of what Jesus has done for us by taking the punishment that is due all sinners by dying in our place so that we might be restored to a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we repent of our rebellion against God and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, our Heavenly Father then sends the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit to enable us to combat our spiritual enemy and live a Christian life.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
We cannot live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, comforter, and teacher. He is the one that produces the fruit (9) of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. He is also the one that provides the gifts (9) of the Spirit for ministry (1 Corinthians 12) words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, faith, healing, and miracles. He is the third person of the Trinity and we must not grieve Him or quench His work in our lives. Sadly, many of us do, we do not openly say my will be done today not your will Holy Spirit but in effect, we do not recognize the Holy Spirit’s deity and consult Him about each day’s activities.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
READING OF THE BIBLE
Broken down by age demographic, majorities of both adults aged 58 and older (75%) as well as adults aged 18-57 (65%) reported reading from a printed Bible in the month prior to the survey’s collection. Majorities of younger Bible users embraced Bible apps (53%) and searched for Bible-related content on the internet (57%) in the preceding months, while 35% of their older counterparts used both of the aforementioned methods for interacting with the Bible.
A higher share of older Bible users (46%) adopted an app-based Bible reading plan at some point in the month preceding the survey, along with 35% of younger Bible users. On the other hand, more younger Bible users (32%) watched Bible-oriented programming than older ones (23%).
The survey also inquired as to whether respondents were “able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not.” Forty-seven percent of Scripture engaged respondents indicated that they strongly agreed with that statement, while an additional 47% somewhat agreed. Just 4% somewhat disagreed and the remaining 2% strongly disagreed.
The overwhelming majority of those in the “Movable Middle” told pollsters that they somewhat agreed with that statement, followed by 20% who somewhat disagreed, 17% who strongly agreed, and 4% who strongly disagreed. Forty-eight percent of Bible-disengaged respondents “somewhat agreed” that they were able to sincerely forgive those who had done them wrong, while 30% somewhat disagreed, 11% strongly agreed and 10% strongly disagreed.
Christians need to get back to treating the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
The Bible alone truly answers the greatest questions that men of all ages have asked: “Where have I come from?” “Where am I going?” “Why am I here?” “How can I know the truth?” For the Bible reveals the truth about God, explains the origin of man, reveals the only way to salvation and eternal life, and explains the vexing problem of sin and suffering.