Bible reading increased significantly in 2020, according to a new poll released Tuesday, with an estimated 181 million Americans opened a Bible compared to 169 million readers in 2019.
The American Bible Society/Barna poll, which surveyed 3,354 Americans, attributes the 7.1 percent increase to the global pandemic and civil unrest.
“Over the past year, Americans have faced a once-in-a-century pandemic – along with significant political and social unrest,” said John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society. “However, our research shows that in the midst of incredible pressure, Americans are finding hope and resilience in the Bible.”
In addition to first time readers engaging with the Bible, the poll also showed an increase in the number of Americans who regularly read the Bible. Of the adults surveyed, 16 percent said they read the Bible at least four days a week, which is a four percent increase from 2019.
Nearly a quarter of Americans also said they read the Bible more in 2020 than they did in the previous year, and only 29 percent of Americans said they never read the Bible — the lowest percentage in the last five years.
This desire and hunger for the Bible presents a unique opportunity for the Church. Many adults who read the Bible may not feel ready to enter through church doors, but they seem willing to enter into the Word. The recent online church revolution allows the Church to seize this opportunity to help connect with those engaging with the Bible for the first time.
The Bible also has offered many of God’s people peace and comfort in the midst of uncertainty. The Church should encourage new believers to continue pursuing the Word’s message of hope.
“There’s an astounding opportunity right now for the Church to answer our nation’s pervasive trauma and pain with the hope and healing of God’s Word,” said Plake. “The sad truth about our world is that people everywhere endure pain. Often we even inflict pain on others.
“In the midst of real trauma, grief, and affliction, the Bible brings comfort to those who seek it. In the pages of the Bible we find a God who sees us and a God who desires to be with us.”