What percentage of people read the Bible?

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VATICAN LETTER May-2-2008 (840 words) Backgrounder. With graphic posted May 1. xxxi

Not an easy read: Survey indicates Bible hard to understand
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Bible: Most people in Europe and North America have one and some of them actually read it, but more than half of them say it is difficult to understand.

A survey commissioned by the Catholic Biblical Federation found that even those who reported reading the Bible said it was not easy to understand.

Luca Diotallevi, the Rome-based sociology professor who coordinated the survey's working group, said, "This is very important: People described the Bible as difficult whether or not they said they read it."

"The people of God are asking for help reading the Bible," he said in an April 30 interview.

The Catholic Biblical Federation commissioned the survey as part of its preparation for the October world Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the Bible.

During an April 28 Vatican press conference, the federation and GfK-Eurisko, which conducted the survey, presented preliminary results from nine countries: the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Russia.

The survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted in November with 13,000 adults.

Asked, "In the past 12 months have you read any passage from the Bible?" 75 percent of U.S. adults said "yes."

Their European counterparts were far behind them, but Diotallevi said the results coincide with other surveys on the differences between U.S. and European religious attitudes and practices.

Diotallevi said a few more Protestants than Catholics reported having and reading the Bible, but the difference was so slight that it "was not statistically relevant."

The percentage of Europeans affirming they had read a Bible passage in the previous year varied from a high of 38 percent in Poland to a low of 20 percent in Spain.

But the huge differences all but disappeared when those surveyed were asked whether they considered the Bible's content to be "easy" or "difficult."

The spread of those who said it was difficult went from 56 percent in the United States to 70 percent in Germany.

The percentage of respondents who said they had a Bible at home was 93 percent in the United States, 85 percent in Poland, 75 percent in Italy, 74 percent in Germany, 67 percent in both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, 65 percent in Russia, 61 percent in Spain and 48 percent in France.

The survey designers also tested for what they defined as an individual's "index of biblical knowledge," by asking seven very basic questions, such as "Are the Gospels part of the Bible?" and "Did Jesus write a book of the Bible?"

Diotallevi said the scores of Catholics and Protestants were not significantly different because while slightly more Protestants reported reading the Bible "they have a greater tendency toward fundamentalism, giving what we would consider a wrong answer. For example, many of them maintain that Jesus is the author of the Gospels."

When asked to describe the Bible, the most popular answer in every country except Germany was, "The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in the Bible should be taken literally, word for word."

In Germany, 40 percent chose the phrase about the Bible being inspired, but more respondents -- 42 percent -- said, "The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts."

Diotallevi described as fundamentalist those who chose the response: "The Bible is the actual word of God, which must be taken literally, word for word."

Poland was the country with the highest percentage of fundamentalists, with 34 percent affirming the statement. In the United States 27 percent said it was literally God's word and in Italy 23 percent said so.

One statistic bishops are expected to discuss during the synod is the relatively infrequent use of the Bible for prayer, the "lexio divina" promoted by the church.

Survey respondents who said they prayed were asked, "How do you do it?"

While 37 percent of U.S. respondents and 32 percent of Polish respondents said they use the Bible to pray, only 9 percent of people in the United Kingdom, France and Italy reported praying with the Bible and only 6 percent of Spaniards said they used the Bible for their prayers.

In France and in Italy, the top answer was, "I recite words that I know by heart."

In all the other countries, the most popular method of private prayer was using one's own words.

Those interviewed also were asked about their political orientation; in order to have comparable statistics, the survey did not ask people which party they belonged to, but rather to describe themselves as right wing, center-right, center, center-left or left wing.

He said the number of people who read the Bible "was more or less equal" in each of the political categories.

"But on individual issues, reading the Bible was strongly predictive," Diotallevi said. The statistical breakdowns were not available in late April, but he said those who reported reading the Bible were those most likely to oppose abortion and euthanasia.

END Copyright (c) 2008 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250 How come our people don't read the Bible any more? Mark Brown (Bible Society in NZ) is posting in parts a "talk" he gave, to "a Christian Leadership Conference on the topic of Bible in the church today" in part one he points out the shocking statistics on Bible reading among Kiwi (and even worse[!] US Christians). The Bible Society undertook some research that displayed only 21% of the more than 2,000 church attending participants read their Bible daily. Twenty one percent. Twenty two percent stated they read it at least weekly with the remaining 57% which absolutely should blow you away. I hope it does, because this is a crisis. The remaining 57% saying they either read the Bible occasionally or hardly ever - 22%. Now similar studies recently conducted in the U.S. stated that only 12%. In this study in the U.S. which is quite large, 12% said they read the Bible regularly. Twelve percent! This is an issued that faces the Western Church and I've had the opportunity of doing a little travelling, chatting to colleagues in other western Countries, in the U.S., U.K and even Australia. And this is the problem they face. This is an epidemic. Why have a book if you never read it? http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2005/05/why-have-book-if-you-never-read-it.html Some interesting statistics, via Jane: Some statistics:

* About 92 percent of American own at least one copy of the Bible.
* The average household has 3 copies.
* About 67 percent of Americans say that the Bible holds the answers to the basic questions of life.
* The Bible is the world's all-time best seller.
* At least 20 million copies are sold each year.
* Gideon International annually distributes more than 45 million copies.

Biblical knowledge (Biblical illiteracy is rampant):

* Perhaps 15 percent of Americans participate in Bible studies.
* The number of people who read the Bible, at least occasionally is 59 percent.
* Less than 50 percent of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis).
* Only 1/3 of Americans know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (more people identified Billy Graham rather than Jesus).
* Twenty-five percent of Americans don't know what is celebrated on Easter (the Resurrection of Christ, the foundational event of Christianity).
* Twelve percent of Christians think that Noah's wife is Joan of Arc.
* Eighty percent of born-again Christians (including George W. Bush) think it is the Bible that says "God helps them that help themselves." (Actually it was said by Benjamin Franklin.) Americans and the Bible:
Bible Ownership, Reading, Study and Knowledge in the United States

by Michael J. Vlach http://www.theologicalstudies.citymax.com/page/page/1572910.htm The Christian Bible continues to be a revered book in the United States. In fact, no other book comes close to having been read and re-read as much as the "Good Book". Every year, millions of Bibles are printed in this country. Researcher George Gallup points out that so many Bibles have been printed in the United States "that even rough estimates of the total number published to date do not exist." 1

How do Americans use the Bible and what do they know about it? Recent research has produced important information about Bible ownership, reading, study, and knowledge in the United States.

Bible Ownership
Most Americans own a Bible. In fact, 92% of households in America own at least one copy. Of those households that own a Bible, the average number of Bibles is three. This includes not only the homes of practicing Christians but hundreds of thousands of atheists as well. 2

Bible Reading
Although most Americans own a Bible, use of the Bible varies significantly. In a poll taken by the Gallup Organization in October, 2000, 59% of Americans reported that they read the Bible at least occasionally. This is down from 73% in the 1980s. The percentage of Americans who read the Bible at least once a week is 37%. This is down slightly from 40% in 1990. 3 According to the Barna Research Group, those who read the Bible regularly spend about 52 minutes a week in the scriptures. 4 Barna, "The Bible," data is from 1997.

Which gender is more faithful at reading the Bible at least weekly? The prize goes to the women. Women (42%) are more likely than men (32%) to have read the Bible in the past week. What version do people prefer? As of 1997, those who read the Bible preferred the King James Version to the New International Version by a 5 to 1 margin. 5

Bible Study
When it comes to going beyond merely reading the Bible to actual study of the Bible, the numbers decline sharply. Only one in seven Americans report an involvement that goes beyond just reading the Bible. Fourteen percent of Americans currently belong to a Bible study group. 6 This is down a full one-third from 1990 when 21% said they were involved in a Bible study group. 7

Bible Knowledge
How about knowledge of the Bible? According to Gallup, "Despite the impressive statistics concerning Bible reading and study, it is apparent that ignorance about its contents is widespread." 8 He gives evidence for this conclusion: -- Only half of adults interviewed nationwide could name any of the four Gospels of the New Testament. -- Just 37% of those interviewed could name all four Gospels. -- Only 42% of adults were able to name as many as five of the Ten Commandments correctly. -- Seven in ten (70%) were able to name the town where Jesus was born, but just 42% could identify him as the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. 9 Researcher George Barna has also documented the lack of Bible knowledge in the United States: -- 38% of Americans believe the entire Bible was written several decades after Jesus' death and resurrection (While this is true of the New Testament, the entire Old Testament was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ). -- 12% of adults believe that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc. -- 49% believe that the Bible teaches that money is the root of all evil. (The love of money is said to be the root of all types of evil). -- 75% believe that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. 10 George Lindbeck, the famous Yale theologian, has commented on the decreasing knowledge of scripture from a professor's perspective: "When I first arrived at Yale, even those who came from nonreligious backgrounds knew the Bible better than most of those now who come from churchgoing families." 11

Recent research highlights the decreasing influence of the Bible in the United States and the importance of serious Bible study by Christians. As our society becomes increasingly pluralistic and subjective in its worldview, the more important it will be for Christians to know and study their Bibles. Only by doing so can we intelligently present a biblical worldview to those who know so little of the Word that is able to save their souls.
1 George Gallup, Jr., The Role of the Bible in American Society (Princeton: The Princeton ReligionResearch Center, 1990)
2 Barna Research Online, "The Bible," www.barna.org. This information is based on 1993 figures.
3 Alec Gallup and Wendy W. Simmons, "Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally," TheGallup Organization, www.gallup.com, October 20, 2000.
4 Barna, "The Bible," data is from 1997.
5 Ibid., data is from 2001.
6 Gallup, "Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally,"
7 Gallup, The Role of the Bible in American Society, 17.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 Barna, "The Bible," The information is from the years 1994, 1997, 1994, and 2000 respectively.
11 George A. Lindbeck, "The Church's Mission to a Postmodern Culture," Postmodern Theology: ChristianFaith in a Pluralist World (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989) 45.
4 people found this useful

Why did the church forbid people to read the Protestant Bible?

Two reasons . At this period in history (commonly referred to as the 'Reformation' or 'Pre-Reformation') , the only church that existed was what is now called the Roman Catholic church. During the time, the church services and the entire Bible were all in Latin. Anything for the educated class, ( Full Answer )

How many people read the Bible daily?

The Bible is read by hundreds and thousands of people around the world to get faith, hope and courage from God's and Jesus' words!.

What do Jewish people read like how Christians have a Bible?

The Hebrew Bible is the Tanakh [Tanach]. It is divided into three sections: the Torah, the Nevi'im, and theKetuvim. The Torah includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Torah means "Teachings" The Nevi'im consists of Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings,Isaiah, Je ( Full Answer )

Why do people read the Bible?

To find faith in God or Jesus. For many centuries now, the Bible is the World's 'best seller.' It has been copied into many languages and there are just as many reasons why people read the Bible - curiosity, help, comfort, advice, answers, faith - and the list goes on and on. As the #1 Best Sel ( Full Answer )

Why do you read Bible?

to learn the word of god Answer The bible is a classroom, where many teachers are sent to teach us the answers to life's complex questions which we are unable to answer for ourselves. Three main questions that to pupil has are 1. Who and what is God. 2. Where did we come from. 3. Why are we here and ( Full Answer )

Who reads The Bible?

Mostly Christians but some people that are not religious sometimes read the Bible. Those who want to learn about God and the stories in the Bible start reading it.. __________. Those who use the Bible as a guide to life are the main purchasers and regular readers of that book. However, many people ( Full Answer )

When do people read the bible?

People read the bible in order to give a more spiritual guide to their life. If you plan on begining to read the bible I recommend one with verse interpretations at the bottom giving a more modern interpretation on what it actually means. Simply because lots of meanings can be looked at differently ( Full Answer )

Why do people not read the Bible?

But millions do! The Bible is still the most printed, read, sold, published, distributed book there is - and has been for all time. Hundreds of millions of Christians read it daily, in church services across the world it is read at each Sunday, and Christians willingly study it either at home with s ( Full Answer )

Do people still read the Bible And why?

Yes, there are more people reading the Bible today than at any other modern time. The people are seeking that comfort that the scriptures can give them in these troubled times. Help and advice is needed where broken families are concerned. Many people today have more personal problems then ever befo ( Full Answer )

Why do people who likes to read many books but not trying to read the Bible?

They are good readers , but not good believers in Jesus , and only want to make money and enjoy. If you read the bible you will have greater faith and learn more about GOD and its peoples.. -- . I think for most people, they don't want to get sucked up into a religion. All the stereotypes about Ch ( Full Answer )

Why don't people read the bible?

Some people have other faiths so the bible is not their sacred text. Some people don't believe in it. Some think it irrelevant.

Amount of people who have read the whole bible?

This sort of information is not recorded. Who would know - or collate the information - if I have read my copy from cover to cover? While sales of copies of the Bible are recorded, there is no way of knowing if any person reads each copy fully, or even partially.

How many people in Britain read the Bible regularly?

A: Preliminary census figures suggest that in 2011 only around 54 per cent of British people identified as Christians. A follow-up survey conducted by IpsosMORI says that 24 per cent of those who identified as Christians (13 per cent of Britons) actually believe in the teachings of Christianity, a ( Full Answer )

What percentage of people read books by Erin Hunter?

Statistics like that are not really available, because they are too general. There are a lot of people who read Warriors, especially in the United States between the ages of 10 - 14 (the prime demographic). Books from the series regularly make the New York Times bestseller lists on their release dat ( Full Answer )

Do Jewish people read the bible?

The Jewish Bible is called the Tanakh and is in Hebrew. We (Jews)are commanded to learn it (Deuteronomy ch.6). The word Tanakh is an acronym made up of the names of its threesections: Torah (Teachings), Nevi'im (Prophets), K'tuvim(Writings). The Christian Old Testament was based on the Tanakh; howev ( Full Answer )

How much time do people spend reading bible?

It depends, i know people who read some everyday, and i know people who never do. But people all together is to many hours to count. MaDiSoN!!! But, it is intended to be read everyday. That way it can actually have a staying impact on you!! You can actually read through the Bible cover-to-cover in ( Full Answer )

In the past why didn't people read the Bible?

At times in all ages. the Bible has been banned for various reasons. Common people at one time were denied the privilege of reading it for themselves. Not all had the education level to do so, and many false teachings arose. Also, hardness of heart, disbelief, reliance on self, and rejection of God ( Full Answer )

Why do people use 'read your Bible' as proof for Christianity?

It is because Christians are too close-minded to actually find proof of their god. We have all the proof we need... If you are on the outside in the dark, come on in... The Bible is like a huge dictionary/history/riddle book. In it is answers to most of your questions. Some may not be answered ( Full Answer )

The percentage of a countries people who can read and write?

only the rich That is not true. Europe, North America and several other parts of the world have free mandatory school attendance for a certain number of years and thus have a high rate of literacy. Some countries have no money to provide schooling. In some countries education is only available t ( Full Answer )

If people read the Bible how can they possibly believe it?

Christians read the Bible to learn more about God whom they love,to learn about the biblical story of mankind, and the Jewish nationin particular, for comfort, wisdom, ways to live an better life.They believe it is one of the most reliable sources of history, aswell as being renown for its poetry an ( Full Answer )

What percentage of people in world own Bible?

Own a Bible? Not sure, but 98% of population have access to a Bible in their own language. And, interestingly, the Bible is the number 1 selling " Book" every year! .

What percentage of the people in France can read?

In the world literacy league, France comes equal 19th at 99%, though most of those above her are former members of the USSR and their figures may not be all that accurate. The UK, incidentally, comes equal 19th too, and so does the USA.

What percentage of people could read in medieval times?

My guess is about 30% to 40% as an average level of literacy for the Middle Ages in Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire. I know others often give lower figures, but I have heard higher. The percentage of literacy in the Middle Ages depended on time and place. In the Byzantine Empire, there was ( Full Answer )

What do Jewish people read instead of the bible?

The Jewish Bible is called the Tanach. The word Tanach is an acronym representing its three sections: Torah (Teachings), Nevi'im (Prophets), K'tuvim (Writings).

Do Lutheran people read The Bible?

As the bible is there for all to read at any time they do like, yes the Lutheran people and the Lutheran church do very much read the protestant bible.

How many people who call themselves Christians read the Bible?

A: As a follow-up to the official British census of 2011, IpsosMORI conducted a survey to establish what the broad census results actually mean. The resuts says that 24 per cent of those who identified as Christians actually believe in the teachings of Christianity, and only 22 per cent read the Bi ( Full Answer )

How did people reading the bible threaten the church?

Some religions did not want the people to read the Bible for themselves because they were afraid that they would find out that that religion was teaching the wrong doctrines. And some times that is the case. No matter what church you attend it is a good idea to read and see God's word for yourself. ( Full Answer )

Did people in New England enjoy reading the Bible?

Yes, people of New England always enjoyed reading the Bible. From the days of the pilgrims they came here for freedom of their religion, not freedom from religion. There is a difference. In fact the people living in New England still enjoy reading the Bible today. Remember that freedom of religion a ( Full Answer )

Was it a crime to teach people to read the Bible?

First of all, after the Reformation, as we all know, the RomanCatholic Church and the Protestants had been separated from eachother. The Roman Catholic Church had put the Bible in the IndexProhibitorum. The common misconception should be corrected rightnow that this happened. Although the Catholic C ( Full Answer )