It is common to see statistics quoted in support of one issue or another. More often than not, most of us probably don’t think much about what is behind those numbers. We just absorb the data along with the rest of the information being incessantly shoved in our faces. However, if we want to be well informed, it behooves us to pay a bit more attention to the sources of those statistics.
Barna Group 2019 Survey
Naturally, not all sources are equal and while we should exercise caution when reviewing any published material, some are certainly more dependable. Their history and reputation give us some measure of confidence in what they have to say.
One such is Pew Research Center which we have mentioned elsewhere. Another is Barna Group, a leading research organization which focusses on the intersection of faith and culture. From their bio:
“In its 30-year history, Barna Group has conducted more than one million interviews over the course of hundreds of studies, and has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation, and generations. Barna Group has carefully and strategically tracked the role of faith in America, developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive databases of spiritual indicators. Barna Group has worked with thousands of business, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world, including many protestant denominations, Catholic parishes, and faith leaders.”
One annual survey it has conducted for the past several years is the State of the Bible, designed to determine the Bible’s place in contemporary society. This year’s, conducted in partnership with the American Bible Society, examines trends in engagement. Specifically, the degree to which individuals incorporate the Bible in their lives.One annual survey Barna has conducted for the past several years is the State of the Bible, designed to determine the Bible's place in contemporary society. This year's, conducted in partnership with the American Bible Society... Click To Tweet
Bible Engagement Profiles
This survey targeted American adults and sought to measure three different ways the Bible influences them. They were then divided into five different engagement profiles.
The areas measured were:
- Frequency (how often people interact with the Bible)
- Centrality (how the Bible shapes their choices)
- Impact (how the Bible transforms their relationships)
The profiles are:
- Bible Centered
- Bible Engaged
- Bible Friendly
- Bible Neutral
- Bible Disengaged
Despite what one might expect given the recent trend in society generally and toward (against) Christianity more specifically, the percentage of overall Bible engagement has actually increased slightly. On the other hand, the number of Bible Centered adults has decreased while the number of people who have never used the Bible this year has increased.
Be sure to check out the report for a lot more detail and several other helpful graphs. Whatever one’s personal relationship with the Bible, it can be helpful to see where others may land. It’s clear there is a widespread difference in a number of factors. How often one might read the Bible and how much impact it really has on one’s beliefs and actions.