Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between regular Bible engagement and spiritual maturity so I was particularly interested to see how often we are ‘in the Word’ at BBC.
According to one study, reading the Bible less than 4 days a week has no effect on Christian behaviour, while those who read it at least 4 days a week are far more likely to share their faith, disciple others, and avoid risky behaviours. Another study found a link between Bible reading and serving. Of course, ‘correlation does not equal causation’ and Bible reading may be a barometer rather than a driver of how we’re doing spiritually.
38% of respondents in our survey indicated they read the Bible at least 4 days per week. Most of these are older Christians, with engagement falling off the younger we go. To some extent, this may indicate the different seasons of life each age group is in.
The majority of people who felt they were growing spiritually read at least 4 days per week, while everyone else who felt they were growing or steady read at least weekly (29%) . Not surprisingly, those struggling rarely or never read. Of all the practices we measured, Bible reading had the largest ‘unengaged’ group with almost a third indicating they rarely read the Bible.
Interestingly, there was no clear relationship between Bible reading and giving or serving at BBC. One again, this highlights what a lifeline Christian fellowship is to many people.
If we struggle with engaging with the Bible, it’s important to ask ourselves why.
Some people just struggle with the act of reading, or genuinely don’t have time. If that’s you, audio bibles can be a great option. The Bible app includes free audio Bibles in multiple translations that you can stream. There are also downloadable audio Bibles you can find that you could listen to in the car or while doing jobs around the house.
The Bible can be a hard book to understand, and that can put us off. Reading devotionals and being part of Bible studies can be an important part of helping us understand and engage more fully with Scripture.
Sometimes we don’t read because of a deeper spiritual malaise. We need to ask: am I making following Jesus a priority? If I’d rather be pursuing other things to the point that they squeeze God out, then spiritual poverty is inevitable. Or if I’m unwilling to conform my life to God’s word, our fallen human nature will rebel. In that case we need to do some spiritual housecleaning: crying out to God for his mercy and aligning our lives around his priorities.
What about you? What helps you engage with the Bible? Or what’s holding you back?