Bible Engagement Blog: JumpIntoTheWord

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State of the Bible in the USA

What are the attitudes and behaviours of Americans toward the Bible? Here’s a summary of the current trends from the latest State of the Bible 2014 poll of a representative sample of Americans:

  • sceptical views about the Bible have doubled in the last three years
  • 56% of Americans are pro-Bible yet only 37% read it once a week or more
  • people say they’re not reading the Bible frequently because they “Don’t have enough time”
  • there’s a Bible in 88% of American homes
  • online Bible reading has doubled in the last three years
  • most people still prefer to read a printed Bible
  • a growing percentage of Bible readers look to the Bible to meet their needs (e.g. guidance, comfort, problem solving)
  • a declining percentage of Bible readers come to the Bible to connect with God
  • adults who believe the values and morals of America are declining are more likely to blame this on music, movies and TV than on a lack of Bible reading
  • 50% of adults feel the Bible isn’t influencing society enough

[About the State of the Bible study: An annual survey conducted by the American Bible Society and Barna Group on Bible reading and beliefs. The 2014 data was collected in January and February through telephone and online surveys of more than 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older from within the 48 continental states. Download the State of the Bible 2014 at http://www.americanbible.org/uploads/content/state-of-the-bible-data-analysis-american-bible-society-2014.pdf ] © Scripture Union Canada 2014


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Ground-Breaking Canadian Research

Coming soon – the much anticipated Canadian Bible Engagement Study.Digital%20Asset%20Promotion#486

Envisioned, sponsored and published by the Canadian Bible Forum, together with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada,the Canadian Bible Engagement Study polls 4,500 Canadians regarding their use, trends, beliefs about, and attitudes toward the Bible.

The findings provide multiple insights into how and why Canadians do or do not connect with the Bible, as well as revealing the key drivers of Bible engagement.

Rick Hiemstra (EFC Research Director) and world-class market research company Angus Reid Strategies conducted the survey.

Be on the lookout for this ground-breaking Canadian research. The free download of the Canadian Bible Engagement Study Report will be available on the jumpintotheword Blog on May 1.

© Scripture Union Canada 2014


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Back to the Bible

Renewal and revival are desperately needed. The church is struggling and the world is carefree. Faith is luke-warm, beliefs are shallow and attendance at worship services is in decline. Moral relativism prevails, polytheism and idolatry is commonplace, and hedonism is thriving.

One of the reasons why the church is struggling is because Bible engagement has diminished. According to the Canadian Bible Engagement Study there’s a direct correlation between weekly church attendance and regular Bible engagement. When church attendance declines, so does Bible engagement. When Bible engagement declines, so does church attendance.

Spiritual health and growth will be restored when we get back to the Bible. As Bible engagement goes, so goes the nation. When our Bibles start falling apart, society will stop falling apart! If we want renewal and revival we must read the Word for all it’s worth and live it out for all to see.

Do we want to see sinners repent, love increase, justice triumph and righteousness prevail? If we do, then our hearts, minds, bodies and souls must be soaked in God’s Word. Bible engagement is not an option, it’s a necessity. When we feed on the Word, faith flourishes. When faith flourishes, God’s kingdom grows.

There are no shortcuts with Bible engagement. It requires inclination, time and perseverance. Here are ten practical tips for developing and deepening your personal engagement with the Word:

Choose an appropriate version. As a rule of thumb use a Bible that’s easy to read. Keep several versions on hand for comparison and contrast. You can use an online Bible like Bible Gateway to read different versions in parallel.

Pray. Bible reading and reflection requires illumination from the Holy Spirit. Ask God to be your teacher. Trust Him to open your heart and mind – to give you insight and understanding (cf. Proverbs 2:1-5).

Use a Bible reading guide. Bible reading and reflection is enhanced through the use of a reading guide. Scripture Union specializes in guides for all ages, helping people deepen their understanding and grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Consult commentaries and concordances. To help us read the Bible for all it’s worth we need to understand the original meaning of words, do word searches, appreciate the cultural setting of the text, and learn from gifted theologians.

Stick to a plan. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Having a strategy in place, or a target to aim for, helps focus connections with the Bible. A simple reading plan like the Scripture Gift Mission free 5/52 Reading Plan will help you track your progress.

Mine the text. The Bible is a quarry full of precious gems. To find the gems you ‘dig’, ‘crush’ and ‘screen’ the text. Don’t leave a word unturned – examine it from every angle. Read and re-read until you find the treasure.

Open your ears. We can listen without hearing and hear without understanding (cf. Matthew 13:13). Sin closes our ears and dulls our spirit. Denial, pride, wrong attitudes, greed, selfish ambition, holding onto our own agenda and un-forgiveness all get in the way of hearing God speak through His Word.

Focus on Jesus. The entire Bible centers on Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Read the Old Testament expecting the coming of Christ. Read the New Testament in the light of Christ having come and coming again.

Meditate on truth. “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” Joshua 1:8 (NIV).

Do it! “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” James 1:22 (NIV)

© Scripture Union Canada 2014