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Bible Engagement Blog


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Bible Engagement Defined

Bible engagement defined by agencies, forums, societies, centers and research groups has many shades of meaning. Here are some definitions:

Scripture engagement is an identity-forming, learning experience, rooted in the Scriptures and practiced throughout the history of the church, involving the whole person, in which the Word of God, mediated in culture, restores, renews and equips people-in-community, enabling them to embody Christ authentically in the world as His agents of reconciliation and social transformation. American Bible Society

Scripture engagement is encountering God through the Bible to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. American Bible Society

Bible engagement includes action, whether people are intentionally and frequently engaged in using Scripture (either reading or hearing it read) and attitude, whether people believe the Bible to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. Barna Group

An encounter with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit that is a motivated/inspired interaction with God’s Story that includes various media that involves an individual or communal activity/response/application that cultivates/results in transformation. Bible Research Summit (compilation of group definitions)

The Bible is well-engaged when a community: has access to a well-translated text in its natural literary forms, feasts on whole literary units read in context, understands the overall story and accepts the invitation to take up its own role in the great drama. Biblica

Bible engagement is the act of receiving what the Word of God has to say by reading or listening to the Bible, reflecting on the Scripture, and responding to the biblical truths in your daily life. Center for Bible Engagement, Back to the Bible

Scripture Engagement is encountering God’s Word in a life-changing way. Forum of Bible Agencies International

Bible engagement is peeling back the covers of God’s Word to discover the hopes and promises of the Bible and discovering what God has to say to you, no matter what your situation; that results in hearts changed, lives transformed and an unrelenting drive to be like Jesus to this broken world. Forum of Bible Agencies – North America

Bible engagement is allowing God, through His Word, to lead and change an individual’s life – one’s direction, thinking and actions. LifeWay Research

Scripture engagement is frequency of engagement in the spiritual practice of reflection on Scripture. REVEAL

Bible engagement is the process whereby people are connected with the Bible such that they have meaningful encounters with Jesus Christ and their lives are progressively transformed in Him. Scripture Union Canada

Bible engagement is the process of taking in and living out God’s Word for the purpose of knowing him better and experiencing him more. Scripture Union USA

Scripture engagement is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Scriptures that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating, mulling over, reflecting, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, resulting in a transformative engagement with God. Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is interaction with the biblical text in a way that provides sufficient opportunity for the text to speak for itself by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling readers and listeners to hear the voice of God and discover for themselves the unique claim Jesus Christ is making upon them. Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is facilitating life-changing encounters with God through His Word. Wycliffe Scripture Engagement Forum

Please make a comment to share your definition of Bible engagement.

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Working Definitions of Bible Engagement

In ongoing efforts to understand the nature and scope of Bible engagement, researchers and practitioners at the recent Bible Research Summit drafted the following three working definitions:

1. Bible engagement is encountering God/Jesus through a process/lifestyle of quality interaction in/with the Story as part of a lifestyle of living in and living out of the Story so that individuals and communities are transformed. [This is a cyclical process. That is, individuals and communities continuously reengage/encounter God/Jesus through a process/lifestyle of quality interaction in/with the Story as part of a lifestyle of living in and out of the Story].

2. Bible engagement occurs when the big Story of God/Jesus/humanity, motivated by its authority or its potential relevance (passion vs. scepticism), occasionally or through some habitual practice, which includes various media (e.g. reading, audio, groups, etc.) that contain Scripture content and an application of/resulting in a response to the Word which cultivates transformation in individuals and communities.

3. Bible engagement occurs when circumstances or posture inspired by the Holy Spirit combine to create desire to discover/explore the story of how God engages humanity through habitual seeking of the Word through various mediums (individual, group, audio, visual, written) resulting in transformation that is Christocentric/Christ-like.

Taken together, and simply stated, the three definitions identify Bible engagement as:

An encounter with God/Jesus

that is a motivated/inspired interaction with God’s Story

that includes various media

that involves an individual or communal activity/response/application

that cultivates/results in transformation

 

* The Bible Research Summit was hosted by the American Bible Society

* The goal of the Summit was to discuss the history, current practices and future needs of measuring Bible engagement

* The researchers and practitioners were:

Chris Armas – Code for the Kingdom

Lizette Beard – LifeWay Research

Steven Bird – Taylor University

Chad Causey – OneHope

Mark Forshaw – Global Scripture Impact

David Kinnaman – Barna Group

Nancy Lewis – REVEAL

Jason Malec – American Bible Society

Lawson Murray – Scripture Union

Pam Ovwigo – Center for Bible Engagement

Glenn Paauw – Biblica

Tyler Prieb – OneHope

Angela Rogers – Connection Media

 

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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State of the Bible in the USA

Weekly Bible reading is more likely among women, African-Americans, Southerners, and people from lower income households, than among men, Millenials, or people from the North East. This according to the State of the Bible 2015 report from the American Bible Society.

Some highlights from the report:

  • Four out of five Americans consider the Bible sacred or holy
  • 52% of adults describe the Bible as “inspired”
  • Most Americans believe everyone in the world should be free to own and read a Bible
  • Nine out of ten American homes have a Bible
  • 52% of adults read the Bible three to four times a year
  • Bible readers, on average, spend thirty minutes reading the Bible at each sitting
  • The most popular version of the Bible is the King James Version
  • 60% of Bible readers read the Bible to come closer to God
  • Bible reading increases when people realise how important it is for their faith journey
  • Busyness is the primary reason why people don’t read the Bible
  • Most Bible readers say their reading evokes feelings of peace, hope and being encouraged
  • Weekly Bible readers give a lot of thought to how the Bible applies to their lives
  • Printed Bibles are the preferred format for Bible reading
  • 50% of Bible readers use digital formats to read Bible content
  • Four out of ten adults believe the main message of the Bible is “God is love”
  • Americans believe the Bible strongly encourages forgiveness, generosity and serving the poor
  • Americans believe the Bible strongly discourages prostitution, homosexuality and pornography
  • One in three Americans believe morality is declining because Bible reading is declining
  • Donations to non-profit organizations increases with increased Bible reading

 

Download the full report: State of the Bible 2015

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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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