"Americans believe the nation is in moral decline, but they see hope for change in the pages of Scripture, according to the 2017 State of the Bible survey."
The "State of the Bible" is an annual report commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by the Barna Group. According to this year’s survey, general trends skew positively toward both Bible engagement and perceptions of the Bible.
Here are some of the research findings:
- Half of Americans are ‘Bible users’ – that is, they engage with the Bible by reading, listening to or praying with the Bible on their own at least three to four times a year (50%).
- Nearly one-third of adults say they never read, listen to or pray with the Bible (32%), a five-percentage point increase over 2016.
- The King James Version continues to be the version Bible users prefer most often, with 31% using this translation.
- 58% of Americans wish they spent more time reading or listening to the Bible.
- More than one half (56%) of those who report an increase in Bible readership attribute it to their understanding that Bible reading is an important part of their faith journey.
- The top reason for decreased Bible reading continues to be being too busy with life’s responsibilities.
- Most Bible users (91%) still prefer to use a print version of the Bible when engaging with scripture, yet an equal number (92%) report using another Bible format than print in the past year.
- As expected, younger generations prefer to use their smartphones to access the Bible more than other generations. More than one in four Millennials (27%) prefer their phone compared to one in five (20%) Gen-Xers, 7% of Boomers and just 3% of Elders.
CanIL offers a Scripture Engagement class June 12-August 11, 2017 and training track for those interested in assisting local communities to engage with the Bible.
Enroll through May 30 at: www.canil.ca/scripture-engagement
Here are some example Scripture-infused commissioning projects from an assignment presented in Chapel:
Available in both English and French.
The training workshop described in this guide was developed in West Africa and includes input received from around the world. It is for listening group leaders (those who lead/facilitate the groups) and for group promoters (those who visit groups to encourage them and mentor the facilitators).
A listening group is an opportunity for people to get together to listen to a passage from the Bible and talk about it together. In this guide, you’ll find elements which focus on the ‘why’ of listening groups as well as the practical details of ‘how’ to lead a group.
Group leaders need to know why they are doing what they are doing. What is the aim of a listening group? What kinds of group can we have? How will we know if a group is working well or not? Why are they gathering together to listen? The aim should be transformational Scripture engagement: that people encounter God’s Word in life-changing ways.
The workshop guide includes sections on how to lead the listening time, how to manipulate the audio player and how to ask good discussion questions. It can be taught in an interactive way and participants should have plenty of opportunity during the workshop to practice participating in and leading listening groups.
An ideal time for such a workshop could be when new audio Scriptures in the local language have been recorded for a community and when audio players are available. It would work well at the launch of a listening group programme in a region, after some initial promotion work has been done to get churches involved and committed to running groups.
Bible Book Club, from the British and Foreign Bible Society, provides ideas and resources for running a book club with friends, where you read through books of the Bible together.
A guide for each book for the Bible is available for download. They give background information including tips, discussion questions and some hints for handling tricky sections.