Whitney Kuniholm, President of Scripture Union USA, has recently started writing on the Essential Bible Blog. In his first post, he argues that America doesn't need more Bibles; it needs more Bible engagement.
But what is Bible engagement?
My observation is that most Bible engagement programs available today focus on knowledge and truth, both of which are important. But the outcome that makes the Bible come alive, and the one that people are most hungry for, is a real encounter with God. So while all our Bible engagement efforts must be well-designed and must aim for habit formation, the most important thing is that they must also help people develop a relationship with God.
Here is Faith Comes By Hearing's World Report 2009, recently posted on YouTube.
It gives an overview of the work over the past year, which included partnerships with churches and mission agencies to send over 60,000 Proclaimers to nearly 100 countries. The Proclaimers are used by listening groups that commit to listening through the whole New Testament. [more...]
The Center for Bible Engagement completed a survey of more than 8,000 north Americans about Bible literacy and Spiritual growth. Respondents gave 11,025 reasons for what hindered them from reading the Bible including too busy, too distracted, too tired, no discipline, not a priority.
Some activities or factors found to increase personal Bible use included: Group Bible Study, having Bible reading accountability partner, having a spiritual mentor, reading the Bible in the morning, owning more than one Bible, attending Sunday School, learning to read the Bible while young.
Would some of these activities be fruitful in other cultures? Are we leveraging them?
Read the survey here.
Read a white paper on plans developing as a result of this survey.
The latest Faith Comes By Hearing newsletter (Winter 2009) highlights new opportunities for Scripture engagement among the urban poor:
Though still desperately poor, this group now has access to modern technologies. Many have cell phones, Internet cafés are popping up everywhere, and satellite dishes even adorn homes that don’t have electricity!
Young people, especially, seem willing to do without some basics of life in order to stay connected with others.
In this newsletter you’ll read some of the ways that we are responding to these trends – from Internet and cell phone downloads to virtual listening groups.
From the Bible Society in New Zealand:
According to Bible Society research undertaken in New Zealand, 68% of all New Zealanders own a Bible, and yet only 23% of Bible owners pick it up and have a read at least once a month.
The research shows that 7% of Bible owners read it daily while 9% read it weekly. The survey also revealed that 46% of New Zealanders describe themselves as Christian. Among Christians, only 11% read the Bible daily and 13% read it weekly.