The results of the latest State of the Bible survey by American Bible Society showed Americans overwhelmingly believe the Bible is a source of hope and a force for good even as they express growing concern for our nation’s morals. The survey also found that Americans have positive associations with the Bible and those who read it.
The annual survey for 2017 shows 81 percent of Americans say morals are declining—a 5 percent increase from 2016. Though Americans see the nation’s moral fabric decaying, they also identify the Bible as a contributor to the positive aspects of American life.
“The Bible remains a hands-down winner of hope for Americans,” said Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. “Those who are opening up the Word of God are discovering it to be a guide to help make sense of life and a source of eternal hope.”
Sixty-eight percent of Bible users report turning to the Bible because it brings them closer to God, while 58 percent of all Americans wish they spent more time reading or listening to the Bible. Of those who increased their Bible engagement over the last year, 39 percent did so because of a difficult life experience that caused them to seek direction or answers—an increase of 13 percent from 2016.
The report also found Americans have a positive view of people who read the Bible daily. The top three attributes ascribed to daily Bible readers are: humble (39 percent), loving (38 percent) and accepting (34 percent).
The upward trend in the number of people considered Bible skeptic[ii] seems to be leveling off: 19 percent of Americans are now considered skeptic, returning to levels last seen in 2014. Further up the engagement spectrum is Bible neutral[iii] at 23 percent, Bible friendly[iv] at 38 percent and Bible engaged[v] at 20 percent. This year Bible hostile[vi] is a new subcategory of Bible skeptics, identifying those who view the Bible as harmful. Bible hostile is at 13 percent, which leaves non-hostile Bible skeptic at 6 percent.