In a society that has changed significantly in the past few decades, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise to find out that there are fewer and fewer people digesting, discussing and putting their belief in the Bible. A recent study, which was released by the Canadian Bible Engagement Study (CBES), showed some shocking statistics about Canadian’s engagement with the Bible. Here are a few of the stats:
The majority of Canadians, including those who identify themselves as Christian, read the Bible either seldom or never.
Only 18% of Canadians strongly agree the Bible is the Word of God, down from 35% in 1996.
Canadians who strongly agree that the Bible is the Word of God are 10 times as likely to read the Bible frequently (at least a few times a week) and 6 times as likely to attend religious services weekly as those who just moderately agree.
So why aren’t people reading the Bible anymore? Are they just too busy with life to carve out time? The CBES study suggests that the reason goes much deeper than that. Roughly 4,500 people told CBES that their confidence in the Bible is at an all time low. This has left some people wondering, “Are Canadians done with the Bible?”
What Can Be Done?
While the study gives some gut-wrenching realities that the church is currently facing, it also gives us some hope of how to encourage our congregations to engage with the Bible. They found that there were three main factors that impacted Canadians reading frequency: Confidence, Conversation and Community.
Much of the conversation around the Bible has become more of a monologue that happens on Sunday mornings instead of an invitation to discuss and engage with the Bible. One thing that churches can do to help their congregants engage with the Bible is to create opportunities for folks to discuss and digest what is written in there.
Personally, one of the ways that I am encouraged to dive into God’s Word is through my involvement with a small group within my church. We get together bi-weekly and listen to what God is saying to us through The Word, learn from each other’s experiences and hold each other accountable in our engagement with scripture.
How is your church encouraging it’s members to dive into the Bible? While society may be asking are Canadians done with the Bible, CBES is wondering, “is the Bible done with Canadians?”
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Jason is in the business of helping churches move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He has particular skills in conflict management, social media, and leadership development.