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Reading the Word

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library

A new study by Lifeway Research, a nonprofit that assists and equips church leaders with insights and advice to improve the health of their churches, shows that 65% of Protestant churchgoers spend time daily with God.

Respondents were asked, “What do you typically do when you spend time alone with God?”  Most (83%) pray in their own words, 80% thank God, 62% praise God and 49% confess their sins. Only 39% answered that they read the Bible or scripture through a devotional.

Baptists, Presbyterians/Reformed Christians and Non-Denominationals are more likely to read scripture than other denominations surveyed.

The small number of those studying scripture has been a hot topic for some time and is not unique to Protestants. Catholics are making videos in an effort to increase understanding and interest in the Bible and the Catechism. Many versions of the Bible now exist that have modernized language and some are made with simpler languages to increase the number of people who can easily study scripture.

Many faiths give great importance to the study of scripture and the general pursuit of greater knowledge for oneself. Hindus say that studying their scriptures constantly allows them to remember previous lives, Mormons say that through scripture study students may hear the voice of the Lord, Scientologists say “the key to happiness is knowledge.” Muslims say the Quran gives an understanding of how to live and what are the origins of the existence of human beings and this Universe, and the Buddha instructed his disciples to constantly be on a quest for ever greater knowledge.

Christians say that the Bible shows God’s character, quoting the Bible: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

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