The American Bible Society has released its eighth chapter in its study on The State of the Bible, and the chapter, entitled “Generosity,” reveals stunning ways in which Bible reading impacts giving. According to a statement from the American Bible Society, “Americans who are engaged with the Bible gave $145 billion to charitable causes in 2021 and that Practicing Christians, those who are actively living out their faith, are much more likely to give.” John Farquhar Plake, Ph.D., Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society, summarized the findings saying, “Year after year, our research shows there is a strong correlation between charitable giving and human flourishing, suggesting that people find a sense of meaning when they give to a cause they believe in. For Christians, we know that we have received the free gift of grace, which in turn motivates us to more generously give our time, energy, and financial resources to others.”

The findings come from a January 2022 survey conducted by the American Bible Society and involved 2,598 telephone or online interviews from American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. One key takeaway from the study was that 4 out of 5 Scripture Engaged individuals donate to charity, whereas only half of Bible Disengaged do. The study defined Scripture Engaged as “consistent interaction with the Bible that shapes a person’s choices and transforms their relationships with God, self, and others.” Also, the $145 billion in giving was not just to churches and that the average giving per household was $2,907. 58% of Scripture Engaged Americans gave at a higher amount. Scripture Engaged adults showed 9% more than Scripture Disengaged to non-church causes and 165% more than those in the “Movable Middle” (those who fluctuate between Engaged and Disengaged). Giving also increased with age, with 5 out of 6 of the Elder Generation giving, whereas only half of Generation Z give.

The American Bible Society is not alone in pointing out the link between faith and giving. The Philanthropy Roundtable gathered statistics from various sources and found that not only do Christians give more financially, they also give more of their time and homes. For example, the Pew Research Center found that 45% of Americans who attend church services weekly and pray daily had volunteered somewhere at least once in the past week. Only 27% of all Americans had done so. The Philanthropy Roundtable also gathered up research that showed that 61% of American churchgoers gave money, time, or goods to the poor in the past seven days. That number was at 41% in other Americans. Even more interesting, the Roundtable found that a greater percentage of persons (65%) who attend religious services 27-52 times per year gave to secular causes, over 50% of those persons who never attend religious services. Roundtable also pointed out that practicing Christians adopt children at a rate two and a half times greater than the national rate and play larger roles in fostering and adopting difficult-to-place children.

The Roundtable also noted that the United States as a country gives at a significantly higher rate than other countries and that the majority of that giving, an estimated 73%, goes towards organizations that are explicitly religious. It included a calculation from Georgetown University economist Brian Grim that calculated the economic value of all U.S. religious activity to be around $1.2 trillion. With that in mind, the Roundtable made a remarkable statement in comparing faith-based giving to well-known organizations like the Gates Foundation, saying, “members of U.S. churches and synagogues send four and a half times as much money overseas to needy people every year as the Gates Foundation does!”


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