A new poll released by the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible report shows that Bible reading may improve a person’s sense of hopefulness. Called the “Persevering Hope Scale,” which analyzes “the motivation to persevere in the face of seemingly unlikely or even impossible goals,” the study explored how Americans responded to questions on how they viewed certain situations. The study avoided using biblical language and asked respondents to weigh in on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very). The study found that respondents scored the same or near the same in gender and age groups (around 3.8 for all groups). However, when individuals are “Scripture-engaged,” their score was 4.1, higher than the 3.7 for Scripture-disengaged individuals. According to the report, an individual is Scripture-engaged when they say their daily life is impacted by the Bible, state that Bible guides their relationship both with God and with others, and regularly read and/or listen to the Bible. 

 Although 4.1 to 3.7 doesn’t seem like such a big difference, the report noted that the number was the highest of all categories, which was significant due to the lack of differentiation in other groups. “In a field with little variation, these are significant effects. No other demographic group scored that high. Apparently, those who read the Bible regularly, who live and think according to its teaching, find resources that keep them going, even in tough times,” the report stated. Last year’s State of the Bible found similar findings when it looked at the rebound of human flourishing in the aftermath of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas 2021 found drop-offs in the Human Flourishing Index due to the stresses of the pandemic, the 2022 report showed that levels had jumped back to pre-pandemic levels. The study found that Scripture-engaged individuals reported flourishing levels 19 percent higher than Scripture-disengaged individuals. John Farquhar Plake, Ph.D. and Director of Ministry Intelligence for the American Bible Society, summed up the findings by saying, “… the data validates that applying the truths of Scripture leads to better health, better relationships, and a higher sense of purpose and meaning—all while bringing us closer to God.”

Another study by the Bible Society carried out by Christian Research found that those who were engaged with Scripture during the pandemic reported better well-being. Forty-two percent of respondents who read the Bible during the pandemic reported an increased sense of hope. Twenty-eight percent stated the Bible had increased their confidence in the future, while 63 percent said it had helped their confidence remain the same rather than diminish during the challenges of the pandemic. Responding to the data, Dr. Andrew Ollerton, author of The Bible Course, said it shows how well the Bible holds up. “We’d like to think that the Bible makes a difference when the chips are down, but the pandemic has road tested it once more and found it, it works.”

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