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Attitudes to the Bible

Attitudes to the Bible

Taking the Pulse: Is the Bible Active and well in church today?

Research by ComRes for the Bible Society, published 2008
Here is a selection of the findings:
Leaders

  • 98% of church leaders believe the Bible is divinely inspired and 47% think that is free from errors.
  • 90% of leaders say that the Bible actively challenges them to live in a way which runs counter to the present culture in Britain
  • 76% leaders associate Bible poverty with "our own land where the Bible is no longer at the centre of public and family life" and 90% think that the church should work towards a society that takes the Bible more seriously. 89% also said they think that the church should work harder to promote biblical principles across society
  • 73% of leaders surveyed said they use the Bible "frequently" for preaching and teaching and 87% said that the Bible is regularly taught at their churches

Non-leaders

  • 57% believe the Bible should shape their daily lives "a great deal"
  • 35% said they read the Bible everyday
  • 73% said the Bible actively challenges them to live in a way which runs counter to the present culture in Britain
  • 60% believe the Bible provides moral guidance, sets out God's rescue plan for humanity and shows God's priorities
  • 78% believe the Bible is divinely inspired and 34% believe that it is free from error
  • 68% say the Bible is regularly taught at their church

For more details including qualitative results see www.biblesociety.org.uk/l3.php?id=209

Influence of the Bible Survey

Research by ComRes conducted on behalf of Bible Society and Scottish Bible Society in 2011 to coincide with the launch of the Peoples Bible.
Nearly half of all people surveyed (46%) said they thought the Bible was an important book and even though they don’t read it very often, it does have important things to say. Only 8% said they thought the Bible was important and they read it regularly as it enhances their life.
Despite the high percentage saying they thought the Bible was important the survey demonstrates there is a lack of knowledge of the content of the Bible. People were asked how much they knew about common phrases from the King James Bible. The phrases polled and results were as follows:

  • ‘My brother’s keeper’ (Genesis 4:9): 56% rightly identify the phrase as originating from the Bible
  • ‘A drop in the bucket’ (Isaiah 40.15): Half of all people (49%) don’t know where the phrase is from, but an equal proportion say that it originates from Tony Blair (12%), Shakespeare (14%) or Charles Dickens (12%). Only 7% correctly identify the phrase as coming from the Bible.
  • ‘The writing on the wall’ (Daniel 5:5-6): The same proportion of people say that the phrase originates from the Beatles (18%) as those saying it is from the Bible (19%).
  • Eat, drink and be merry’ (Luke 12.19): The greatest percentage of people (41%) say that the phrase derives from Shakespeare, while just one in ten (9%) say that it originates from the Bible.
  • ‘Filthy lucre’ (1Timothy 3.3): One quarter of all people think the phrase is from Shakespeare (23%) while one in ten (10%) say that it comes from the Bible.

The poll also asked people how important they thought knowledge of the Bible was for appreciating culture, history and politics. Again almost half respondents thought that it was important for most of the areas listed:

  • The visual arts (e.g. painting, sculpture, architecture) 48%
  • Classic English literature 46%
  • The history of Britain 45%
  • Everyday phrases 42%
  • Politics 29%
  • Classical music 24%


Attitudes of young people towards the Bible

1. From research done by Leslie J Francis in 2000

 

 Sample 1

Sample 2 

 Sample 3

 I think the Bible is out of date

31%

34%

27%

 I find it boring to listen to the Bible

48%

 n/a

25%

Sample 1 was 1,133 children aged 13-15 in 6 Welsh secondary schools 69% of whom were not connected with a church.
Sample 2 was 659 children aged 14-16 in 4 English secondary schools 68% of whom never attended church
Sample 3 was 97 Psychology students from Northern Ireland and 42 Religious Studies students from Wales.

Source: Religious Trends 7 2007/8

2. From Urban Hope and Spiritual Health: The Adolescent Voice by Leslie Francis and Mandy Robbins published by Epworth Press in 2005
(surveys of attitudes of 23,000 13-15 year olds conducted in the late 1990's )

  When asked if they agreed with the statement "The Bible seems irrelevant to life today"

  • 30% of all the young people surveyed said yes
  • 25% of all of the young people surveyed who said they were Christian said yes
  • 36% of all of the young people surveyed who said they had "no religion" said yes

Source: Religious Trends 7 2007/8

Literal Interpretation of Scripture among Evangelical Churches in USA

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life spoke to 9,500 Evangelical Christians as part of the US Religious Landscape Survey 2008.

When asked about their belief in the Bible:

  • 59% said the Bible was "The word of God literally true word for word"
  • 29% said the Bible was "The word of God but not literally true word for word"
  • 7% said the Bible was "Written by men not the word of God"
  • 5% said they did not know or refused to answer

Source: http://religions.pewforum.org/

Who says the Bible is holy?

A survey of adults in the USA by the Barna Group in 2008

  • 84% of all the adults surveyed
  • 90% of the women
  • 78% of the men
  • 90% of those over 40
  • 77% of those under 40
  • 67% of those aged 18 to 23
  • 38% of those who said they were not Christians said they thought the Bible was holy.

Source Leadership Journal Fall 2008