Reported in April 23, 1990 Christianity Today.
A recent Barna Research Group survey conducted among a random probability sample of 641 adults demonstrated that many Americans have a woeful knowledge of the Bible.
Among Christians in the survey:
Among non-Christians in the survey:
Why is there so much ignorance about the Bible? Most likely, it comes from a lack of Bible readership. Half of all Americans do not read the Bible. The majority of all born-again Christians read the Bible once or twice a week, or not at all. The survey found that only 18% of all Christians said they read the Word every day, while another 18% read the Bible between three and six days a week, 37% read it once or twice a week, and 23% said they do not read the Bible at all. Among non-Christians, 70% do not read the Bible. Is this because many people do not own a Bible? No. Our research has shown that 93% of all American own at least one Bible, and most own more than one.
Suggestions: 1) The KJV is too difficult and mentally taxing for many people. While this is not an exhortation to drop the KJV from use, Christian leaders need to either use translations appropriate to the audience, or facilitate people's understanding of the KJV if they choose to use it. 2) Biblical illiteracy is at least as large a problem to the Christian community as functional illiteracy is to the nation as a whole. 3) Make the Scriptures more relevant and applicable to the average person. When we teach from the Bible, we need to concentrate on practical, applicable lessons for life. In other words, we must provide people with useful principles, rather than rigid laws. 4) Get people involved in small group Bible studies.