Americans Say They Wished They Used The Bible More. So Why Don’t They?

Do you wish you read the Bible more often? According to the American Bible Society, you’re not alone. More than half (52%) of Americans wish they used the Bible more, according to the latest State of the Bible report.

Yet, wanting to read the Bible and actually doing so are two very different things.

After a slight increase in Bible usage during the pandemic in 2020, Bible usage rates plummeted as the world began to reopen.

“For most of the last decade, about half of Americans said they used the Bible three or more times per year,” the report states. “In last year’s poll, that number dropped ten points… Frankly, we were hoping this was a glitch, but the 2023 responses matched last year’s low point (39%).”

Why Aren’t Americans Reading The Bible?

The State of the Bible report goes on to speculate that this trend may be caused, at least in part, by the pandemic. “The recent high point of 50 percent Bible use occurred in 2020, a year when many people were cooped up at home with little else to do. The next two years saw a return to activity for many, and for a tenth of the population, the Bible was not part of the reboot.”

This disparity between the number of people who say they want to read the Bible and the number who do is nothing new. The American Bible Society has been reporting this gap for over a decade now, long before the pandemic occurred.

According to a survey conducted by Equipping Godly Women, a website popular among busy Christian women, common obstacles that prevent people from reading the Bible include:

  • A lack of time.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Frequent distractions.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • A lack of Bible knowledge.

“The number one reason Americans report not reading their Bibles is that we’re too busy. Between work, taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, and everything else we do each day, we don’t have the time to learn how to read and study the Bible for ourselves.”

Benefits of Regular Bible Reading

Americans aren’t simply missing out on time spent in the Bible. They’re missing out on many of the benefits the Bible offers as well. According to the 2023 State of the Bible report, “People who engage with the Bible have far more hope than others.”

Furthermore, the same report found that those who read or listen to the Bible at least three times per year do so primarily because it brings them closer to God, provides wisdom for making life decisions, and offers comfort.

How To Get Started Reading The Bible

Thankfully, reading the Bible doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming, or confusing. For those wanting to learn how to read the Bible more consistently, here’s how to get started.

Find The Medium That Works for You

While many people love sitting to read a physical copy of the Bible uninterrupted, this isn’t the only option.

Instead, you might prefer to watch a sermon series on YouTube, listen to an audio Bible app, or download a Bible memorization app. All three of these methods allow users to read or hear Scripture in a way that may be more accessible for their busy schedules or preferences.

Whether you prefer a physical, paper Bible or you prefer to listen to a Bible app, you will want to choose a reader-friendly Bible translation. The New International Version (NLT) and New Living Translation (NLT) are two popular translations known for their readability.

Choose a Bible Study Plan

Rather than opening to a random page or reading disjointed Scripture verses out of context each day, having a pre-written Bible study plan can go a long way toward creating a Bible reading routine you can stick with.

Visit your local Christian bookstore to browse a handful of the thousands of Bible studies for every book of the Bible. There are also practical Bible studies on topics such as anxiety, grief, the Holy Spirit, motherhood, your identity in Christ, and more.

Alternatively, you can download a Bible study app. These electronic resources offer instant access to hundreds of Bible reading plans, audio Bible guides, in-depth Bible studies, devotionals, and community discussion forums to help you read and understand the Bible more consistently.

Start Small

Whether you simply want to read small sections of the Bible out of curiosity or you’re ready to start a more systematic, in-depth Scripture study, one popular piece of advice is to start small.

The Bible is large, and attempting to read it straight through can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on reading small sections, such as one chapter or one story, at a time.

Popular places to begin include the books of Genesis, Matthew, Psalm, or Proverbs, all of which are relatively easy to read and understand, both for beginners and those who have read the Bible for a long time.

This article was produced by Equipping Godly Women and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author, speaker, and founder of, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go “all in” in faith and family. You can learn more about Brittany’s latest books, Fall in Love with God’s Word and Follow God’s Will, on her website.

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