None of us would hope and pray for a crisis as a growth strategy. But anyone in Christian publishing, particularly Bible publishing, will tell you that interest in Bibles has soared since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. I don’t know anyone who predicted that. We were all ready to hunker down for a time of contraction. But just the opposite happened.
It is not surprising that people turn to God in times of crisis, and during this particular crisis, that spiritual interest couldn’t be expressed by increasing church attendance. But as long as the mail and delivery services were active, people could get a Bible or a Christian book.
What we don’t know yet (and may never know) is how many people developed new habits of Bible study and reading during the pandemic. As people return to church gatherings, perhaps we will find out.
What research has shown nationally (pre-pandemic) is that regular church attenders love and respect the Bible, but less than 40 percent of them are reading the Bible regularly.
So how can pastors and church leaders promote biblical literacy and reading the Bible regularly?
We believe there are four keys to increasing Bible reading:
- Readability—Increase individuals’ ability to read the passage easily.
- Portability—Improve individuals’ ability to take Scripture anywhere.
- Understandability—Provide a translation that enables individuals to understand the meaning of the text.
- Accessibility—Provide study materials and devotional guides individuals can practically use to apply what they are reading.
You may have heard about Tyndale’s new Filament Bible app, which is offered in nearly 200 different Bibles, called The Filament Collection. Filament is a tool that we believe can impact Bible literacy and provide a reading experience that will attract serious new readers.
Here’s what Filament provides:
- With the Filament Bible app, you have access to verse-by-verse study notes, insightful articles, devotionals, interactive maps, videos, and worship music.
- All this comes with a clear, uncluttered print Bible in an easy-to-carry size that you can put in a backpack or purse.
- Using your phone or tablet, just scan a specific page number in your Filament Bible. The app will display curated content that helps explain and illuminate the Scripture passages on that page.
Have you seen the international study that was done several years ago by the Center for Bible Engagement? It’s really quite amazing. The key discovery: “The life of someone who engages scripture four or more times a week looks radically different from the life of someone who does not. In fact, the lives of Christians who do not engage the Bible most days of the week (at least 4 days out of 7) are statistically the same as the lives of non-believers.”
The study found that someone who engages the Bible four or more times a week is 228% more likely to share faith with others, 407% more likely to memorize Scripture, 59% less likely to view pornography, and 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness.
Life change is one of many compelling reasons to diligently, and regularly, read and study God’s Word!
We pray that as we move beyond at least one crisis, the bold and persistent ministry of pastors and church leaders will make this new season a catalyst for regular Bible reading and the spread of the gospel.
Posted on March 17, 2022
Jim Jewell is Senior Director of Marketing & Communication for Tyndale Bibles. Prior to joining Tyndale, his career included agency work in brand marketing and public relations, serving dozens of prominent ministries and businesses, and he was chief of staff for Chuck Colson for more than a decade.
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