African-Americans Most Bible-Engaged Group, Lead in Time Spent Reading Scripture: Study

African-Americans are more engaged with the Bible than any other group, according to the American Bible Society's State of the Bible survey, which found that this group overwhelmingly cites positive beliefs and hope found in the Scriptures.

The study showed that 71 percent of African-Americans are Bible engaged or Bible friendly, compared to 58 percent of all Americans. Only 6 percent of African-Americans have hostile feelings toward the Bible and just 4 percent are skeptical while 19 percent are neutral, the research found.

"African-Americans are much more inclined to recognize the value of reading the Bible," Roy Peterson, president of American Bible Society, said in a statement. "Anyone who devotes time to the Word of God can discover its unique ability to help make sense of life."

For the purpose of the annual study, the researchers defined "Bible-engagement" as having the belief that the Bible is the actual Word of God or inspired word with no errors, coupled with the practise of reading the Bible at least four times each week. Even those who believe that the Bible is "inspired word" with some possible factual errors but read it daily were also considered Bible-engaged.

And "Bible-friendly" are those who believe that the Bible is the actual Word of God or inspired word with no errors but do not read Bible at least four times a week.

The study revealed that when African-Americans sit down to read the Bible, 29 percent read it for an hour or more, which was the leading timeframe for this category. Fifty-one percent cited feeling encouraged and 53 percent said they felt hopeful as a result of reading the Bible.

African-Americans ranked higher than all Americans in six other things. Ninety-five percent own at least one Bible in their homes, 74 percent wish they read the Bible more, 46 percent downloaded or used a Bible app on a smart phone, 33 percent increased Bible reading in the last year, 40 percent listened to audio versions of the Bible, and 27 percent read or listened to the Bible or prayed every day.

Twenty percent of the American population is Bible engaged, and 38 percent are Bible friendly, the study found.

"More often than not, Bible engaged adults are married females from the Baby Boomer generation, are 53 years of age on average, have not been to college, are weekly church attenders, attend Protestant churches, and reside in the South or Midwest," the report said. "Three-quarters of Bible Engaged adults read the Bible every day. More African-Americans can be found in this category than the four other Bible engagement segments."

Recently, Barna Group explored the faith profile of 131 cities to identify the top 10 most Bible-minded cities as well as the least Bible-minded cities in 2017.

Barna's annual Bible-Minded Cities report, in partnership with American Bible Society, found that Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the most Bible-minded city in the U.S. for the second year in a row. The study found that 50 percent of the population of Chattanooga is Bible-minded.

Birmingham, Anniston and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, took the second spot, with 49 percent of the population being Bible-minded.

Albany, Schenectady and Troy, New York, with only about 10 percent of their populations being Bible-minded, were at the top of the least Bible-minded list for the second year in a row. The New England area took the second and third positions, with Boston, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire, at 11 percent.

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