More Americans see the Bible as the infallible and inspired word of God with some symbolism, which should not be taken literally, according to the American Bible Society's State of the Bible 2015 report.
The report, which was produced by Barna Group for the American Bible Society in New York, examines issues such as: perceptions of the Bible; its penetration; Bible engagement; Bible literacy; moral decline and social impact; and level of giving to nonprofit organizations.
According to the report, in a nationwide telephone and online survey of American adults, some five different descriptions of the Bible were presented and "more adults believe it to be inspired (with some symbolism) than literal."
"A plurality, one-third, says the Bible is the inspired word of God and has no errors, though some verses are meant to be symbolic (33 percent)," notes the report, which highlights that it is a statistically significant increase over 2014 when only 30 percent of respondents held this view of the Bible.
Just last summer, Dove-award winning musical artists Michael and Lisa Gungor, known for popular worship songs like "Dry Bones" and "Beautiful Things" suffered serious backlash from orthodox Christian fans when they revealed that they simply no longer literally believed in stories from the Bible on such topics as creation and the flood.
The belief that the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally was the next most commonly held view of the Bible, accounting for 22 percent of the respondents.
Nearly half the number, 13 percent, believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God but comes with some factual errors.
Many others, however, just saw the Bible as a book of teachings from men.
"Nineteen percent of adults express strong skepticism of Scripture, stating that it is just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice. The last option — the Bible is not inspired but tells how writers understood the ways and principles of God — is preferred by 11 percent of adults," the report notes.
Some 2 percent of the respondents could not find a description of the Bible that matched their perception of the book.
Older adults were more likely to believe the Bible is the literal word of God while millennials were more likely to see it as just another book of teachings.
Most readers of the Bible also preferred the King James Version.
You can read more of the report below: