Recommended

Scripture engaged Christians 'flourish in every domain of human experience': survey

iStock/Rawpixel
iStock/Rawpixel

New research conducted by the American Bible Society reveals that Christians heavily engaged with the Bible and their faith “flourish in every domain of human experience.”

The American Bible Society released Chapter 3 of its State of the Bible 2023 report Thursday, titled “Flourishing and Hope.” Data in the State of the Bible report is based on 2,761 responses collected from U.S. adults between Jan. 5-30.  It has a margin of error of +/- 2.59 percentage points.

“Our research confirms something millions of Christians know through personal experience—that the Bible has the power to transform our lives and make us happier, healthier, and whole,” said American Bible Society Chief Ministry Insights and Innovation Officer John Farquhar Plake. “We find that Christians who are committed to their faith, fully engaged in the Bible and transformed by its message, flourish in every domain of human experience.”

According to Plake, “While these scripture-engaged Christians go through the same hardships as everyone else, the difference is they experience life’s ups and downs through a worldview shaped by the Bible’s message of hope. No matter the circumstances, those who trust in God and connect with him through Scripture are happier than those who haven’t yet sought God in his Word.”

The research examined respondents’ scores on the Human Flourishing Index, which asks about people’s “happiness & life satisfaction,” “mental & physical health,” “meaning & purpose,” “character & virtue,” “close societal relationships” and “financial & material stability.” On the Human Flourishing Index as a whole, practicing Christians received an average score of 7.8 compared to 6.9 for non-practicing Christians and 6.7 for non-Christians.

This phenomenon extended to the Happiness & Life Satisfaction domain, where practicing Christians received an average score of 7.8, followed by non-practicing Christians at 6.8 and non-Christians at 6.5. When it comes to meaning and purpose, practicing Christians turned in an average score of 8.1, while non-practicing Christians and non-Christians registered average scores of 6.9 and 6.4, respectively.

The State of the Bible research places respondents into three categories based on their scores on the Scripture Engagement Scale, which measures an individual’s responses to 14 questions about “the frequency of Bible use and the impact and centrality [of] its message.” Scripture Engaged Americans are defined as those who score 100 or higher on the Scripture Engagement Scale, the Movable Middle consists of those who score between 70 and 99, while the Bible Disengaged have scores of less than 70.

Scripture Engaged Americans received an average score of 7.9 on the Human Flourishing Index compared to 7.1 for the Movable Middle and 6.7 for the Bible Disengaged. With an average score of 7.8, Scripture Engaged respondents also scored higher than the Movable Middle (6.9) and Bible Disengaged (6.6) in the Happiness & Life Satisfaction domain.

While the Scripture Engaged received an average score of 8.3 in the Meaning & Purpose domain, the Movable Middle and Bible Disengaged achieved average scores of 7.0 and 6.5, respectively.

Those who “agree strongly” that “the message of the Bible has transformed my life” received an average score of 7.8 on the Human Flourishing Index as well as an average score of 7.7 in the Happiness & Life Satisfaction domain and an average score of 8.0 in the Meaning & Purpose domain. By contrast, those who “disagree strongly” that “the message of the Bible has transformed my life” received average scores of 6.5, 6.4 and 6.2 on the respective scales.

Respondents who prayed to God in the last seven days received an average score of 7.2 on the Human Flourishing Index compared to an average score of 6.6 for those who did not. Similarly, those who prayed in the last week received an average score of 7.1 in the Happiness & Life Satisfaction domain and an average score of 7.0 in the mental and physical health domain. Respondents who had not prayed in the last week achieved an average score of 6.5 in both domains.

Additionally, respondents who agreed that “I am able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not” received high average scores on the Human Flourishing Index (7.7), in the Happiness & Life Satisfaction domain (7.5) and the Meaning & Purpose domain (7.7). On the other hand, those who disagree strongly that they are able to sincerely forgive others receive much lower scores of 6.0, 5.8 and 5.8, respectively.

In addition to scoring higher on the Human Flourishing Index and its various domains, respondents who strongly agree that they have an ability to sincerely forgive those who wronged them also performed better on the Persevering Hope Scale, which examines people’s “motivation to persevere in the face of seemingly unlikely or even impossible goals.”

Those who agree strongly that they can sincerely forgive others received an average score of 4.1 on the Persevering Hope scale compared to an average score of 3.5 for those who disagree strongly that they can authentically forgive others.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.

Most Popular

Free Religious Freedom Updates

A religious liberty newsletter that is a must-read for people of faith.

More Articles