By Aaron Earls
If you’re looking for Christians who read the Bible regularly, believe it is the Word of God, and participate in Bible studies, you might want to start at a historically black congregation.
Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans (79 percent) identify as Christian—more than any other ethnicity, according to analysis from Pew Research.
Slightly fewer Hispanics (77 percent) and whites (70 percent) do the same. Only a third of Asians in America (34 percent) say they are Christian. Overall, 71 percent of American adults identify as Christian.
Black Americans are also the most likely to identify specifically as Protestant Christian.
More than half (53 percent) of African-Americans are part of a historically black Protestant church. Fewer say they are evangelical Protestant (14 percent), Catholic (5 percent), mainline Protestant (4 percent), or other Christian (3 percent).
Not only are African-Americans most likely to identify with Christianity, they are also the most likely to be engaged with the Bible on a regular basis.
Black people in the U.S. are the most likely to say they read the Bible—or writings of another faith, such as the Quran or the Book of Mormon—at least once a week outside of religious services, according to additional analysis from Pew Research.
More than half (54 percent) say they read it on their own, compared to 38 percent of Hispanics and 32 percent of whites.
Only a quarter of African-Americans (24 percent) say they seldom or never read the Bible or other religious writings, while 40 percent of Hispanics and fully half (50 percent) of whites admit to such lack of Scripture reading.
Among religious groups, those in historically black Protestant churches are as likely to read the Bible outside of religious services (61 percent) as evangelical Protestants (63 percent).
Similarly, black Americans are more likely to see the Bible as God’s Word than other ethnicities—77 percent of African-Americans hold this view, compared to 65 percent of Hispanics and 57 percent of whites.
Close to 9 in 10 historically black Protestants (85 percent) and evangelical Protestants (88 percent) say the Bible is the Word of God.
African-Americans are the ethnicity most likely to believe the Bible should be interpreted literally. More than half (51 percent) feel this way, compared with 38 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of whites.
Among Christians, historically black Protestants (59 percent) are most likely to hold this view as well. Slightly fewer evangelical Protestants (55 percent) and far fewer Catholics (26 percent) and mainline Protestants (24 percent) agree.
Almost 4 in 10 African-Americans (39 percent) take part in prayer or study groups for religious writings at least weekly. Around a quarter of Hispanics (27 percent) and whites (22 percent) say they do the same.
Forty-four percent of both historically black Protestants and evangelical Protestants say they take part in such groups each week.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.