By Aaron Earls
Most Americans say they’re curious about what the Bible says, but the curiosity comes more from those who already have their Bibles open.
According to the American Bible Society’s 2018 State of the Bible report, 66 percent of American adults agree they are curious to know more about what the Bible says, with 29 percent agreeing strongly.
Similarly, 63 percent say they are curious to know more about Jesus, including 31 percent who agree strongly.
That could be good news for Christians looking to spark spiritual conversations with their neighbors, but the curious are also likely to be those who are already reading Scripture.
“It is those who are already familiar with, and open to using, the Bible and those who are already in the church pews that are the most movable,” says the ABS report.
The Bible-centered and the Bible-engaged, the two groups the ABS considers most connected to Scripture, are those most likely to say they’re curious to know more about the Bible and Jesus.
The ABS asked 14 questions to determine a person’s level of engagement with the Bible. Those with the highest score are considered Bible-centered (9 percent of the American adults). The next highest are the Bible-engaged (17 percent) and the Bible-friendly (15 percent).
Those least engaged with Scripture according to the ABS’ metric are classified as Bible-neutral (5 percent) and Bible-disengaged (54 percent).
Seventy-three percent of the Bible-centered and 68 percent of the Bible-engaged say they are curious about the Bible. Eighty-one percent of the Bible-centered and 73 percent of the Bible-engaged are curious to know more about Jesus.
Curiosity drops off significantly among groups who are less involved with Scripture. Almost 4 in 10 of the less engaged (38 percent) say they are not curious at all about Jesus or the Bible.
The Bible-disengaged, who are the least biblically involved and make up 54 percent of the U.S. population, are the least likely to be curious about the Bible or Jesus.
Only 13 percent strongly agree they’re curious to know more about who Jesus is, and 10 percent strongly agree they’re curious to know more about what the Bible says.
Curiosity is most common among those who attend church weekly, adults who have never been to college, and adults with minor children at home.
Those who are less likely to be curious are those 72 and older, households without children under 18, those in the northeast United States, and the unchurched.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.