Reading the Bible, Finding New Life
By Carol Pipes
I’ll never forget the day it happened. I was caught.
A friend stopped by my college dorm to say hello.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Um, reading my Bible,” I replied.
I paused for a minute and explained that reading my Bible is an important part of my walk with Jesus Christ. And that by reading God’s Word I could know Him more and be made more like Him.
She looked at me like I had two heads and then tried to brush it off. “Oh. Cool.” And that was the end of the discussion.
I think back to that day and wish I’d said more. This friend had grown up attending church occasionally. But she’d never read the Bible on her own.
Years have passed since that interaction and our lives have taken separate paths. We wish each other a happy birthday and occasionally “like” each other’s posts on Facebook But that’s been the most of our interaction.
Recently, I learned my friend has been attending a Bible study in her neighborhood. For the first time in her life, she’s digging into God’s Word. And it’s changing her. She’s asking questions about God and faith. And she’s thinking about how she’s living her life in light of Scripture.
It’s exciting to see and hear how God’s Word is transforming my friend.
We talk a lot in our office about the stats and studies of Bible reading. It’s one thing to read a report that says Bible reading has the greatest impact on discipleship. It’s another to see it come alive in a friend’s spiritual journey.
In this issue of Facts & Trends, we look at the state of Bible reading in the U.S. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not great news. While most Americans tend to own a copy of God’s Word, they rarely read it. In our cover story, we dig into the numbers—who’s reading the Bible, who’s not, and why.
We also look at the newly revised Christian Standard Bible and how LifeWay hopes it will help spark Bible reading in the U.S. and around the world. LifeWay’s Bible and Reference Publisher Trevin Wax also explains why a reliable translation, like the CSB, is essential for Christian growth.
In his column, LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer offers ways church leaders can help people engage God’s word.
We’re excited about the launch of the Christian Standard Bible. It’s a beautiful translation that communicates ancient truths to today’s audience as faithfully and clearly as possible. That’s good news for longtime Bible readers and teachers, as well as for people like my friend who are discovering God’s truth of the first time.
Carol Pipes, editor of Facts & Trends
Sharing the Word — Bob Smietana with Aaron Earls
The Bible might be the most beloved and neglected book in America. Americans love the Bible so much almost everyone—87 percent of households—has a copy.
Many American households (41 percent) own four or more copies, according to a report from the American Bible Society. And a LifeWay Research study found half of Americans believe the Bible alone is the Word of God.
Still, many Americans never get around to reading the Scriptures. Only one in five reads the Bible every day or has read the whole thing. Meanwhile, a third say they never pick it up.
“Here in the U.S., the problem isn’t that people don’t own a Bible,” says Eric Geiger, vice president of LifeWay Christian Resources. “It’s that they don’t read the Bible they have.”
How Do We Lead People in Our Churches to Engage God’s Word? — Thom S. Rainer
Reading and studying the Bible daily may be the most important act a Christian can do to grow as a disciple. Unfortunately, our research shows only 39 percent of churchgoers read the Bible in a systematic manner every day.
That leaves a large portion of people who could use some encouragement and prompting to make daily Bible reading a priority.
The Word of God is powerful and transformative, but many in our churches are missing out on its transformative power. Here are some practical steps church leaders can take to get their church members involved in daily Bible reading.
How Do You Translate the World’s Most Popular Book? — Q&A with David Allen, Tom Schreiner, and Trevin Wax
The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), first published in 2004. It has been recently updated to reflect advances in biblical scholarship and to meet the needs of churches around the world.
Facts & Trends talked to David Allen and Tom Schreiner, who co-chaired the translation oversight committee, as well as Trevin Wax, LifeWay’s Bible and Reference publisher, about the revision and what sets the CSB apart from other translations.