A study on what people in the UK think about God and the Bible has found only 18% believe the Bible is relevant to them personally despite 40% identifying as Christian. The Bible Society surveyed nearly 20,000 people in what is thought to be the largest such survey in England and Wales. Bible Society Chief executive Paul Williams said the organisation conducted the research to better understand the spiritual views of the UK population and learn how to be “a mission partner to the British church.” The report also found 61% of those surveyed think it is good for children to know Bible stories while over half of adults believe the Bible shapes our culture.
Williams said the findings should encourage believers to evangelise: “We have an opportunity to show people how the Bible, which they know is significant for our culture, and is something that they would like their children to know about, is actually personally relevant to them. That’s why we’ve got to learn how to communicate.” A key finding from the research was that 25% of the population claimed to be spiritually open to faith and learning more about the Bible. In response to the data, the Christian charity has launched a new online resource to help church leaders find out more about their community.
The website called Lumino gives insights into a local population’s churchgoing frequency, religious affiliation and interests in the Bible. Williams said: “We are constantly seeking to better understand how these insights can be applied to mission. We’re also designing resources for people who are interested in knowing more about the Bible but aren’t currently engaging with it or going to church. This data will give us great ability to design resources specifically for those groups who have an openness but not a knowledge.” Williams says the research revealed that many people feel overwhelmed by the scale of the Bible, finding the content out of date and difficult to read.
“We want to help grow confidence in the Bible amongst Christians. That confidence has been knocked for all kinds of reasons, including the secularity of our culture. “We want to change the conversation about the Bible, amongst non-Christians. We often read or hear in the media, that the Bible is outdated, contradictory, homophobic, but actually, there’s a high percentage of the population who don’t really know the Bible, but are interested by it and think it might be a source of guidance and hope, but they don’t really know how to access it for themselves. “We’re keen to give an experience of the Bible that will land exactly with their experience and expectations of it.”
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