Lifeway states that it asked professing Christians to participate in a Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA), which examined a number of areas of the individual’s spiritual growth. When asked how often the person reads the Bible apart from attending church, only 19% of respondents said that they spend time in the Scriptures every day. Similarly, another 18% said that they rarely or never read the Bible. Approximately 25% stated that they study the Scriptures a few times a week, and 22% answered with once a month or a few times a month.
Out of these same individuals, 90% agreed with the statement “I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do.”
“Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth,” remarked Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “You can follow Christ and see Christianity as your source of truth, but if that truth does not permeate your thoughts, aspirations and actions, you are not fully engaging the truth.”
“God’s word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity,” he continued. “As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in God’s word.”
Stetzer states that his organization also discovered other interesting information in conducting the survey. Only 47% said that they have received mentoring and discipleship from a spiritually mature Christian. Additionally, 63% of respondents stated that within the past six months they have made “a decision to obey or follow God with an awareness that choosing to do so might be costly.”
“Almost all churchgoers want to honor God, but more than a third indicate obedience is not something they have done when it is costly to them,” Stetzer commented. “The impact of the Word of God on people’s lives is seen in the relationship between Bible engagement and turning from wrongdoings and choosing to obey God – two indicators of higher Bible engagement scores. Such tangible life changes show the transformational impact of Bible engagement in the life of a disciple of Christ.”
The organization hopes to release further research statistics in the coming months.