According to a new survey by the American Bible Society (ABS), evangelical-affiliated churches have more “practicing” Christians than those in other mainline denominations.
The survey, titled “The Bible in the American Church,” was released last Thursday as part of ABS’ seventh chapter of its 11th annual State of the Bible report.
According to The Christian Post, the chapter distinguishes between practicing Christians and self-identified Christians, defining practicing Christians as those who attend religious services “at least once a month” and “strongly” agree that their faith is “very important in their lives.” Practicing Christians, according to the ABS, have also “incorporated the faith into their life and routine in a transformative way.”
Self-identified Christians, however, are defined as those “who simply say they believe.”
The results of the study revealed that practicing Christians comprise about 42 percent of those who identify as evangelicals. The percentage substantially drops off within other denominations, with practicing Christians making up just 31 percent of historically Black Protestants, 28 percent of mainline Protestants and 22 percent of Catholics.
The survey also looked at Christians and their engagement in the Bible.
According to the report, just 67 percent of Christians are “Scripture engaged,” while 29 percent are in the “movable middle,” and 4 percent are “Scripture disengaged.”
The ABS defines Scripture engaged Christians as those who “interact with the Bible regularly” and scored at least 100 on the survey’s Scripture engagement scale.
Participants who received a score from 70 to 99 on the Scripture engagement scale are considered a part of the “movable middle.” The movable middle represents people who, on the low end, “sporadically interact with the Bible” and on the high end, “periodically open the Bible as a source of spiritual insight and wisdom.”
“Bible disengaged” Christians are those who scored below 70 on the Scripture engagement scale and “interact infrequently with the Bible.” The Bible also appears to have “minimal influence” on the daily lives of the Bible disengaged.
Regarding practicing Christians, 75 percent read the Word of God at least once a week, while 84 percent would read it monthly. Conversely, only 28 percent of non-practicing Christians read the Bible at least weekly, and 39 percent read the Scriptures at least once a month.
The denominations with the highest rates of practicing Christians doing weekly Bible readings were evangelicals (93 percent), historically black Protestants (87 percent) and mainline Protestants (80 percent).
The survey, which used a nationally representative sample of 3,354 adults, was conducted in January of this year.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, an earlier chapter of the ABS report revealed that less than 10 percent of Generation Z youth were identified as “scripture engaged.”