WASHINGTON:- As many as 26 million Americans have mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible, American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible report revealed, and the decline might be linked to churches being shut due to coronavirus curbs.

John Plake, lead researcher for the American Bible Society, wrote in the 2022 report that the team working on the report was surprised with the results, according to Christianity Today.

“We reviewed our calculations. We double-checked our math and ran the numbers again […] and again. What we discovered was startling, disheartening, and disruptive,” he said.

Reports from 2021 showed that at least 50% Americans reported reading the Bible on their own three times a year. That percentage dropped 11 points in 2022. This is being considered the sharpest decline.

10% say they read the Bible daily. The percentage before the pandemic was 14%. While some chose to take part online, most have dropped out entirely.

“Everything is not okay. But when it’s not okay, how do we respond? That’s the critical issue for the church,” Plake said.

“I’m confident we’re going to be able to turn the tide on Scripture engagement […] but that only happens when we come together and we say we’re going to serve our communities with the hope we find in God’s Word.”

US church memberships lowest in years

Meanwhile, a sharp decline has been witnessed in Americans’ church membership as it is at its lowest numbers in years, 1011 News reported, citing a Gallup survey.

The memberships to houses of worship have gone below 50% for the time in 80 years, according to the survey.

In 2020, as many as 47% of the people in America said they either belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, a trend which went down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

Gallup’s researchers said in 1937 — when the company first measured such numbers — the US church membership was at 73%, and it remained near 70% for six decades, before a steady downfall in the 21st century.

“Gallup reports the decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference,” the news outlet reported.

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