Study: Most Churchgoers Do Not Read Bible on Daily Basis

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
September 7, 2012
A recently released study by a Christian research organization shows that most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.
The findings of the Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by LifeWay Research noted that 19 percent of respondents report reading or studying the Bible outside of church “every day.”

By contrast, 36 percent of respondents said that they either engage the Bible “once a week,” “once a month,” or “a few times a month.” Eighteen percent reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.


Sad fact. Especially these days when it is so easy to access the Bible on smart phones and tablets from just about anywhere. Apps for the daily Mass readings are especially handy.

My husband can 't find work. I am working alot, beyond 40 hours a week until his social security kicks in.

I can’t go to Mass every day, and I am too tired to open the Bible. But throughout the day I reflect on life giving seeds from Sacred Scripture.

So we can’t judge people in this or these times. The Word of God enters into our souls, and remaining in grace, so does the Word. It goes through my mind, I reflect on the Lord…in His Word and life.

I know that I would probably answer a study the same way because I don’t pick up the Bible every day to study even though I would at least at some time during that day hear some part of the Bible. For example on EWTN radio to work or in devotional book. Either way would be better for all of us to read the Bible more.

There is a difference between study and reading.

One can simply read God’s word without formal study. God’s word is living, and spending a few minutes with the living word of God is a wonderful way to start the day.

After many weeks, months and years, scripture will become part of your life - not just the act of reading it, but the living word of God will becomed part of who you are, simply by picking it up and reading.


I have never read the bible all the way through! :blush: But, I am now engaged in the attempt. I try to read a little from the OT, a psalm or two, and a little from the NT every day. It has really helped, not only from an intellectual level, but also spiritually. I often find myself in spontaneous prayer, or in a state of complete awe!! What an incredible story and what a perfect gift from our Father!:heaven:

Personally, I think that it’s great that almost 20% of Christians read the Bible every single day. Adding up the other stats in the article, over half of the Christians asked read the Bible more often than weekly. That’s pretty high.

The easiest thing to do is go to the UCCB website daily and read the mass readings.
You can also access a daily reflection on the readings in audio or a vidio,
You can get a good chunk of the bible over a three year period and it takes 5-10min daily

Of course there is no judging here. Your willingness to spend the time to peruse this forum shows you are seeking spiritual food. I pray that God blesses you during your hardships, and that His word strengthens you and gives you courage. :hug3:

That system was designed way before the printing press was invented, before Bibles were widely available, and before almost anyone outside of a monastery had ever actually seen a Bible. It is a great system, and has served the Church well for 200 years, educating a public which did not have access to Sacred Scripture outside of the Mass.

Skipping around in the Bible however, is not the way to understand the storyline. The people educated by the readings at Mass didn’t really understand the storyline - salvation history. The Bible tells a story. The Bible is more than just a collection of stories, but each book and chapter, and each little story within the Bible is part of the narrative, the story of salvation history told in the Bible as a whole.

One wouldn’t read a novel by skipping around - you wouldn’t be able to follow the storyline. One shouldn’t expect to come to an understanding of what the Bible is really about by just listening to the readings at Mass or by following the liturgical cycle of readings. In todays age when Bibles are available for little or no cost, we have a responsiblity (personal situations not withstanding) to make some attempt to understand the storyline.

Following the liturgical cycles is not a way to understand the Bible as a unified whole. It is a great system, but we can’t expect to understand the story of salvation that way.


Thanks, Babs…

The poverty for me is people not being able to come together to share about their faithwalk in the Lord…and I agree with Timothy that he speaks of my experience…I listen to the Word of God…you go to daily Mass for 3 years, you have covered all of the Bible.

But the Word is supposed to go down deep into our hearts and souls. We have coffee hour after Mass but I told my pastor after weekend Mass I want to reflect more, so I drive home going around the lake to my house and reflecting in my heart the life I gained at Mass.

But I remember in the early 70’s how the Sacred Scriptures came alive to so many. I would go downstairs for coffee and donuts and every body was talking real loud…but it was all about Christ and how He was reaching them. Now talk after Mass seems empty and it is about things or what people are doing.

But we have Bible study and other activities during the week people can go to and share their faith…if you are not working. My kind of work changes with client needs so I can’t be part of RCIA or other things that build on one meeting after another.

It is not so much the access to the Bible,but their lack of spritual access to God.

i don’t know if i agree with this study or not. i know that most protestants or evangelicals devote time during the day to read their Bible. Catholics have the daily Mass readings.
granted, not 100% of all church goers read the Bible on a daily basis, but i would put the number higher than 20%. maybe i am wrong, i don’t know.:shrug:

I agree. In fact reading small sections independent of the larger context can lead a man to an incomplete or even erroneous understanding. I don’t know about the daily mass readings, but I do know that the weekly readings from the lectionary often move through the same Gospel book or Epistle for several weeks. But the readings are often so short you might forget the earlier context. Also I think this is correct, based on my observation, but it seems the lectionary often skips over the opening verses of some books. This is often interesting, especially regarding the Epistles, because you find out who the letter is addressed to. A letter addressed to a person is different than a letter addressed to a church. Even the introduction to Luke is important because he states his purpose, a good history, and the fact that he thoroughly researched the events he describes. You also find out Luke is writing to a person, Theophilus. Also without authoritative commentary you’ll miss out on some of the meaning because there is meaning in the phrases that are lost on modern readers. To properly understand the Bible you need context and commentary.

I would respond that reading the Bible every day is not, strictly speaking, a necessity in coming to know God and the story of salvation (particularly if you are a Catholic and get the amount of exposure that one does to Scripture and its applications to everyday life from just one Sunday a week).

Am I knocking reading the Bible every day? Nope. But all the Christians in the world who had no Bibles to read on a daily basis until the printing press was invented got by somehow.

Yet the Bible is not a novel.

The daily readings as laid out in the Lectionary are to be read together. Most of the time the Epistle reading has something to do with the Gospel reading. Reading the Bible from cover to cover will not give the reader a chance to see this.

While understanding what is going on within the Bible is a good thing one must understand that it is a collection of books that is not necessarily laid out in chronological order. That is the Old Testament books are not spaced out with sections occurring before the sections that come later in the book.

One can purchase a Chronological Bible where the canon of the books of the Bible are laid out in such an order.

One must also be careful when reading on their own that they do not come to interpretations that differ from those of the Church.

Here is what I do. This is just me, but maybe it will help someone.

I have a Bible which I read daily at breakfast. I make my bowl of food, a cup of coffee, and read as I eat. I usually sit for a few minutes and read further after I am done eating, especially if the story is good like the exploits of King David.

I don’t try to figure things out. If my forehead gets all wrinkled and I’m trying to figure out what something means, I’m working too hard. First of all, at 5:30 in the morning I’m tired, so I just read, that’s all. If something piques my interest, I write it down for later study.

The other day I noticed in 1 Kings 13:10 that someone went to see the king and then “Returned by another way.” I remembered that the Maji followed the star to Herod but “Returned by another way”, and remembered that some other character a few chapters back “Returned the way he had come, by the same road”.

Rather than try to figure it out, I just made a note on my whiteboard, “1 Kings 13:10 - return by another way” and didn’t try to figure it out - not at 5:45 AM anyway. The phrase “return by another way” has stuck with me for a few days, and I have reflected on it as I drive and while I’m in the shower, and I think it means repentance, but I have to study it more. That will have to wait for another day.

I was leaving the store last night and decided that I would return home “by another way”. I have no idea why I did it, but I smiled as I turned right instead of left, took the back roads home instead of the main road, and prayed a little while I drove. :shrug: That’s a little example of how scripture becomes part of one’s life.

***For the word of God is living *and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

I believe this, that scripture is alive with the spirit of God. Scripture doesn’t just describe God. Scripture isn’t a collection of words about God. The word spirit comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means breath. The Holy Spirit is the life-giving breath of God, and Scripture is the breathed word of God. It is alive, and God is able to act through Scripture. The Holy Spirit is able to act in our lives, able to impart wisdom and breathe life giving grace into our lives through the scriptures.

Some Catholics say that such ideas about scripture are nonsense, that I’ve been hanging around too many Protestants or Evangelicals. I say that they are missing out on a great gift to modern man from God - the widespread avialablity of God speaking directly to man through the scriptures.

Catholics who don’t take advantage of this source of grace are not going to hell. They aren’t bad people, and they are not doing anything wrong. I just think they are missing out, that’s all.


For me, daily reading has given me a greater ability to see what the epistle and Old Testament reading have to do with the Gospel, and how wise our Holy Church is in picking out these related readings from different parts of the Bible.

I feel that study is important - from organic and authentic Catholic sources like Jeff Cavins/Great Adventure - for exactlyt he reason you mention, that the Bible isn’t laid out in chronological order.

I just recently found out that Job is a secondary book to Genesis, and it clicked. For the first time I understood what the general meaning of Job is about - it’s language about creation and “Where were you when I formed the foundations of the world?” type questions of Job from God. It’s about man’s order in creation, and our humility, and knowing our correct place in the order of creation. It finally clicked because I finally understood where Job fit into the story - supplemental to Genesis - but it doesn’t appear in the Bible near Genesis so we don’t undersand what it is about.

I wonder what the first monastics did, how they managed to read scripture. They didn’t have commentary or overnight shipping. Maybe they spent weeks in one book of the bible because that was the only manuscript they had, and they read it differently. They didn’t read if front to back, left to right, but in a circular way, going back over the texts and praying it back to God.

Do Carmelites do this Brother, like the Benedictines? This type of prayerful lectio? Forgive my ignorance. I know little about Carmelites.


We’re not required to read the Bible :shrug:

We get three readings out of the Bible each time we go to Mass with a homily afterwards. Since we’re not “entitled” to personal interpretation, one would think this would suffice. We have many other materials, such as the Catechism and the encyclicals, and approved books and learning materials that are easier to read and interpreted for us according to the teachings of the Church.

As Carmelites we do a weekly common Lectio Divina. We usually do it on the Gospel reading for the up coming Sunday.

I try to read the Scriptures daily. I do the readings from the Byzantine Lectionary and read along with a commentary from the Church Fathers.

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