A recent survey by Christian Research discovered that people are reading their Bibles more during the COVID pandemic and associated lockdowns, and this is not a wasted exercise as many stated it is having a positive impact on their mental health.
The age group reporting the largest increase was those aged 25 to 34, where over 50% indicated that they are reading their Bible more often.
The survey also revealed that people are using new ways to engage with scripture. While print versions of the Bible still remains popular, Bible apps are being used more often, and a surprisingly 30% reported that they are now listening to the Bible.
This growing interest in listening to scripture shouldn’t surprise us because it has its reward as the Apostle Paul tells us that “faith comes from hearing” (Romans 10:17).
The survey also found that the Bible reading increased people’s hope that things were going to improve. The Bible tells us that hope is a vital component of faith (Hebrews 11:1).
The survey revealed:
- 28% stated that Bible reading increased their hope in the future.
- 42% reported that it increased their hope in God.
- 63% stated that while their Bible reading did not necessarily increase their hope, it stopped their hope from declining.
But in addition to that the survey revealed that Bible reading had a positive impact on people’s mental well-being.
And this is good news because several studies in recent months are showing a rapid deterioration in people’s mental health because of the lockdowns as people struggle with isolation and loneliness. The related Job losses are also increasing people’s worry about their finances and their future.
This mental health decline was starkly revealed by comparing two separate polls of over 5,000 people conducted by Boston University. A survey conducted two years before the pandemic revealed that 8.5% of Americans were struggling with depression. However, a similar poll conducted in the first half of 2020 revealed that the number had now tripled to more than 27.8%. READ: Depression has more than tripled since the COVID-19 pandemic
The US Centers for Disease Control reported on a survey of 5,412 young people between the ages of 18 to 24 conducted in June last year that indicated 25.5% of them seriously contemplated suicide. READ: CDC: Over 1 in 4 young adults contemplated suicide in June amid COVID-19
And this year, researchers in Britain are now suggesting that the negative fallout from the COVID lockdowns is far worse than previously thought putting it on par with smoking 15 cigarettes a day. READ: Researchers Find Damaging Effects of Long-Term Social Isolation Are Worse Than We Thought
And with some politicians determined to stretch out the COVID lockdowns, I can’t believe that these numbers are getting any better.
But the Bible offers hope. According to the Christian Research survey a significant percentage of people reported that their mental health improved with increased Bible reading:
- Overall 23% said that reading the Bible had positively impacted their mental well-being.
- This was particularly felt by those between the ages of 24 to 34, where 47% stated Bible reading improved their mental health.
- And it even had a positive impact on the youth with 33% of those between the ages of 16 to 24 reporting that it helped deal with their loneliness.
In an interview with Premier Christian News, Dr. Andrew Ollerton stated that once again, the Bible is proving itself beneficial during trying times:
“We’d like to think that the Bible makes a difference when the chips are down, but the pandemic has road tested it once more and found it, it works. You know, there is a statistical meaningful impact that the Bible is having on people’s lives raising their confidence, for the future and hope.”
But it is not just Bible reading that is helping people during the COVID pandemic. According to a Gallup Poll conducted late last year, church attendance also positively impacted peoples’ mental wellbeing.
The poll, conducted between Nov. 5 and 19, 2020, revealed that on average 34% of Americans described their mental health as being excellent. However, if the individuals attended church the number of people reporting excellent mental health increased to 46%.