Many younger Christians in the UK are now reading the Bible, saying it has helped improve their mental health.
A recent survey for Bible Society, carried out by Christian Research, showed that more people have been reading the Bible more often during the pandemic. Out of 1,000 Christians surveyed in the UK, 35% said they were reading the Bible more frequently than before Coronavirus and more than half of this group are aged 25 to 34, reports Church Times.
Lockdowns have put people in a position to be productive at home. From learning a new language, starting a garden, to mastering a new hobby, the pandemic also brought a rise in Bible reading among Christians.
It’s encouraging to see that the Bible is giving people hope and confidence. —Dr. Andrew Ollerton, author of The Bible Course
Many turned to reading the Bible for the positive effects it brings into their lives. Twenty-three percent of the respondents said Bible reading has increased their mental wellbeing, while 33% of 16-24-year-olds said it helped them feel less lonely. Respondents also reported that the Bible gave them an increased sense of hope in God, and increased their confidence in an unpredictable future.
“It’s encouraging to see that the Bible is giving people hope and confidence,” said Dr. Andrew Ollerton, author of The Bible Course. “The Bible has the ability to stand over our circumstances as something solid, a reference point in uncertain times. It’s like having felt all at sea, and then having a rock to stand on.”
While lockdowns forced bookstores to close during the early stages of the pandemic, technology became a great tool for Christians to nourish their faith. The survey found that 23% of Christians in the UK are using Bible-reading apps and 30% are now listening to the Bible. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said they now watched more Bible-related videos or had started watching them.
Being at home also increased the frequency of Bible reading among Christians. Twenty-five per cent of those surveyed said they were reading the Bible ‘multiple times a day’ and half answered turning to the Bible on a daily basis. With the young Christians, 27% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 32% of 35 to 44-year-olds reported reading the Bible several times a day.
In an article in Premier Christianity, Bible Society’s Editor, Mark Woods, shared his thoughts on why reading the Bible brings confidence, hope and mental well-being to people. He wrote that the Bible, even if it was written thousands of years ago, has a lot of verses that are helpful in our circumstances today. For people worrying about their health or economic situation, Deuteronomy 33:27 says: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms,” and Jesus said in John 14:1: “Do not be worried and upset…Believe in God and believe also in me.”
Woods noted that many Christians have rediscovered that the Bible can express in words the confusion, desperation, and grief people feel at this time of crisis. Job and Lamentations are about pain and suffering while Psalms has a mix of comforting words and desperate calls for help.
The editor pointed out that the Bible is one great story where we are all involved in. “The act of reading the Bible in faith makes us part of something bigger.” Amid all the problems and tribulations in life, “in the end, we win,” Woods wrote.