A new survey shows that "Christians are tending to read the Bible more and for longer during the pandemic and for those who do it is having a positive impact on their mental health, well being, and hope in the future."
The findings come in a survey in the United Kingdom for Bible Society, carried out by Christian Research.
Over 1,000 Christians were polled on how their faith and devotional habits have been impacted throughout the last year. Participants are all practising Christians, attending a church service and reading the Bible at least monthly.
Over one-third of respondents (35 per cent) say their Bible reading has increased, while only 5 per cent reported a decrease.
"Forty-two per cent reported that it led to an increased sense of hope in God during the crisis, rising to nearly half (49 per cent) among 45 to 54-year-olds. Some 28 per cent said that reading the Bible had increased their confidence in the future, whilst 63 per cent said that it had enabled their confidence to remain the same, rather than dipping," Bible Society says in a release.
"It’s encouraging to see that the Bible is giving people hope and confidence," says 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."
Twenty-three per cent of those surveyed said that the Bible has increased their mental wellbeing, including 47 per cent of 24 to 34-year-olds.
"Mental health is so important," says Ollerton, "and the Scriptures are a source of endurance and wellbeing."
Naomi Campbell is a mother-of-two from Jersey who has been isolating throughout the pandemic due to health issues. She says, "The verse that has meant a lot to me in all of this is Isaiah 61.3, ‘You have given me a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.’ My life has had a lot of challenges, but all the way along, God has given us the opportunity to see his goodness, his creativity in our lives.
"That verse has stayed with me during lockdown. This verse has been amazing, actually.
"I haven’t been able to be in control of anything during lockdown, and I like to be in control. I like things neat and organized. But this verse tells me that I need to embrace the messiness of life."
As well as reading more, people are also turning to the Bible more frequently than before the pandemic. A quarter of those asked say that they were reading the Bible "multiple times a day" and half said that they were reading the Bible on a daily basis.