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The Pandemic Fueled Spiritual Hunger for 181M Americans, Millions Opening a Bible for the Very First Time


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More than 10 million more Americans turned to the Bible over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic than in the years before, according to the American Bible Society.

Their new 2021 "State of the Bible" report found that 181 million Americans opened a Bible during the past year, compared to the 169 million who used a Bible at least occasionally in earlier years.

In addition, one in four adults said they read the Bible more frequently over this past year than in prior years.

The American Bible Society reports this year, 95 million American adults are exploring Scripture, many for the very first time. The organization notes the Church has a great opportunity to help connect these new Bible explorers to the Bible and its message of hope.

"Over the past year, Americans have faced a once-in-a-century pandemic—along with significant political and social unrest," said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society. "However, our research shows that in the midst of incredible pressure, Americans are finding hope and resilience in the Bible." 

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"This marks the fourth straight year in a trend of Americans moving toward the Bible, with COVID-19 encouraging many of us to look to faith for answers. There's an astounding opportunity right now for the Church to answer our nation's pervasive trauma and pain with the hope and healing of God's Word," he said.

The report's results are based on a survey done in January 2021 via 3,354 online interviews of a representative sample of American adults nationwide, as well as 91 additional responses from Gen Z youth. 

Youth for Christ Sees Major Sales Spike for Teen Story Bible

The American Bible Society's findings coincide with the experiences of Youth for Christ, which saw a major spike in the sales of its YFC3 Story Bible during the pandemic. 

"Clearly, through God's faithfulness, a variety of our organization's locations were prepared to have enough Bibles to share with young people during the pandemic. We feel certain that the Word of God comforted and inspired these hundreds of teens, and perhaps many more, during one of the toughest years of their lives—and we continue, every day, to share the Word of God and God's teachings with as many teens as we can," said YFC's President and CEO Dan Wolgemuth in a statement. 

Numerous YFC 3Story Bibles were placed in care packages for teens during the pandemic. When some states first began reopening to small group gatherings after the lockdowns, the Bible was often the first item faith leaders would distribute to teens. The YFC 3Story Bible contains 500 thought-provoking "connection point" questions that inspire teens to read the Bible closely—and to think about its application to their lives. In addition, more than 150 "then and now" features weave together stories of today's young people with Scripture—helping teens to talk more openly about God and to build deeper, more genuine relationships with one another. 

The YFC 3Story Bible, based on the organization's 3Story discipleship program, encourages teens to better understand how God's story overlaps with the story of their own lives and that of their friends.

The YFC 3Story® concept is based on the belief that kids will be reached for Christ when they're met at their point of need—and as workers connect their stories with Jesus's story. The ministry reports it is changing lives, one young person at a time. 

YFC has chapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. 

Many teens today are silently struggling with personal challenges, but Youth For Christ aims to connect them with the living power of a loving God. 

Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944 when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC's first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on a mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. 

Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 140 chapters that impact communities across America.

For more information, visit the Youth for Christ website

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of