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The Bible in American Life$
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Philip Goff, Arthur Farnsley, and Peter Thuesen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190468910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190468910.001.0001

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The Bible in American Life Today

The Bible in American Life Today

(p.5) 1 The Bible in American Life Today
The Bible in American Life

Philip Goff

Arthur E. Farnsley

Peter J. Thuesen

Oxford University Press

This chapter captures the major findings of the national survey of Americans’ use of the Bible in daily life and lays the foundation for the volume. Forty-eight percent of Americans read the Bible in the past year, 9 percent daily. Despite the proliferation of translations, the King James Version is Bible readers’ top choice by far. The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race; African Americans read the Bible at considerably higher rates than others. Bible readers consult scripture for personal prayer and devotion three times more than for learning about culture war issues such as abortion, homosexuality, war, or poverty. Clear differences exist among Bible readers consulting scripture for specific reasons; age, income, and education are key factors. Differences among religious traditions follow predictably the historic divides between Protestants and Catholics, and between white conservative and white moderate/liberal Protestants. However, reading practices defy some stereotypes about certain groups.

Keywords:   Bible, Bible reading, Bible versions, race and religion, demographics, culture wars

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