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American Bible Society Survey – Can’t Be True

According to the news articles linked below, the 2021 American Bible Society ‘State of the Bible Report’ was quoted as indicating that:

“55 percent of Americans believe in biblical inerrancy.”

I am a traditional Biblical Christian and I would love to believe this is true. It was reported as such in the Baptist Press, the Biblical Recorder, the Baptist Messenger, and Sharper Iron, among other “news” sources. Further stating,

“Biblical inerrancy is professed by 55 percent of Americans, with even a greater portion of those surveyed, 71 percent, confessing that Scripture is the Word of God.”

The study surveyed 3,354 adults across the country through an online survey between Jan. 4-29, and also incorporated additional results from a relatively small group of youths ages 15-17.

Further quotes from the articles above include:

  • “Approximately 7 in 10 Americans believe the Bible is essential in helping the nation sustain such values as faith (72 percent of respondents), hope (71 percent), and love (69 percent).”
  • “54 percent of Americans believe the Bible contains “everything a person needs to live a meaningful life”, and “23 percent of Americans turned to the Bible as a source of comfort during the pandemic, and 38 percent relied on prayer and meditation to cope.”
  • “In January [of 2020], we estimated that 70.9 million American adults were consistently interacting with the Bible and allowing its message to shape their choices and even transform their relationships.
  • “The Millennial generation (aged 21-35) is leading all the other generational groups in Scripture engagement.”

Not Possible

Call me a skeptic but, this can’t be true. The research has to be flawed in some way. Perhaps the respondents did not understand the concept of “inerrancy” or the sample was not random or, whatever.

There have just been too many Pew Research, Barna and Gallup polls among others that fly in the face of these results. America is no longer a traditional Christian nation and has not been for quite some time. ABS polling results showing over half of Americans (not just Christians) believe the Bible is without any errors (i.e. inerrant), is just unfathomable. Below are a few past articles I have posted quoting other sources on the loss of our Biblical Christian worldview.

Again, I am a Biblical Christian and I believe the Bible is without error in its original autographs. Further, I desperately want and pray these results from the American Bible Society to be valid. But….. the ABS presenting research results like this is like the Tobacco Institute saying for 50+years that smoking was not damaging to your health. It just can’t be true, as much as I wish it were.


Postscript….

First, thanks for all the good comments. I have dug deeper and corrected one link in the post that a reader caught (thank you!).

Bottom line… I cannot find the source document on the 2021 ABS ‘State of the Bible’ that is being quoted by the articles from the Baptist Press and the others linked above. If someone finds the 2021 report, please send me a link and I will post it. However, I am now even more skeptical of the “55% Inerrancy” quote. This link will allow anyone interested to download a PDF of the 2022 ABS ‘State of the Bible’ report which has the following quote in it… 

“Of five response options, the most popular (27%) was: The Bible is the inspired word of God and has no errors, although some verses are meant to be symbolic rather than literal. Last year, this answer was chosen by 29 percent. This was the most popular choice of every age group except Millennials.

Note the comment “last year”, which would have been 2021, the number was 29% NOT 55%. Even 29% is high in my view. I suspect the 55% one of the Christian outlets misquoted the research and the rest just regurgitated the error without really thinking about what it implied. As I have said many times, you just can’t trust the media, even the Christian media to get things right. 


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Jeff Hilles | BCWorldveiw.org, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit

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