Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bible Engagement Among Young People in Australia

Philip Hughes and Claire Pickering, Bible Engagement among Young Australians: Patterns and Social Drivers (Christian Research Association, 2010).

Scripture Engagement notes the publication of a 53-page report from the Christian Research Association in Australia on Bible engagement among young people in Australia.

The report, commissioned by the Bible Society (South Australia), is available as a pdf here.

It looks at national patterns of Bible reading, attitudes among young people to the content of the Bible, as well as major influences and social drivers of young people’s attitudes to the Bible.

They summarise:

‘Conservatively interpreted, the surveys show that around 4 per cent of young people read the Bible daily, another 6 per cent read it weekly, and 15 to 20 per cent read it very occasionally. About 70 per cent never read it. The frequency of Bible reading is a little greater among older young people, although this is probably a result of changing history patterns over generations and not related to age. Of those who read the Bible daily or weekly, most attend church services and youth activities, such as a Bible study group. Most also have parents and friends who attend church frequently. Those who read it frequently are mostly involved in Protestant Evangelical or Charismatic denominations, such as the Pentecostals, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Seventh-day Adventists.’

They propose the following recommendations for the Bible Society:

• Focus on building youth groups and Bible study groups
• Develop materials for occasional readers and the curious
• Work with families in encouraging Bible engagement
• Explore relevant forms of communication and community for encouraging Bible engagement

And their recommendations for future research include these questions:

• What are the catalysts for Bible reading?
• How is the Bible interpreted?

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