Friday, May 7, 2021

Do Women Read the Bible More Than Men? If So, Why?

Best-selling study authors and Bible teachers unpack the factors that drive women to prioritize time in Scripture.

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When Anne Graham Lotz was a girl, she went on a 14-mile hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a friend. Eventually, they found themselves lost in a laurel thicket, unsure of the way home. “Laurel thickets can cover the side of a mountain, and you’re dense in thicket,” Lotz told Christianity Today. “You can’t see up, out, either side.” Fortunately, her friend had packed a compass, and with that compass, they were able to set their course for north and find their way out of the laurel thicket. “We got back to the trail that we had lost, and got to where we needed to be,” Lotz said, “and we were fine.”

Lotz compares that experience to how she approaches Bible reading each and every day. “When I get up in the morning and spend time with the Lord, it’s like setting my compass, so that regardless of which way I’m turned during the day, the needle turns north,” Lotz said. “My thoughts, my attention, they’re centered on the Lord.”

Women Lead in Scripture Engagement

identity in christLotz’s commitment to daily time in the Word reflects the Bible engagement habits of many American women.

The Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study reports that among evangelical Protestants, 66 percent of women read Scripture at least once a week, compared to 58 percent of men.

While these Bible-reading habits may involve engaging with Scripture during a church service or midweek Bible study, women also outpace men when it comes to engaging with Scripture outside of church. According to the 2017 Baylor Religion Survey, 36 percent of Christian women spend weekly or daily time alone reading the Bible, compared to 29 percent of Christian men.

The 2020 State of the Bible survey, commissioned by the American Bible Society (ABS) and conducted by Barna, also finds that “women are more Scripture engaged than men.” It reports that more than half of American women (52%) are “Bible friendly,” “Bible engaged,” or “Bible-centered,” compared to 47 percent of American men.

The researchers used the term “Bible friendly” to describe those who “interact with the Bible consistently” and may consider it “a source of spiritual insight and wisdom.” The term “Bible engaged” described those who “interact with the Bible frequently … transforming their relationship with God and others.” Finally, “Bible-centered” described those whose frequent interaction with Scripture transformed not just their relationships but also their choices.

The ABS report also notes that African Americans “are more Scripture engaged than other racial or ethnic groups.” Among black Christians, Pew reports …

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