Germany: Too Few Christians Read the Bible

According to a survey, only a small portion of the German population reads the Bible regularly.  However  many people find its contents interesting.

Newsroom (2/07/2023 15:00, Gaudium Press) On June 29, the results of a study conducted in 2022 in Germany by theologians from Leipzig University was released. They interviewed a total of 1209 people with and without church ties (Catholic and Protestant) as part of their project Multiple Bible Use in Modern Society. This study was led by sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Gert Pickel and Prof. Dr. Alexander Deeg of the Institute of Practical Theology at the University of Leipzig, who asked questions about the ownership, use and understanding of the Bible.

Only 30% of Germans use the Bible at least once a year; 1.6% read it daily and 3.2% weekly. Just over half have a printed copy of the Bible in their homes, but digital formats and Bible derivatives are also used. Digital formats have not replaced the printed Bible. According to the study, about 11% generally read the Bible in e-book format, in an app or on websites. The audio Bible is used frequently, especially by older respondents (9%).

However, 40% of people with no religious affiliation find the Bible content interesting. Compared to 2014, the proportion of Bible readers has not decreased, but rather the frequency of use, says Deeg, “We see that the number of non-readers is high,” adds Pickel, “I was surprised by the relatively low use of the Bible among Catholics and Protestants.” The reason given was usually the lack of personal relevance of the Bible to their lives. In fact, 80% of non-readers said they saw no reason to read the Bible.

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However, the study shows that “the Bible as a cultural heritage is important for society,” Pichel explained. Bible readers are predominantly of the opinion that this particular book still has something to say to them today and that the claims of the Bible can certainly be transferred to the present day. In other words, 90% of Bible readers and 63% of those who do not read the Bible believe that the Bible offers central norms and values for society. And 46% of Bible readers believe that politics should be based on the Bible.

Pickel pointed out that people come into contact with the Bible generally between the ages of 4 and 14, mainly during religious instruction, church services and in preparation for First Communion and Confirmation, through the influence of parents and grandparents.

With information from Universität Leipzig

The post “Germany: Too Few Christians Read the Bible” appeared first on Gaudium Press.

Compiled by Florence MacDonald

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