Reading the Bible during the pandemic has improved the mental health of a large segment of Christians and also eased their anxiety about the future, according to a new United Kingdom survey.
The poll of 1,123 practicing Christians who attend church and read the Bible at least monthly found that 33 percent say reading the Bible has improved their mental health during the pandemic, while 28 percent say it has increased their confidence in the future. Another 42 percent say it has boosted their hope in God. Most in the survey say reading the Bible has allowed their mental health and their beliefs about the future and God to remain the same, rather than decreasing.
The survey was conducted by Christian Research for the Bible Society.
“It’s encouraging to see that the Bible is giving people hope and confidence,” said Andrew Ollerton, author of The Bible Course, a publication and course by the Bible Society.
“The Bible has the ability to stand over our circumstances as something solid, a reference point in uncertain times,” Ollerton added. “It’s like having felt all at sea, and then having a rock to stand on.”
Among other findings:
- 84 percent of practicing Christians have regular Bible reading sessions.
- 35 percent say they have engaged with the Bible more frequently since the pandemic started.
- 16 percent say they read the Bible when lonely or sad.
- 33 percent of Christians ages 16 to 24 say reading the Bible had helped them feel less lonely.
Naomi Campbell, a mother of two in the United Kingdom, told the Bible Society she has drawn strength during the pandemic from Isaiah 61:3.
“‘You have given me a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair,’” she said, paraphrasing the verse. “My life has had a lot of challenges, but all the way along, God has given us the opportunity to see his goodness, his creativity in our lives. That verse has stayed with me during lockdown. This verse has been amazing, actually.”
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/Digitalskillet
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.