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Bible reading boosts mental well-being among Christians, U.K. survey says

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ROME — Reading the Bible has had a positive effect on people's "mental well-being" during the pandemic, according to a Christian Research survey conducted in the United Kingdom.

The survey also found that respondents were reading the Bible more and turning to Bible-related videos more during the pandemic.

The survey, carried out on behalf of the Bible Society, posed a number of questions to 1,000 people in the United Kingdom who identified themselves as Christians and who had attended church at least once a month before restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic. The questions were asked in December, and the results were published online by the Bible Society March 1.

Forty-two percent of respondents reported that reading the Bible increased a "sense of hope in God during the crisis, rising to nearly half (49 percent) among 45- to 54-year-olds," the report by the Bible Society said.

"Some 28 percent said that reading the Bible had increased their confidence in the future," while 63 percent said they felt their level of confidence remained the same, rather than dropping, it said.

It said 23 percent of those surveyed said the Bible "had increased their mental well-being, including 47 percent of 24- to 34-year-olds," and 33 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds reported that reading the Bible had helped them "feel less lonely."

The report said 35 percent of survey respondents were reading the Bible more during the pandemic with the biggest increase among 25- to 34-year-olds in which "53 percent were reading the Bible more often."

"A quarter of those asked, said that they were reading the Bible 'multiple times a day' and half said that they were reading the Bible on a daily basis," the Bible Society said.

It also found that 25 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds in the survey said they had begun reading the Bible during the pandemic.

While many continue to turn to print editions of the Bible, 23 percent reported using "a Bible-reading app, 30 percent are now listening to the Bible" and 59 percent of those surveyed said that "they now watched more Bible-related videos or had started watching them."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021