Statistics on believing the Bible

Another interesting tidbit from is a poll on what Americans believe about the Bible. It found that nearly a third, 31%, believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” Nearly half, 47%, believe the Bible is “inspired by the word of God.” Nearly a fifth, 19%, believe that the Bible is just “ancient fables, history, legends recorded by man.” (Read the linked report for various demographic breakdowns as to age, education, church attendance, etc.)

It would seem that over three-fourths, 78%, see the Bible as some kind of spiritual authority. But I wonder what nearly half of our fellow citizens mean by the second category and how they know what parts of the Bible to believe and what they don’t have to believe.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fw

    Does any of this matter when even most Lutherans miss the fact that the Bible exists entirely to be a testimony of Jesus Christ?

  • fw

    Does any of this matter when even most Lutherans miss the fact that the Bible exists entirely to be a testimony of Jesus Christ?

  • Manxman

    The issue is not about which parts of the Bible people feel they have to BELIEVE – what matters, even for the 31% who belive the Bible is the literal word of God, is what parts of what God has communicated they feel obligated to OBEY.

    Without fear of the Lord, believing in God’s word doesn’t necessarily affect a person’s life as it should. Obedience is where the rubber meets the road.

  • Manxman

    The issue is not about which parts of the Bible people feel they have to BELIEVE – what matters, even for the 31% who belive the Bible is the literal word of God, is what parts of what God has communicated they feel obligated to OBEY.

    Without fear of the Lord, believing in God’s word doesn’t necessarily affect a person’s life as it should. Obedience is where the rubber meets the road.

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  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com Frank

    So now there is a consensus? Hmm, that’s a fun thought.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com Frank

    So now there is a consensus? Hmm, that’s a fun thought.

  • texan

    Saying the bible is “literally the word of God” and to be “taken literally” are two different thoughts. Fundamentalist who think the bible is to be taken literally a lot of times don’t take different kinds of biblical literature into account. Are the images in the Psalms all meant to be taken literally? I wonder just how the question was posed. Could you say that every word of the bible is the literal word of God without saying all the bible is meant to be taken literally?

  • texan

    Saying the bible is “literally the word of God” and to be “taken literally” are two different thoughts. Fundamentalist who think the bible is to be taken literally a lot of times don’t take different kinds of biblical literature into account. Are the images in the Psalms all meant to be taken literally? I wonder just how the question was posed. Could you say that every word of the bible is the literal word of God without saying all the bible is meant to be taken literally?


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