Survey Finds Those Engaged with the Bible Outgive Bible Skeptics

American Bible Society's 2014 State of the Bible Examines the Relationship Between Engagement with the Bible and Charitable Giving

Last year, a study found that the United States was the world’s most charitable nation.i Now, results from a recent survey may provide insight into why that is.

American Bible Society’s fourth annual State of the Bible survey included a new question about charitable giving. The results, when broken down by level of Bible engagement, reveal that those who are most engaged with the Bible—who read it regularly and hold a high view of Scripture—donated an average of $3,259 per year to nonprofit organizations. Those who demonstrated the most skepticism about the Bible averaged just $584 in nonprofit donations.                                                           

"While anyone who has ever taken a statistics class knows correlation does not equal causation, the results of this survey are certainly intriguing," said American Bible Society Executive Vice President for Mission Advancement R. Mark Dillon.

Nonprofit Giving by Level of Bible Engagement


All Adults

Bible Engagedii

Bible Friendlyiii

Bible Neutraliv

Bible Skepticsv

Mean Donation






Median Donation






Lessons found in the pages of Scripture may have something to do with differences in giving between readers and nonreaders, says American Bible Society’s Dillon.

"Care for one's neighbor and support of one's faith community are themes that run throughout Scripture," said Dillon. "It makes sense that those who spend time in God's Word will be more inclined to live out its principles."

The results are more significant when considered in light of average incomes. The Bible Engaged had an average reported annual incomevi of $56,000, compared with an average of $67,000 for Bible Skeptics. 

About American Bible Society:
Headquartered in Manhattan, the 198-year-old American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation's oldest nonprofit organizations, today's American Bible Society provides resources across a variety of platforms, enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time. For more information, visit

Survey Methodology:
The State of the Bible 2014 report contains the findings from a nationwide study commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Research (a division of Barna Group). Two research methodologies were used for the study; one included 1,012 telephone interviews (including cellphone interviews) with adults in the continental U.S., while the second study consisted of 1,024 online surveys using a nationally representative panel. The use of two methodologies provided a larger sample size for key questions and ensured even greater representation among all age groups. The telephone interviews were conducted Jan. 8–20, 2014 and included U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. The online surveys were conducted between Jan. 28–Feb. 5, 2014. For full survey information, please contact Christine Cape or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770.813.0000.

i2013 World Giving Index

 iiBible engaged are those who:

  1. Believe the Bible is the actual or inspired Word of God with no factual errors, or believe the Bible is the inspired word of God with some factual errors; and

  2. Read the Bible daily or at least four times per week

 iiiBible friendly are those who:

  1. Believe the Bible is the actual or inspired Word of God with no factual errors; and

  2. Read it fewer than four times per week

 ivBible neutral are those who:

  1. Believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God with some factual errors, or believe it is not inspired by God but rather written by writers based on their understanding of the ways of God

vBible skeptics are those who:

  1. Selected the most negative or nonsacred view of the Bible from five options, saying they believe the Bible is just another book of teachings written by men, containing stories and advice. 

viTo calculate income levels, Barna Group asked each survey respondent to select, from nine household income ranges, the range that best describes his or her total household income. To determine an average, researchers calculated a relative midpoint of these ranges based upon the number of respondents in each range.