For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
This is a powerful verse, but what exactly does it mean? Well, now we have some real-world data to explain it…
A study by the Centre for Bible Engagement entitled: “Understanding the Bible Engagement Challenge: Scientific Evidence for the Power of 4” found that people who engage with scriptures four or more times a week had lower odds of participating in behaviours like:
Getting drunk = 57% lower odds
Sex outside marriage = 68% lower odds
Pornography = 61% lower odds
Gambling = 74% lower odds
Any of these habits = 57% lower odds
In fact, the study showed that scripture engagement more reliably predicts moral behaviour than traditional measures of spirituality, like church attendance and prayer.
The study also found that there’s no statistical difference between Christians who read or listen to the Bible two to three days a week and those who don’t engage scripture at all or only once a week.
“Many Christians are losing the day spiritually because they are not connecting with God through His Word regularly.”
For parents, it’s interesting to note that how often a teen reads or listens to the Bible seems a particularly strong protective factor.
I’ve read to my boys pretty much every day since they were about 6 months old. Now a teen and a pre-teen, I haven’t stop reading to them. Every night at bedtime, they know I’m coming at them with a devotional and a chapter of a book we’re reading together. It is without doubt my favourite time of day.
I’ve learnt so much about God while reading with them, and I know they have, too. Now, I have the science to prove it.