Study: One of the Biggest Misconceptions About the Bible

More than seven out of 10 Americans—72 percent—mistakenly believe that the Bible is currently available in all of the world's languages.
More than seven out of 10 Americans—72 percent—mistakenly believe that the Bible is currently available in all of the world's languages. (Brett Jordan/Flickr/Creative Commons)
A new report provides evidence of overwhelming support among Americans for global access to the Bible. American Bible Society's 2015 State of the Bible report found that 98 percent of Americans surveyed believe every person in the world should have the freedom to own and read a Bible.

At the same time, the report conducted by Barna Group found that Americans are largely ignorant about the current state of Bible access among much of the world's population. More than seven out of 10 Americans—72 percent—mistakenly believe that the Bible is currently available in all of the world's languages. Only 21 percent of Americans surveyed recognize there are still languages in the world without a Bible translation.

"Eighty-eight percent of American households own at least one Bible, with the average household owning about four copies," said Geof Morin, executive vice president of ministry mobilization at American Bible Society. "Unfortunately, many around the world do not enjoy this same opportunity. And while the overwhelming majority of Americans have access to the Bible in their native language, the same cannot be said for many in the rest of the world."

Of the world's 6,901 languages actively used as first languages, only 531 have a complete Bible translation. Bible translation is currently underway in an additional 2,195 languages, but some 1,859 remain untouched. In addition to the hurdle of incomplete or missing language translations, "there are many reasons why millions are still without access to the Bible, from war to political oppression, poverty to illiteracy," said Morin. "That is why American Bible Society is working to see 100 percent of the world's active languages translated and 100 million people in the United States actively engaged with Scripture—we call it our 100/100 vision."


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