Study Finds Scripture Engaged Americans Gave More than $145 Billion to Charity in 2021

(Charisma News archives)
Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds

A recent study conducted by the American Bible Society revealed that American Christians who are engaged with the Bible gave more than $145 billion to charitable causes—aside from church tithes—in 2021.

The study found that practicing Christians, those who are actively living out their faith, are much more likely to give, according to America Bible Society's State of the Bible report.

"Year after year our research shows there is a strong correlation between charitable giving and human flourishing, suggesting that people find a sense of meaning when they give to a cause they believe in," says John Farquhar Plake, director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society. "Engaging in the Bible and actively living out our faith doesn't simply mean reading the words in the pages of Scripture—rather it is a transformation of the heart that inspires us to love and live well."

The report was based on responses from 2,598 U.S. adults and collected from Jan. 20-28, 2022.

A total of 44% of all donations given to charity last year were found to have been initiated by scripturally engaged Americans.

American Bible Society defines Scripture engagement as "consistent interaction with the Bible that shapes a person's choices and transforms their relationships with God, self and others."

The survey revealed that older people are more likely to give, a trend that can partially be attributed to economics. Nearly 83% of the elder generation give to charity compared to half of Generation Z. Generation X has the highest income of any group, but members of that group were found less likely to give than two older generations.

The study also found that Christians were more likely to support local charities than nationally recognized organizations.

Here are some key findings in the State of the Bible survey:

  • Those who are Scripture engaged are much more likely than others to donate to charity–four out of five report giving, compared to just over half of those who are Bible disengaged (page 176).
  • Scripture engaged Americans gave $145 billion to charitable causes—not just churches—in 2021, with an estimated $2,907 per household (page 177). Nearly three of five Scripture engaged Americans (58%) report giving at a higher level (page 189).
  • People who are Scripture engaged gave six-times as much to churches as those in the Movable Middle and 13-times as much as those who are Bible disengaged. When it comes to non-church giving, Scripture engaged Americans gave 9% more than the Bible disengaged and 165% more than the Movable Middle (page 178).
  • Americans tend to support local charities more than nationally recognized organizations: the Scripture engaged gave 12% to national religious charities compared to 72% toward their local church (page 180).

A total of 80% of Scripture-engaged Americans gave to charity in 2021, compared to 68% of those in the "Movable Middle" and 53% of Scripture disengaged Americans.

The survey found that those who are disengaged with the Bible donated an average of $285 to local non-religious charities and an average of $28 to national religious charities.

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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.

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