A recent survey confirmed what Christians already knew – Americans who are engaged with scripture are more generous. Members of this group donated more than $100 billion to charity last year, according to the annual “State of the Bible” report form the American Bible Society.
“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,” said John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the organization. “Engaging with 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 survey found that people who score the highest on a scale measuring scripture engagement based on responses to a series of questions examining the “frequency of Bible use and the impact and centrality of its message” on their lives gave a total of $145 billion to charitable causes in 2021.
Charitable giving among scripture-engaged Americans accounted for 44 percent of all donations given to charity last year. Additionally, scripture-engaged Americans gave an average of $2,941 to charity in 2021. Their counterparts in the “movable middle” and the scripture disengaged, as determined by their scores on the scripture-engagement scale, gave an average of $649 and $924 to charity last year, respectively.
On average, a majority of donations from scripture-engaged Americans went to their church, parish or temple. With scripture-engaged Americans’ average contributions to their place of worship measured at $2,124, other top recipients of charitable giving among this subgroup included national religious charities ($344), other religious organizations ($277) and local non-religious charities ($162).
Practicing Christians also donated money to charity at a higher rate than their non-practicing and non-Christian counterparts. Eighty-one percent of practicing Christians donated to charity in 2021, compared to 61 percent of non-practicing Christians and 52 percent of non-Christians.
The report illustrated a correlation between the amount of money an individual gave to charity and their score on the Human Flourishing Index, developed by Harvard University to measure a person’s “happiness and life satisfaction,” “mental and physical health,” “meaning and purpose,” “character and virtue,” “close social relationships” and “financial and material stability.” Those who gave more than $210 to charity last year had an average score of 7.6 on the Human Flourishing Index’s 10-point scale.