A new study on “The Bible in American Life” by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture suggests that the Bible retains a position of unique influence among Americans, even if many more people respect the Bible than actively read it. The report finds that two-thirds of those people who hardly ever read the Bible still affirm that the Scriptures are either the “inspired” or “inerrant” Word of God.
Americans are evenly split between those who read any religious texts at least once a year, and those who do not read them at all. Among those who do, the vast majority (95 percent) read the Bible as their sacred book of choice. One of the most surprising findings of the study is that, in spite of the proliferation of other English-language translations in recent decades, the King James Version (KJV) remains by far America’s most-read Bible. Fifty-five percent of Bible readers cite the KJV as their preferred translation, with the New International Version second at 19 percent, and “other translations” at 8 percent.
Notre Dame historian Mark Noll commented that “although the bookstores are now crowded with alternative versions, and although several different translations are now widely used in church services and for preaching, the large presence of the KJV testifies to the extraordinary power of this one classic English text.” African-American readers express overwhelming preference (79 percent) for the KJV, as compared to only half of white respondents who do.
Read more at http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/reigning_classic