Scotland – the Land of the Book?

Do you ever wonder how many people in Scottish churches are reading the Bible? A recent piece of research gives us the answer[1].

15% Read the Bible daily
27% Read the Bible weekly
29% Read the Bible monthly or a few times a year
14% Read the Bible less than yearly
15% Never read the Bible

Reading and reflecting on the Bible for yourself is the key to spiritual growth

So take a group of seven people in your church. Statistically, one of them will be reading the Bible every day, one will never read the Bible, one will read the Bible less frequently than once a year, two will read the Bible weekly and two will read the Bible somewhere between every month to a few times a year.

According to the biggest research study ever undertaken, the Bible is the key to spiritual growth. Surveying 400,000 people in 1,500 churches between 2007-11, this study concluded, “Reflection on Scripture is the most influential catalyst of spiritual growth. Nothing else even comes close to having the same impact as the Bible”[2]

Small groups as a key means of encouraging reading and reflection on the Bible

Research also shows that one of the best ways to help and encourage folk to be reading the Bible and applying it to life is by being part of a small group Bible study. Crucially, small groups not only help those attending grow spiritually, they also help churches to grow in numbers.[3]

Community Bible Experience: A Scottish Success Story  

During the last three years, over 5,700 people in over 100 churches around Scotland have used Community Bible Experience (CBE) – a resource that combines individual Bible reading and reflection with a small group discussion format – to read through the whole of the New Testament.

The concept for CBE is really simple: read the Bible Monday to Friday (with Saturday and Sunday to catch up!), then meet every week (or every couple of weeks) to discuss what has been read, using five simple questions, the first of which is always, “What did you notice for the first time?” For those meeting weekly this means each volume is covered in 8 weeks.

Despite the simplicity, CBE achieves a huge amount:

  • It encourages daily Bible reading.
  • It gives a sense of the “Big Picture” of the Bible as folk read large amounts of scripture each day. This “Big Picture” is summarised in the opening pages of the book, where the whole Biblical story is summarised in four pages.
  • It enables the Bible to be read in context. The introductions at the beginning of each book give context and background, enabling people to understand who each book was written to and why. This in turn helps folk see how the Bible applies to where they are.
  • It builds community around the word of God through getting people together and talking about the Bible and what God is saying to us through it.

In addition to the New Testament CBE, there are three volumes covering the Old Testament. Such was the demand for CBE in Scotland, that the final volume was rushed off the production line just for Scottish churches – a real Scottish success story!

Find out more

To find out more about Scotland and the Bible or to discuss CBE, please contact Adrian Armstrong, Head of Bible Engagement, or go to the CBE page on our website.


[1] Transforming Scotland: The State of Christianity, Faith and the Church in Scotland, Barna Global, UK.
[2] G.Hawkins and C. Parkinson Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.
[3]  Ed Stetzer & Eric Geiger, Transforming Groups, Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2014.