SA Christians Still Need 23 Million Bibles
By Mandla Zibi – More than 23 million Bibles are still needed in South Africa, according to research company Ipsos, commissioned by the Bible Society of South Africa (BSSA).
The survey polled South Africans from a representative sample of 3786, of whom 2567 were Christians older than 15 years, across all provinces, race/language groups and rural/urban areas. It was held between the end of March and early April this year.
The responses were extrapolated to the entire adult South African population (15 years of age and older), resulting in a total just shy of 26,5 million people.
Ipsos found that some 44% of South African Christian households indicated that they did not need additional Bibles, while 46 (7%) still needed between one and three Bibles for members of their household.
“Asked to indicate how many Bibles are still needed, 26,6% indicated at least one Bible; 15,8% at least two Bibles, and 7,6% three to five Bibles. “The statistical sum then arrived at was an estimated 23 million Bibles,” said Mims Turley of the BSSA.
The poll shows that 68,8% of the South African population 15 years and older belong to the Christian faith and according to denomination they broke down as 44% Protestant (including Dutch Reformed, Anglican, Evangelical, Pentecostal and so on), 37% Zionist Christian Church or other African Independent Christians, and 18% Catholics. Just over a quarter of the population (25,4%) do not belong to any religious group.
“In one way it is positive that so many people in our country still need the Bible. On the other hand we still have an enormous challenge to make affordable Bibles available to all. We will carry on with the work of translating and producing the scriptures in all the languages of our country,” Ms Turley said.“The Bible remains very relevant to most Christians in the country. On a scale of one to 10, where 10 represents most relevant, the findings show that 64,9% of respondents rated the importance of the Bible in their lives between 8 and 10.
The majority of Christians in the country (79,1%) already own one or more Bibles. Yet there are 5,5% of Christians who do not own a Bible at all.”
The research also revealed that South African Christians (62,4%) still prefer to read newspapers, magazines and books in print format. A further 21,7% indicated that they do not only read printed material, but also utilise digital formats. Only 3% indicated that they only read in digital format.
The Bible Society of South Africa was founded in Cape Town in 1820 as an auxiliary society of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Today the Bible Society of South Africa operates as a non-profit company.