10% have read the entire Bible

BibleBible. Photo: Nordisk bibelmuseum

One in ten Norwegians have read the entire Bible, according to a new questionnaire. Southerners are the most diligent readers.


In the survey, which YouGov carried out for the Nordic Bible Museum (Nordisk bibelmuseum), 10% said that they’d ‘read the Bible from cover to cover’. 42% have read parts of the Bible, 30% have looked at small parts of the Bible, and 17% hadn’t read the Bible at all.

‘That relatively few have read the whole Bible from cover to cover is probably connected with the fact that most people are used to getting the contents of the Bible presented in sermons rather than through extensive reading of the book itself’, said Dr. Theol. Anders Martinsen, co-author of the book, The Popular Culture Bible, published in 2014.

Read in context

He thinks this dismantling makes it difficult to get the experience of the individual parts, and that many people would enjoy reading more.

‘It’s worth reading some parts, and core texts as a whole, such as Genesis, some hymns (such as Psalm 23), a gospel, and some of the letters from Paul,’ said Martinsen.

According to the survey, men and women read about the same amount of the Bible. Older people have read more of the Bible than younger, and people in southern Norway have read more than the national average, 14% against 10%.

‘The decreasing popularity of the Bible among young people is probably associated with a generally lower interest in religious issues in our day. We also live in a more multicultural society,’ said Rune Arnhoff, instigator of the Nordic Bible Museum, which will open in Oslo in spring 2018.

Great significance

As a Bible collector, he is still concerned with the significance of the Bible to history.

‘It was essential for shaping our language. In some countries, they had no scriptural language before the Bible came to their own language,’ said Arnhoff.

His recommendation to those who are interested in the book is to start with the known.

‘For example, you could start with practical advice in Proverbs, read about Abraham, David and Solomon, or perhaps the Sermon on the Mount, which is a wonderful speech’.

The most colourful and exciting parts of the Bible are, according to Arnhoff, John’s ‘Revelations’ and the ‘Book of Daniel’.

‘Other stories fade when it comes to image useage’ he said.

©  Nordisk bibelmuseum / Norway Today