A new study suggests that men read more than women when using digital Bibles, but absorb less information.
The Journal of Religion, Media, and Digital Culture published a study on how digital media affect Americans’ engagement with Scripture. Data showed that men are more likely than women to finish reading Bible passages using an app. But, when it comes to comprehension, women tend to remember more than men, reports Christianity Today.
Bible reading today is more of a multimedia experience, with readers using a combination of print, screen, and audio depending on what form of Bible engagement they are doing. —John Dyer, Christian researcher
John Dyer, who conducted the study for his PhD research on the Bible software industry, said the findings of the study support existing social patterns wherein men tend to prefer reading digitally than women, and female readers are better with comprehension.
The results also found that for American Christians, there is no format of Scripture that is better than the other. Believers use both print and digital formats of the Bible depending on the kind of engagement they want to have. For Christians at work or at school, 42.7% of them said they use their smartphones and 20.7% use their computer to read the Bible. In church, many Christians prefer the printed Bible to peruse passages. When reading the Bible to children, 42.7% of respondents answered they use the print format.
Many people are using their smartphones on a daily basis, from school activities, work tasks to house chores. Technology has even altered the way Christians read the Bible.
A study found that the average time Americans use their mobile phones increased in 2019. According to eMarketer, “The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes on mobile devices in 2019.”
For Dyer’s research, he asked participants from two non-denominational megachurches and one Southern Baptist church in the Dallas area. Participants created YouVersion accounts and set up daily reading reminders. At the end of the plan, participants answered a questionnaire about their comprehension and Bible reading habits.
One woman participant wrote at the end of the study, “When reading on the phone I feel like I was less engaged than when reading a paper Bible. It felt a little more like skimming an email to get it done rather than really studying God’s word. I do like the electronic reminder.”
“Print and digital Bibles are usually framed in opposition to one another… but the data suggests the relationship is much more complex, said Dyer. “Bible reading today is more of a multimedia experience, with readers using a combination of print, screen, and audio depending on what form of Bible engagement they are doing.”