According to a report in The Washington Times, most Americans believe the Bible is more factual than newspapers but find their daily newspapers far easier to read. This suggests Americans are more willing to enter the complex Bible world if they find it packaged palatably and easy to grasp, scholars and publishers say.

More than eight in ten U.S. adults in a survey said that "the Bible's ancient stories speak to today -- and can solve "most or all of life's problems." The independent market survey of 1,000 representative U.S. adults was commissioned by Zondervan, the world's largest publisher of Bibles. Most adults trust that the Bible got "its facts straight" more than newspapers or even history books. But two-thirds find a supermarket tabloid easier reading.
The survey also found:
- The hardest part of the Bible "to read and understand" is the creation account in Genesis.
- Adults most often say the Bible's great value is in teaching children right and wrong, with David and Goliath the most memorable story and the Good Samaritan the best for moral instruction.
- Eighty percent agree that Bible language can be "confusing," and welcome modern translation.
- Belief that the Bible is "literally true" has dropped from 65 percent of U.S. adults to 33 percent over 40 years, Gallup polls report. But belief in its divine "inspiration and authority" stays more than 80 percent.

A third of respondents to the Zondervan poll say they "feel comfortable and safe" when a Bible is around, and 20 percent see someone holding a Bible as a "good person."

(Larry Witham, The Washington Times, 12/11/00, Copyright (c) 2000 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.)