Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
Publishing companies that sell Bibles have reported an increase in purchases in recent weeks, likely connected to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Tyndale House Publishers, a Christian publisher based in Carol Stream, Illinois, saw a considerable increase in their Bible sales last month compared to March 2019.
This includes their Life Application Study Bible sales going up 44 per cent and sales of the Immerse Bible going up 60 per cent, according to Jim Jewell, an executive at Tyndale.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, Jewell said he believes concerns over the pandemic “has upended almost everyone’s lives in some way.”
“It’s not surprising that people turn to the comfort and clarity of the Bible in times of trouble and uncertainty,” he said, adding that social media engagement for Tyndale was also growing.
“On [our Facebook page for the]New Living Translation, where we post Bible verse memes, engagement was triple what it was last March and up 72 per cent from just last month.”
Jewell told CP that this was not the first time a national crisis has led to higher Bible sales. He said in the month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “Tyndale Bible sales were 57 per cent higher than October of 2000.”
Alabaster Co. of California, which was founded in 2017 and sells books of the Bible individually that have visually artistic features, reported a 143 per cent boost in sales compared to last year.
Brian Chung, co-founder of Alabaster, told Fox News that he believed the sales jump occurred because “people are looking for hope and restoration.”
“Even amidst suffering and financial hardship we’ve continued to see people engage with Alabaster by utilizing our free resources and purchasing Bibles as encouraging gifts for loved ones,” Chung said.
“We believe people are buying Bibles because there’s a longing to connect with God, find meaning, and experience peace.”
The increases in Bible sales reported by multiple publishing companies is not the only evidence indicating growing efforts among the population to find spiritual answers amid the pandemic.
According to Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, internet searches for the word “prayer” have dramatically increased since last month.
In a preliminary draft of a paper titled “In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Bentzen found that “search intensity for prayer doubles for every 80,000 new registered cases of COVID-19.”
“In times of crisis, humans have a tendency to turn to religion for stress relief and explanation. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” wrote Bentzen.
“I document that Google searches on prayer has skyrocketed during the month of March 2020 when the COVID-19 went global.”
Bentzen added that the searches “surged to the highest level during the past five years for which comparative Google search data is available, surpassing all other major events that otherwise instigate intensified demand for prayer, such as Christmas, Easter, and Ramadan.”
“Even Denmark, one of the least religious countries in the world, sees systematic increases in internet searches on prayer,” she noted.