Study Links Trauma Resilience to Reliance on Scripture
As school shootings bring heartbreak to one community after another, a new national study affirms that turning to the Bible during traumatic events can bring comfort and hope, sustaining families through the crisis and beyond.
A nationally-representative study, commissioned by the American Bible Society and conducted in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, found that people who have suffered trauma are better able to cope when actively engaged with Scripture.
“When trauma sufferers are Scripture Engaged, they flourish more than trauma-free people who are not Scripture Engaged,” the researchers concluded. “But for all the damage done by trauma, there is restoration and healing to be found as people interact regularly with God by reading his Word and living it out. That’s what these numbers show us. There is life beyond the trauma.”
Such an impact was apparent when the son of Brenda Curtis’ Bible student was murdered in August of 2021. “My student was in a state of loss,” said Curtis, a volunteer minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Baltimore, MD.
“I personally saw the comfort that the Bible brought to her,” said Curtis. “She went from feeling lost during that traumatic time, to feeling that she wouldn’t have survived this if it weren’t for God and the Bible in her life.”
The NORC study used a 10-point Human Flourishing scale to assess the effect of actively reading the Bible. The study found that those who had experienced trauma and who regularly turned to the Bible for comfort had an average score of 7.7 points compared to a score of 6.3 points among those for whom the Bible had little influence. The report concluded that “engagement with God’s Word leads to a better life — fruitful, prosperous, flourishing.”
Curtis supported these findings. “When I spoke to her, she felt that God came into her life at the right time. The Bible scriptures that were shared with her soothed and calmed her and they still bring her relief as she continues to deal with the aftermath of that trauma,” Curtis said.
Brenda Curtis spent the majority of her days providing comfort to her Bible student. “My family and fellow congregants all tried to comfort her in many ways; from text messages to phone calls and personal visits, anything practical to help out,” she said. “As I get older, I am limited in what I can do, but to see how she is relying on God and in the promises that the Bible contains, reinvigorates my own faith.”
To download a free copy of the Bible and examine its statements about why God allows such tragedies, visit jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses.