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PEORIA -- A recent survey ranked Phoenix near the bottom when it comes to reading the Bible in America.

A survey by the Barna Group researchers said only 17 percent of people in Phoenix read Scripture.

Rob and Lisa Lazure of Connect the Dots Ministries hold a weekly Bible study every Wednesday morning at a movie theater in Peoria. A recent gathering drew about 100 people.

Lisa said that most Arizonans choose other things over reading the Bible.

"Instead of going to church, and hearing ‘Hey! Reading your Bible's probably a good thing,'" said Lisa, "they would rather go boating or fishing, or go to Flagstaff or somewhere where it's cooler and they can get out of the heat."

Rob couldn't agree more. He belives that the city's numerous distractions are a major cause for the lack of people reading the Bible.

People in other parts of the world say "other things" are interfering with Americans reading the Bible. Lisa said she recently talked with a woman from Belize, who told her Americans are distracted.

"People in other countries that don't have anything have the time to just just sit and listen to ‘OK, God: How do I know you? What do I do? They just spend more time reading (their bible)," Lisa said.

Another factor is that many people only live in Phoenix part of the year and don't get involved in a church where they would be encouraged to read God's word.

Rob and Lisa acknowledged that someone can read the Bible without going to church, but they said that many people are more likely to be motivated to read it if they did attend church.

Lisa also thinks that, even though they say they're religious, many people just don't want to read the Bible.

"There's a big difference between religion and a true relationship with God," she said. "Those that have a true relationship want to read their Bibles because they want to know God. There's a big difference."

Bob McClay, Reporter

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