Almost three in ten children don’t know that the birth of Jesus features in the Bible, according to a new survey of children and parents.
The figures come from the Bible Society as part of its campaign to encourage parents to pass on Bible stories to their children.
Over 40 per cent of children questioned said they had never heard or read about the crucifixion.
And more than half had never come across the stories of Moses and the Red Sea, or David and Goliath.
The Bible Society commented: “While these statistics may appear surprising at first glance, they are symptomatic of the fact that many children indicate they have never read, seen or even heard these stories.”
Of the parents questioned, some 46 per cent did not recognise that the account of Noah’s ark comes from the Bible, while 54 per cent believed a description from Holywood film series The Hunger Games was from the Bible.
Over 800 children aged eight to 15 and 1,000 parents were quizzed for the Bible Society in January this year.
According to the survey 61 per cent of children were unaware of Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan.
Some children – six per cent of those asked – thought the story of Hercules appears in the Bible.
Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres backed the Society’s initiative, saying: “Sharing these stories – and helping parents respond to the questions children may have – is as vital now as it has ever been.”
“Too few children have the opportunity to hear and reflect on what this life-changing book contains.
“Even those that do when they are young, often take its awesome stories for granted when they become adults. There is work to be done”, he said.
James Catford, Group Chief Executive of the Bible Society, commented: “The Bible’s contribution to our culture – language, literature, the visual arts and music – is immense. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.
“The Bible enriches life, and every child should have the opportunity to experience it.”