New American Bible Society Study: Gen Z Exhibits Significant Openness to Scripture
Gen Z Exhibits Significant Openness to Scripture
PHILADELPHIA, PA—American Bible Society today released the fifth chapter of their 11th annual State of the Bible report, which highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement. Today’s release shows that Gen Z youth are still deciding what to do with the Bible and exhibit openness to Scripture, giving the church an opportunity to engage meaningfully and intentionally with young people. The first five chapters are currently available to download at StateoftheBible.org.
“The next generation of American adults–Generation Z–is currently in a time of profound growth and change. This emerging adult stage is marked by spiritual, physical, social, and psychological transformations that will set the stage for the rest of their lives,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society. “Many in Gen Z, though, are coming of age without the wisdom and comfort that others have found in the Bible. More than other generations, Gen Z is uncertain about the value and uniqueness of the Bible for their daily lives. Now is the time for the Church to engage with the honest questions posed by America’s emerging adults. The Bible offers wisdom for every generation. Instead of letting Gen Z turn to secular influencers or the culture in search of answers to their doubts and curiosity, it is our job to communicate this hope and truth clearly.”
The findings come from a survey conducted by American Bible Society in January 2021, in which data from 91 Gen Z youth were compared to a larger sample of 3,354 adults from every generation. For this year’s report, American Bible Society will release nine chapters throughout the year. The fifth chapter, Generation Z, examines how the Bible and an active faith life contribute to human flourishing.
- Gen Z has a shaky relationship with the Bible. One-third of Gen Z youth (34%) are Bible Users, while 43% of Gen Z adults qualify. Comparatively, Millennials have a much higher percentage of Bible Users, approaching the national average of 49% (page 107).
- Gen Z youth are more often Bible Disengaged (47%) or in the Movable Middle (44%) and are less likely than either Gen Z adults or Millennials to be Scripture Engaged. Only 9% of Gen Z youth qualify as Scripture Engaged, compared with 14% of Gen Z adults and 23% of Millennials (page 108).
- The turmoil of 2020 did not spark greater Bible use among teenagers. Gen Z youth (27%) are more likely than Gen Z adults (19%) or Millennials (9%) to say they decreased their Bible use in the past year. Millennials are more likely to say their Bible use has increased in the past year (29%) compared with Gen Z adults (27%) and Gen Z youth (21%) (page 110).
- However, Gen Z show significant openness to the Bible. Eighty-one percent of Gen Z youth and 74 percent of Gen Z adults say they’re curious about Scripture. Two-thirds of Gen Z youth (64%) also reported they wish they read the Bible more (page 115).
- While Gen Z’s view of Scripture is placed in the context of a meandering and still-emerging faith journey, both Gen Z and Millennials are equally likely to be non-Christians (page 116). Over half of Gen Z youth (53%) indicate they have not yet made a commitment to Jesus Christ that is important. However, the percentage of those who are committed rises with age indicating there are future opportunities for teens to make meaningful faith decisions (page 117).
Between September and December 2021, American Bible Society will release four new chapters from the State of the Bible research study, including reports on the views and use of Scripture among church traditions and denominations, and the relationship between the Bible, money, and generosity.
To download the first five chapters of the State of the Bible 2021 ebook, visit StateoftheBible.org.
*For descriptions on how Scripture engagement was measured and reported, please see page 30 of the ebook available for download at StateoftheBible.org.
About American Bible Society
Since 1816, American Bible Society has been making the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation’s first and most enduring ministries, American Bible Society today advocates for all people to apply the Bible’s teachings to their lives in a way that transforms their relationship with God and others. For free Bible resources or to join the Bible cause, visit AmericanBible.org.
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