New Study Shows Engaging with the Bible Provides Hope Amid Decrease in Mental and Physical Health

American Bible Society’s 2024 State of the Bible report highlights the impact of forgiveness and frequent Bible engagement on improving the overall quality of human life.

American Bible Society today released the third chapter of their 14th annual State of the Bible report, which shares how engagement with Scripture positively influences human flourishing in a variety of domains, including mental and physical health and hope and stress levels. The third chapter of State of the Bible 2024 is now available to download at

“For the last few years, we’ve reported some rather troubling statistics about Generation Z. As a group, these 18–27-year-olds are less connected with the church and the Bible than older generations. They also experience more stress and less hope,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD, American Bible Society’s Chief Innovation Officer and editor-in-chief of the State of the Bible series. “But what about those in Gen Z who do engage with Scripture? Not only do they score higher on the Human Flourishing scale than other young adults who don’t read the Bible—but they have the highest score of any generation. There’s more research to be done here, but this suggests that the unique challenges keeping young adults from flourishing are countered by a regular connection with God in Scripture.”

The State of the Bible findings come from a nationally representative survey performed for American Bible Society by NORC at the University of Chicago, using their AmeriSpeak panel. The data came from 2,506 online interviews with American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Key findings analyzed in Chapter 3: Human Flourishing

  • Though Americans show a slight decrease in their overall Human Flourishing score in 2024, data shows that most areas of Human Flourishing have returned to pre-pandemic levels or slightly higher. However, in each of the last two years, mental and physical health levels have continued to decrease, flagging an area of concern for Americans. Interestingly, the data also indicates that Americans’ confidence in their Financial and Material Stability has risen again after a drop in 2023 (pages 47-49).
  • As may be expected, adults in Generation Z report the highest stress levels of any age group. Gen Z also reports the lowest levels of hope and scores the lowest on the Human Flourishing scale, with especially low scores in the “meaning and purpose” category. When young adults are Scripture Engaged, however, they flourish just as much as adults in older generations, demonstrating that frequent interaction with Scripture is a key component in overall wellbeing (pages 58-61).
  • Individuals who strongly agree that they can forgive another person, with or without apology, score higher on the Human Flourishing scale than those who strongly disagree. These individuals also score significantly higher when it comes to hopefulness, indicating that the ability to forgive is a key element in charting a positive path forward (pages 54-55).

Between July and December 2024, American Bible Society will release six new chapters in the State of the Bible story, including research on neighboring, coping with loneliness, and philanthropy.

To download the third chapter of State of the Bible 2024, visit

*For descriptions on how Scripture engagement was measured and reported, please see page 73 of the eBook available for download at

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