Members of Gen Z may rarely read their Bibles, but a significant percentage nevertheless are curious about Scripture and the teachings of Jesus, according to a new report from the American Bible Society.
The society this week released the latest data from its 13th annual State of the Bible report, showing that 44 percent of Gen Z adults say they are “very” or “extremely” curious about the “Bible and/or Jesus.” Younger members (ages 18-21) of Gen Z adults are more likely (56 percent) than older members (ages 22-26 -- 34 percent) to say they are very or extremely curious.
Only 30 percent of Gen Z adults say they’ve read the Bible at least three times outside of a church service the past year. Nevertheless, many Gen Z adults affirm orthodox beliefs.
Half of Gen Z adults (50 percent) hold to the traditional Christian understanding of God as “the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today.” Among Millennials, 52 percent do.
Additionally, 45 percent of younger Gen Z adults (18-21) say the Bible is the Word of God and has no errors, compared to 30 percent of older Gen Z adults (22-26) who believe this.
“Gen Zers have been described as curious, digitally savvy, and advocates for change. We see all of this reflected in our research, but we also see a generation struggling to find their footing with faith,” said John Farquhar Plake, the chief ministry insights officer for the American Bible Society. “Scripture engagement rates for Gen Z have been on a steady decline over the past three years. Today, just one in ten Gen Z adults regularly engages with the Bible. However, this generation still shows significant interest in the Bible and the message of Jesus.
“Ministry leaders may be surprised to find how open Gen Z adults in their communities are to discussions about God’s Word,” Plake added. “And if the trends we’re seeing continue –it’s crucial to be having those conversations now.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.