According to a new report by the American Bible Society (ABS), the Gen Z population in the U.S. shows significant openness to Scripture.
In the fifth chapter of the State of the Bible – USA 2021 report, ABS found that 81% of Gen Z youth and 74% of Gen Z adults said they are curious about Scripture. ABS said the church can use these findings to provide resources that are especially catered to young Americans.
In the study, researchers divided individuals in the generation into two age groups: “Gen Z youth” aged 15-17, and “Gen Z adults” aged 18 to 24.
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. —John Farquhar Plake, PhD and Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society
“The next generation of American adults–Generation Z–is currently in a time of profound growth and change,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD and Director of Ministry Intelligence for American Bible Society. “This emerging adult stage is marked by spiritual, physical, social, and psychological transformations that will set the stage for the rest of their lives.”
The survey also found that one-third of Gen Z youth (34%) are Bible users while 43% of Gen Z adults qualify. Comparing with the Gen Z numbers, Millenials have a higher percentage of Bible users at 49%.
In terms of Bible engagement, only 9% of Gen Z youth are Scripture engaged, 14% for Gen Z adults. The report noted that even the Covid-19 pandemic and large protests over racial injustice in 2020 did not spark an interest for Bible reading. Twenty-seven percent of Gen Z youth are more likely than Gen Z adults (19%) or Millennials (9%) to say they decreased their Bible use in the past year.
“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,” said Plake.
ABS said Gen Z and Millenials are still starting to explore faith, as respondents on both generations claimed that they are non-Christians. More than half of Gen Z youth (53%) said they have not yet made a commitment to Jesus Christ, but experts pointed out that the number of Americans who commit increase with age. This is good news for the church to look for opportunities to engage with young people as they start with their spiritual journey.
A Barna report released in 2018 found that Gen Z teenagers are the most non-Christian generation in Americal history. The study showed that 35% of Gen Z teenagers considered themselves to be atheist, agnostic or not affiliated with any religion. Comparatively, only 30% of Millenials, 30% of Generation X and 26% of Baby Boomers claimed the same.
Plake advised that, “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.”