There’s been no shortage of concern over the lack of spirituality among America’s young people. It’s a reality on full display in the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible 2023,” though researchers believe the most recent data wave shows a glimmer of hope and a window of opportunity.
Listen to the latest episode of CBN’s Quick Start podcast 👇
The newly released fifth chapter of the “State of the Bible 2023” report reveals a steady decline among young people engaging with Scripture. Yet, there’s one statistic worth noting: 44% of Gen Z adults between the ages of 18-26 are either very or extremely curious about Jesus and/or the Bible.
Interestingly, there’s notable variation even among the subcohorts within the generation.
“The majority (56%) of younger Gen Z adults (ages 18–21) reported being curious about Jesus and/or the Bible, whereas only 34% of older Gen Z adults (ages 22–26) said so,” a press release noted. “These percentages are down from 2022 when around 77% of all Gen Z adults showed curiosity in Scripture.”
Despite overarching negative trends, the American Bible Society is calling the data point evidence of a “window to reach Gen Z.”
There are other data points worth noting, including nearly half of Gen Z saying the Bible has transformed their lives. Among older Gen Z adults aged 18-21, 49% report this transformation, with 52% of those aged 22-26 stating the same.
“Gen Zers have been described as curious, digitally savvy, and advocates for change,” Dr. John Farquhar Plake, chief ministry insights officer of the American Bible Society, said in a statement. “We see all of this reflected in our research, but we also see a generation struggling to find their footing with faith.”
While Farquhar said Bible engagement rates for Gen Z have been trending down for the past three years, he echoed his organization’s belief there is still important intrigue observed in Christ and biblical truth.
“This generation still shows significant interest in the Bible and the message of Jesus,” he said. “Ministry leaders may be surprised to find how open Gen Z adults in their communities are to discussions about God’s Word. And if the trends we’re seeing continue — it’s crucial to be having those conversations now.”
Farquhar’s point is important, considering the research found many non-practicing Christian and non-Christian Gen Zers are open to discussions about Jesus and the Bible. With the trendlines going down — but interest still strong among many — the pressing nature of evangelism is evident.
The data comes as newfound outreach efforts take form. Among them is Gate Zero, a new, interactive video game aimed at helping young people engage in Scripture.
“We really want to dive into creating a video game for the younger generation to be able to experience Jesus and to be able to get familiar with the stories and the events from the Bible,” Arve Solli, one of the creators, recently told CBN’s Faithwire.
You can read more of the results in the “State of the Bible 2023.”
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***