A new report by the American Bible Society (ABS) examining the spiritual habits of members of Generation Z, shows that even though fewer members of this age group are reading the Bible, more than half of them say the Bible’s message changed their lives.
America’s youngest adults are members of Generation Z (1997–2012). Individuals born between 1997 and 2009 are now adults, meaning that just over half of all Gen Z Americans are 18 years old or older.
The 142-page State of the Bible USA 2023 reveals substantially more Gen Z adults who identify as Christians (58%), combining Catholic, Protestant, and “Other” Christian traditions. Agnostics, Atheists, and Nones are still in the minority. (34%)
Even though there is a decline among Bible reading among the group, more than half of 22–26 year-olds (52%) said “yes” to the statement, “The message of the Bible has transformed my life.” Among young Gen Z’ers (18 to 21), 49% answered “Yes” to the same statement.
This point is quite surprising since Gen Z has the lowest percentage of Bible users among the five generations that the study compared.
Gen Z has 30%, Millennials 33%, Gen X 39%, Boomers 46% and Elders 49%, when it comes to Bible and engagement, according to the study.
But there’s still hope, the ABS said. In its survey, the organization asked Non-Christians and Non-Practicing Christians if they’d accept an invitation from a Christian friend to: Watch a TV show about Jesus, Have dinner and discuss biblical things, Listen to a Christian podcast, or attend a Christian concert.
The responses from Gen Z Non-Christians were quite low, but among Non-Practicing Christians in Gen Z, they were quite high, according to the study.
- 41 percent likely to go to a concert
- 40 percent to stream a church service online
- 26 percent to watch a TV show or movie about Jesus
- 24 percent to listen to a Christian podcast
According to the ABS, the highest response among Gen Z Non-Christians (18%) was “Eat a meal in a group where biblical issues are discussed.”
“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,” American Bible Society’s Chief Ministry Insights Officer John Farquhar Plake, Ph.D., said in a statement.
“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. And if the trends we’re seeing continue—it’s crucial to be having those conversations now,” he added.
The ABS study was conducted in English and was presented both online and via telephone to NORC’s AmeriSpeak® Panel, using a 18-minute questionnaire. The study produced 2,761 responses from a representative sample of adults 18 and older within all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data were collected from January 5–30, 2023. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ±2.59 percent at 95 percent.
The last four more chapters of the report (September, October, November, and December) will be released each month by the ABS. The subjects include, The Bible and Behavior, Technology and the Bible, Giving It All, and Year in Review.