Americans have been in a downward trend when it comes to opening their Bibles: In January 2020, neglect of the Word was at the highest level ever measured by the American Bible Society and its survey.
Then came the pandemic.
“One year into the pandemic, we found that a record number of people are now saying they opened the Bible last year,” Dr. John Plake, an ABS spokesman, tells American Family News.
The ministry’s survey shows 181 million people are opening the Bible, a 7% percent jump over 2020.
Over the current year, ABS plans to release its survey findings --- it calls them “chapters” --- that dig deeper into the ministry’s survey that questioned 91 “Gen Z” youth and another 3,354 adults who represented every generation. The newest generation is routinely written off by the older generation of adults, and that is no exception for so-called Millennials now in their 20s, but Plake says there is “deep scripture engagement” as those Millennials grow up.
In the survey, 49% of Millennials consider themselves Bible readers, which is the national average, and 23% of them said they are “scripturally engaged,” meaning they dig into Scripture to study it and learn.
What is happening in American society, Plake summarizes, is that Millennials are running into more of life's difficulties as they age, a fact of life that he says applies to all ages.
“God shows up in the midst of struggles,” he says. “And struggles come whether it's 9/11, or it's the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe it's something closer to home.”
Plake recalls the views of C.S. Lewis, the famed professor-author and atheist-turned-believer, who once said God is shouting at us when we are in pain.
The message of the Bible, Plake says, is there is hope in the midst of that pain.