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Fighting Biblical Illiteracy Among Generation Z: Can Visiting Israel Encourage a Bible-Centered World View?

Passages, Journey to Israel
Passages, Journey to Israel

Recent surveys have shown some alarming results when it comes to Bible literacy among young people.

“What we're seeing is more and more young people, young Christians, particularly have less and less of a biblical worldview, and have less and less biblical knowledge, particularly Gen Z,” said Scott Phillips, CEO of Passages, an organization dedicated to bringing Christian students on trips to the Holy Land.  

(Gen Z refers to those born between 1997-2012, who are currently10-25 years old.)

“You see a recent survey out, I believe it's by Barna, that says, only 4% of Gen Z have a biblical worldview and that's down from 6% from a previous generation, 8% from a previous generation before that,” Phillips told CBN News.

Phillips said he believes that the younger generation is just not familiar with the Bible and that can create theological issues and create “a distorted view of the Bible and God’s story.”

An example of that is found in another survey by the American Bible Society. It showed that nearly 40% of Gen Z believe that “When He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was human and committed sins, like other people.” 

“My theory on why people may think Jesus sinned is because they have a lack of Bible knowledge. They have a lack of the story of the Bible. They have a lack of the understanding of why Jesus would even come, that He had to be sinless in order to be the sacrifice for our sins, which Christianity is built on,” Phillips said.

Phillips said there’s a lot of promise and potential in this “wonderful generation” but they want authenticity and they want something tangible.

“Of course, sometimes faith can't be tangible. But we do have a place called Israel. We have a place called the Holy Land, and we know that these are the places where many stories in the Bible took place,” he said. “God's ultimate redemptive story unfolded mostly in the land of Israel.”

Phillips said coming to Israel can make all the difference for students. 

“I just read a testimony yesterday from a student that came to Israel this summer. They said that their faith was struggling that they didn't know if it was real. They couldn't put it together that it was reality, but when they were able to come and actually see these places to see where Jesus walked, to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and have that moment where they're reading in the scriptures, where Jesus had his last hours on earth. And then they're looking up at these olive trees and they're looking up at the Old City of Jerusalem and that's an incredible moment for them. That aha moment,” he related.

Passages has brought more than 8,000 university students to Israel since 2015 on highly subsidized trips. They even brought 500 students on trips during the periodic opening of Israel during COVID. They up to bring 1,500 this year and 2,500 next year.

For more of the interview with Scott Phillips click above.

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Why does Judaism matter and how is it connected to Christianity? Learn more here.

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