The Bible and Digital Millennials explores the place of the Bible in the lives of 18 to 35 year-olds who have been born into the digital age. As the use of digital media becomes increasingly pervasive, it should follow that it will have a significant effect on people’s engagement with religion and the sacred texts associated with it. Drawing on contemporary in-depth surveys, this study unpacks digital millennials’ stance towards, use of and engagement with the Bible in both offline and online settings.
The book features results from a nationally representative survey of 2,000 young British people specifically commissioned for this project. The data is also compared with the findings of others, including a poll of 850 British Bible-centric Christians and recent Bible engagement surveys from the USA.
This book investigates the relevance of the Bible to the lives of those who have grown up in the digital age. It will, therefore, offer fresh insight to any scholar of biblical studies, religion and digital media, and religious studies.
Table of Contents
1 Digital millennials: their stance towards the Bible
2 Digital millennials: their Bible use
3 Digital millennials: the Bible and social media
4 Bible-centric digital millennials
5 A comparison with the USA
This book was co-authored by a team from the CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology, Durham University, UK: David G. Ford (Post-Doctoral Research Assistant), Joshua L. Mann (Research Fellow for Biblical Literacy) and Peter M. Phillips (Research Fellow in Digital Theology and Director of CODEC).
"What place has the Scriptures in the lives of young adults? The Bible and Digital Millennials analyses the findings of two surveys of millennials, Christian and otherwise, looking at their faith and interaction with the Scriptures. It is an academic book, that is, it is factual, discursive, and backed up by appropriate references. It shows that millennials are mostly indifferent towards the Bible rather than antagonistic, and some of their actions betray that neutrality. The analysis is helpfully broken down into three groups – Christian, Other Religions, and those with No Religion, and some (under half) in each group do engage with the Bible, mostly when at a church service, and most commonly when it is a printed version rather than in a digital format. There is a built-in tolerance towards religions in the UK, but Christianity isn’t a laissez-faire religion – its followers are bidden to be productive in taking the gospel into all the world. These survey summaries indicate no room for complacency either on the part of the commissioner of them (Bible Society), nor the agents through whom the Bible is so often transmitted (the church and its clergy), nor the congregational participants, especially if Millennials." – Dr Peter Brierley, Brierley Consultancy, UK
"For those seeking to understand the changing landscape of Christianity in the UK, the attitudes and behaviours of the generation known as millennials are of significant interest. In this study, CODEC draw on survey data of nearly 2000 ‘digital’ millennials to reveal how young adults think about and engage with the Bible in particular. Their clearly written analysis makes this data set accessible and useful, and covers a range of interesting topics including the Bible and social media, and comparison with the US context. This valuable and thought-provoking study will be of interest to sociologists and theologians, as well as missional organisations and church leaders." – Dr Rhiannon McAleer, Head of Research, Bible Society, UK
"I have found this research incredibly helpful. We know the Bible is not an optional extra for our faith and discipleship, and yet it has felt increasingly difficult to confidently engage young adults with Scripture. This research helps us navigate the changing landscape of how young adults are accessing the Bible through technology or being distracted by the digital revolution. I have found it revealing to see how unmoved millennials appear to be about the Bible, there seems to be a serious lack of passion and commitment to the importance and power of the Bible to orientate, navigate and transform lives. I hope the church can be challenged and equipped by this research to step up our discipleship around the word of God and bring back the joy and discipline of living lives shaped by Scripture." – Rev Miriam Swaffield, Global Student Mission Leader for Fusion Movement, UK
"Through this timely book, CODEC’s researchers have plugged a large gap in our knowledge of how contemporary Britons engage with the Bible. Data from a robust national survey of digitally-savvy millennials are clearly presented, in non-technical language and figures, and dispassionately analysed. These young adults exhibited a qualified indifference towards the Bible. Meaningful comparisons are drawn with an opportunity sample of predominantly evangelical UK churchgoers and with recent studies among the US population. The work will be essential (and challenging) reading for empirical theologians and church leaders seeking insights into the future reception of the Bible in a digital world." – Dr Clive D. Field, University of Birmingham, UK and British Religion in Numbers