For months now, I’ve been thinking about biblical literacy amongst students.
We all know the data that speaks to a decline in a Christian worldview and orthodox views of scripture.
People seem to be valuing the scriptures less and less, even as believers.
If we can’t get Christians to read the Bible, how do we get non-Christians to read it? Particularly Gen Z!
I remember when I first became a Christian, everyone told me to read the Gospel of John. That was a great place to start because I needed to grasp who Jesus was and what He came to do.
But how can I get someone who is not a Christian to start reading the Bible? I think we can find the answer in looking to the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
Why the Proverbs?
Gen Z has all the knowledge in the world, but what they lack is wisdom. And that’s where proverbs come in.
Proverbs are short, practical, and to the point. They offer wisdom on everything from dealing with money to how to treat others.
But beyond that, proverbs also offer a glimpse into the character of God. They show us that He is a God who cares about every aspect of our lives and wants to lead us into the best way of living while we are here.
Proverbs is more relevant to Gen Z than we think.
Because proverbs is an OT book, I think it can be overlooked as a resource for students. The OT is pretty complicated, but proverbs is not.
Recently, we were running one of our RLTK clubs at a local high school campus. We were having a conversation about friendships and how to develop trustworthy relationships.
We ended the talk by pulling a couple of proverbs out and calling them “wisdom sayings.”
The students responded with excitement about how deeply the proverbs spoke to their lives. At the time, I did not disclose where they came from but, knowing this group well, they would not have been opposed to me saying they came from the scriptures as we talk about the Bible often. Still, they responded to that wisdom very well.
This is just one example of how the book of Proverbs can be an excellent place to go for gen Z. It’s relatable, it’s practical, and it shows us the character of God.
Gen Z is practical, and so is proverbs.
Gen Z is fiscally frugal, they research online before making decisions (good or bad), and they want to work jobs and build things that matter to them. These things are practical, and so is the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs is packed with helpful insights about everything from work to relationships to money. And because they’re short and to the point, they’re easy for busy GenZers to digest and apply.
Where do we go from proverbs?
Imagine if we got students who were not believers to read proverbs with us or on their own? The practical wisdom they discover would give us the opportunity to ask this question (if they are not already asking themselves).
“If the proverbs have this much to offer me, what else could I find in other parts of the Bible?”
Gen Z is very individualistic and views the world in context of the self and what they can get out of it. Perhaps we can show them what they can get out of proverbs and point them towards the grander story of the Gospel they can live by.
Now, I position it this way because most students in this generation are growing up with no concept of a Christian worldview.
They are given an array of options to choose from and told they can believe whatever they want.
In light of this, the book of proverbs becomes an even more powerful tool. It provides a way for young people to see that Christianity is not just another religion; it’s a worldview that offers unique practical wisdom that they can apply to their lives that is tied to a larger, grander story.
God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, and the standing invitation is for them to be a part of that redemptive story.
Jordan is a part of the team at Reframe in Phoenix, Arizona.