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8 Reasons Teenagers Don’t Read the Bible (& What to Say to Them)

Teenagers have mastered the art of the excuse—they can give you creative reasons why their homework isn’t done and their chores didn’t get done and why it’s okay to hate their Algebra teacher. And, it turns out, they have lots of plausible-sounding reasons why they don’t read the Bible. Here are my favorites, and my (suggested) responses…

Teenager:  I don’t have time!

Me: Do you poop? Remember, God created you with built in, uninterrupted time for Bible-reading!


Teenager:  I don’t understand it.

Me:  You didn’t understand words like “respect” and “kindness” when you first heard them either, but you kept watching Sesame Street. Am I right?


Teenager:  It’s an old book from another time.

Me:  Did you read (insert classic novel from school here)? It’s old and from another time, right? And it probably didn’t have the power to change your life… maybe.

Teenager: I don’t like reading.

Me: Well I don’t like teenagers, but I’m still here. (No, I don’t really say that!) You can easily access an audio version of the Bible, friend. Listen as you go to bed—just skip past the crazy chapters that could give you nightmares.


Teenager:  I don’t know where to start.

Me: Is that how you felt when you started (insert cool thing they do here)? It didn’t stop you from taking a stab at it—and now you love it! The Gospel of John or Romans are always good starting points.


Teenager:  I always fall asleep when I read my Bible.

Me:  Well I hope Jesus doesn’t fall asleep when you’re trying to get through the Pearly Gates. (Yes—that’s one I really do say!)


Teenager:  I already know all that stuff—I’ve been in church my whole life.

Me: Sweet!! What’s on page 967? (And then I remind them the Scripture is living and active and sharp, and no matter how much they’ve read it, Jesus has something new for them.)


Teenager: I don’t have a Bible.

Me: Here, take this one—I keep a stash! Also, you can download the YouVersion app or snag a Jesus-Centered Bible, and about a trillion others!

We all have a million excuses about why we don’t do the things we know make us better. Pushing teenagers beyond their excuses, with serious or funny responses, guides their hearts toward a habit that will change their life forever. Once you get them hooked, Jesus gets up in their business—that’s when the awesome happens!


7 thoughts on “8 Reasons Teenagers Don’t Read the Bible (& What to Say to Them)

  1. Do you find these sarcastic answers gets you the desired result?

    • Matt Mangano

      You gotta know your audience. Im sure with some, this might get them thinking and probably encourage them to try reading again. With others, it’ll likely turn them off even more to the subject as they may even feel slightly insulted. That’s why knowing who your speaking to, and how they will most likely receive it is huge.

    • Hi Gary – thanks for reading! Obviously, these comments are within the context of relationship – I would never use sarcasm or quick-wit with a new student or someone who didn’t know me. In my experience, with kids who do know me and who have been in relationship with our ministry, these kinds of comments spur them on to think beyond our initial interaction, but without shaming them for ‘not doing it right’ – if that makes sense. They’ve been good in-roads for deeper conversation down the line, too. Thanks for engaging with the topic – however you choose to do it with the students you influence!

  2. Wow.simple, short and straight to the point. Thank you for this ?

  3. I love these!!! I am sarcastic anyway so these responses are perfect!

  4. Audrie Hastings

    Thank you so much. Great eye opener and I love your suggested responses. They do awaken the mind.
    God Bless

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8 Reasons Teenagers Don’t Read ...

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