LifeWay’s blasphemous new Gen Z “bible devo”

UPDATE: LifeWay pulls book after outcry (see statement)

There’s a rad new Bible devotional in the hood, a whole new reimagining of God’s Word, and it goes a little something like this:

Sunday Cool, a T-shirt screen printing company founded in 2016, has partnered with LifeWay to write a “devo” (which is GenZ language for devotional, because saying three whole syllables is exhausting). Or as they put it in the video below, a devo is “a fancy book about Jesus and stuff.”


Sunday Cool’s YouTube video channel is incredibly popular, and includes one of their most-watched creations with more than 2 million views:

The problem is, young people are not learning God’s Word. They’re not memorizing it and they’re not meditating on it. And shame on churches allowing their youth ministries to dumb down the Good News.

Putting the Scriptures in street language gets us no closer to the goal of discipling the next generation. Reinventing our Holy and magnificent King of Kings and creator of the universe to sound gangsta is just more of the same goat herding we’ve always seen from hired hands; using worldly tricks to attract carnal people is about as far from biblical Christianity as one can get.

The Word According to Gen Z: A 30-Day Devo Challenge retails for $6.99.

LifeWay (Publisher of some of the most heretical books and authors in modern history) of course, claims to want to reach Generation Z. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, “Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture,” LifeWay’s editors say in their summary of Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World.

Generation Z’s oldest “kids” are 25. They were adults seven years ago. Yet they are regarded by LifeWay and Sunday Cool as imbeciles still living in their parents’ basements, failing to launch as productive members of society or seasoned veterans of God’s Word.

They never will be as long as they think “Big J is Chillin.”

Update: within an hour after posting this, article, I was informed LifeWay would pull this book:


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56 thoughts on “LifeWay’s blasphemous new Gen Z “bible devo”

  1. Yes, isn’t it amazing! And all it took was people speaking up. But what were they thinking in the first place?

    1. No it’s not amazing. But hey, we can just give them My Utmost for His Highest right? That will really help 14 year olds connect ! -____- Phariseesthink you’re protecting the Lord’s honor and holiness or something by keeping ministry status quo and dry.

      1. Thinking that we need to get “relevant” and “fun” in order to lead kids to Christ is an insult to our Lord and His sacred Word. Jesus never taught that we need to get clever to lead kids to Him. What kids need is to see is the love and fear of God lived out by their parents and other influences in there lives. If kids are taught to love God at a heart level they will remain faithful. We don’t do this by manipulating His sacred Word in to an inaccurate lingo that is funny. All this will do is teach kids to have a low view of God and His word. Certainly not to develop an above all fear of Him..

        1. Your beliefs are the real insult. i watched my family fight over Jesus. The fellow thats supposed to unite all chrstians does nothing but spread hatred. this is why kids these days arent chrstian. they see what it does to people. also being called a sheep is an insult.

  2. Ugh this article is trash.
    our students who have struggled with sticking with their daily times (“devo/”quiet time’/ etc.) with God were actually looking forward to following this 30 day challenge. But b/c you hopelessly out of touch boomers can’t see this as a funny tool to help connect our obviously young immature unchurched teenagers to God’s Word, Lifeway has given in to Cancel Culture.
    I love you but you’re legalism is pathetic. It was going to be a great month of Devos but YOU RUINED IT. stay out of youth ministry if you haven’t been called to it. “KARENS COMPLAIN TO THE MANAGER AND WIN” is an apt headline for this wasted opportunity.

    1. You dont have to be 27 to have reverence for the Word, friend. Lets not try to entertain people into heaven… Preach Christ and Christ Crucified.

      1. Christianity is far from entertaining. that is child abuse and if your kids end up going to jail its your own fault for being the ignoramous that thinks there is nothing wrong in teaching a child that someone else is accountable for their actions. In short, you are an uneducated troglodyte as are all chrsitians and i hope some day your offensive cult dies off for the sake of humanity.

        1. Where does it say in the Bible that someone else is accountable for your actions?!? You show your ignorance of the Bible by simply speaking! People are held accountable for their actions by God. That is what the Bible says. And please explain to me how Jesus is spreading anything?? Its funny that you said all Christians are ignorant…Only 50% of the population pay taxes, and of those 50%, over 75% of them are Christian! So you must be one of the “brilliant” statistics who does not contribute to society at all. And why are you even on a Christian based post if you disagree with it?? Also, your family fights over worldly things, not Godly things, that I can guarantee you. It’s so wrong to tell people to love one another, right?!?? Thats awful right?!?? Be kind to your neighbor, pay your taxes and work hard…But im sure you dont work, because you are so much smarter than everyone else! And just so you know, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking both admitted that there had to be a God on their death beds. But Im sure your IQ is higher than both of them combined… I feel sorry for you honestly, because the hatred in your heart will lead to your destruction, either in this life or the next. You need to search your soul and figure out who it is that is feeding you energy, because it is a dark energy! We had a saying in the military; there are no atheists in fox holes. And oh it is oh so true! Once your life starts to slip from your grasp, you will beg God to forgive you for every vile thing you have done, including what you posted. Get right with your maker before it is too late!

    2. This “devo” is not an accurate translation of the Bible so it is trash. Mutilating God’s word is specifically addressed in the Bible. We should be teaching and training our children how to correctly study God’s word, not dumb it down. What an insult to the intelligence of our youth that they aren’t smart enough to understand accurate scripture. My kids are reading the entire Bible with us chapter by chapter. The two youngest are 9 and 10 and with the exception of a few OT books it’s very doable.

    3. You clearly do not hold God in a high and lofty manner. God is not your ‘buddy’ or ‘chum’ he is your KING and he deserves and demands the reverence and loftiness of a king. Anything that speaks about God in a lower manner is nothing short of blasphemy.

      It has nothing to do with ‘cancel culture’ or ‘boomers’. Christ himself would have rebuked child like behavior like this as it is the epitome of injecting yourself into worldliness and not setting yourself apart as holy and christlike.

      God has never used catchy lingo or ‘coolness’ to win over his people. He calls to them and changes their heart with TRUTH. If your youth cannot find interest in Gods holy word it is not a failure of God’s word, it is a failure of the ones teaching it.

  3. At least they are still selling The Message Bible! (big sigh of relief)

    ….also this is sarcasm.

    That was an absurd decision by lifeway, but in the cancel culture we live in that’s just what happens.

    …I guess I need to go get my boycott lifeway sign out and start up a hashtag. I’m going to go eat some chick-fil-a before I do something drastic like write a facebook post.

    1. Evangelical Christians are the founders of cancel culture. How many products have been pulled because of evangelical cancel culture? How many, shows and movies were boycotted or banned by the “moral majority” to get them off the air? Worse, how many lives have been ruined because the person didn’t live up to evangelical standards of holiness? I well remember the fight against Disney in the 1990s. But I guess when evangelicals want to cancel, it’s God’s work. When others do it, they’re been petty and unyielding.

  4. What did they say in the book that was heretical?

    Life starts with the Word.
    The Word transforms us.

    If you want to go back to the KJV, go for it.
    Probably should just stop preaching all together and read a few chapters in a monotone voice every Sunday to ensure no one distorts the Word.

  5. Ok Boomer! I have two kiddos that know the word because it’s being taught to them through multiple avenues. At Home, Worship Music, Sunday Church, Youth Service, Camp, VBS etc etc. ONE devotional is not going to “undo” the Word. It will not return void and the Spirit can even use this devotion to draw them to Jesus.
    Honestly relax Karen.

  6. Perhaps some of the people who actually approve of this type of blasphemy should consider reading R.C. Sproul’s “The Holiness of God”. Or here’s an idea: try reading some Scriptures regarding God’s name, such as Is. 42:8 – “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another” or Phil. 2:9-11 – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  7. This is what happens when the fear of the Lord is replaced with pragmatism. This is becoming more the norm for the SBC and its entities.

  8. I miss the days when students were mature enough to sit and actually read and engage with God’s word as young adults instead of dumbing everything down with comedy like an insurance or beer commercial and talk show entertainment rhetoric.

  9. From my understanding of the New Testament, Jesus made a habit of meeting people where they were. He taught in parables that would resonate with the people he spoke to. He discipled fishermen by using illustrations fishermen would relate to. Why then is it heretical for a company to look to engage a generation of people by meeting them where they are, using illustrations and stories they can relate to? Are they not worthy of the gospel? Does the gospel lose its power if it’s not written in traditional English, a language incapable of properly conveying the original Hebrew text? If this devo could save one soul it’s worthy of publication

  10. We don’t need to reconstruct the Bible to accommodate the next generation. We are running a Bible school for children and believe me, the children do not need to hear anything other than the word of God as it is to get interested. Our children as young as 6 years old are falling in love with the word of God as it is. Please don’t underestimate next gen’s intellect. Our school is witnessing children including next gen journeying with us to be equipped with the word of God.

  11. Did you actually ready any of the devotional? I’ll paste a snippet below.. please tell me what is blasphemous about it? They are literally making a “Gen Z” headline for fun and pointing the reader directly to the ESV… and actually asking them to write it out. This is top notch journalism Amy….. From the Sample — Each day, you’ll have one verse that goes with the section’s theme translated into the GZT (Gen Z Translation—our made up translation). If it doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. That’s kind of the point.
    We will follow that up with the ESV translation, which
    is one of the best translations when it comes to being theologically precise and easy to read. The GZT is the best for entertainment purposes.
    We would encourage everyone to have a physical Bible open when you go through the daily devo. None of the devos are super long, so make sure to read over each one well, taking in every word. Intentionally focus on what you’re reading.

  12. Ugh, I am so glad that I converted away from protestantism and it’s longing for relevancy; as well as the never ending divisiveness that results from it. CH Spurgeon would be rolling over in his grave right now if he cared enough about modernist revivalism to read comments about things like this. Lifeway filed bankruptcy because of horrible ideas like this, and the youth aren’t leaving the Church because the text isn’t on their level, they’re leaving because they see through the hypocrisy of people tearing each down due to a difference of personal opinion instead of building each other up as the body of Christ.

  13. Amy Spreeman because of your narrow mindedness you are responsible for removing a book that would have brought some youth to Christ. You should focus on advancing the kingdom instead of your vomit articles.

  14. My daughter has listened to God’s Word sense she was 3 years old and now at 7, she wants the meat. I read from the ESV and NLT to her. Why is it that my 7 year old will listen but you say many young folks find it not fun, not cool, etc? Its the same reason many grown ups find the Word of God dry and prefer a watered down Gospel where Jesus is a “buddy” instead of the King and the Judge, where sin is a mistake instead of rebellion against God, etc. The reason many youth and grownups may find the Word of God dry is because they are unregenerate. They have not been born again. I was a very common, simple minded person when I first came to Christ and my reading level was not so great. I knew the Word of God was God’s means to renew my mind and because of that, I actually wanted to learn and understand grammar, translations, exegesis, hermeneutics, etc. Words matter. Context matters.

    Gen Z is no translation at all and I don’t care how “cool” kids think it is. If this is not being conformed to the world instead of being transformed by the renewal of your mind, I dont know what is. The issue with modern churches today is that they cater to the world, they do not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God to give understanding. People think God needs help. God does not need you. Be faithful and plant the seed of rich truth and you will see good fruit. These modern “hip” churches that many think are so cool just want to throw water where there is no seed and they leave a muddy mess in the path. You are doing more harm than good.

    Please youth pastors and even adult pastors repent from the damage you are doing. Share the Gospel in all confidence, INCLUDING the part about judgement to come and eternal wrath. If you dont preach about God’s righteous wrath, you aren’t sharing the Gospel. Its usually because you do not want to “offend”. Well, step out of the way and let others who fear God more than man do this work. You are not qualified.

    1. Amen! God’s Word is timeless, ageless and relevant to us today, as it was breathed by the Holy Spirit. The issue is not that the Bible is unrelatable to today’s youth, or that it is hard to understand. The issue is sin nature – we want a Savior but are not willing to make Him LORD. The two are necessary, otherwise Jesus just gets put on the spiritual keychain along with Buddha, and a rabbit’s foot (covering all the bases, stacking the worldly odds in our favor). It doesn’t work that way. All someone needs to do is accept the gift of salvation and give their life to the One who saved them. We come to Him exactly as we are; He does the work – from the inside out.

      As Christians, we are in this world but not of it. We are not called to blend in with the world. We are *supposed* to set apart! Jesus didn’t blend in with those with whom He came in contact. Everyone who encountered Him knew there was something decidedly different about Him, whether they followed His teaching or not.

      God is in the business of restoration. He loves every one of us and wants to draw us to Him. Jesus provided the way. We need to take that path, which can only be done if He is the master of our life and not ourselves. A watered-down, seeker-friendly Gospel does not teach this. We need to have more faith that God will do His work – even with today’s generation – without customizing the content for the listener to the point where it does not accurately reflect what Jesus actually said and did.

  15. Meh, i deconverted at the tail end of 2004. I became a Buddhist in 2014. Dont raise kids christian, they become racist, selfish and ignorant. Studies show kids raised non christian are more compassionate, tolerant, and probably can think for themselves and question the crap their parents taught them. My take: absolute power corrupts absolutely, and research how Zorostrianism became monothestic, because if you actually take a world religion class, you will see how far off base monotheism in general is.

    1. The attitude you’ve demonstrated in your comments on this article demonstrate that Buddhism hasn’t made you any more tolerant, compassionate, or less bigoted. It does seem however to have given you a sense of license to do and say whatever you want while feeling morally superior to others. Bully for you.

    2. I would like to see this study you speak of! Who published it, who were the test subjects, and at which Nazi concentration camp was it performed at?!?? Exactly how many kids do you have?? My guess would be none due to your ignorance on the subject. Your post is absolute garbage and based on lies with no facts! How can teaching children to love their neighbor and their God, make them less compassionate?!?? I would wager that you have never finished a single book of the Bible. You also probably know little about Buddhism as well. I dont care what religion you claim to be, you obviously have hatred in your heart for people and things that you know nothing about! You should convert to radical Islam, you would fit in better there! People like you “deconvert” (not a word btw) because you want to be told that the things that you want to do are ok! You want religion to make you feel better about yourself instead of holding you to a standard and being accountable for your actions in front of the mightiest Being in the Universe! So you lash out at Christians to make yourself feel better about your own sins, and to negate them by claiming there is no God! And if anyone disagrees with you, their racist, sexist, prejudice, homophobic, transphobic, bigots, and 30 more isms, or phobics! But I forgot, your smarter than everyone, so you probably solved the Theory of Everything, and know how God made the Universe, right!

  16. Why the outrage? Unlike almost everybody else who has commented, I have actually read the devotional. One page has the humorous new interpretation, not a translation. The opposite page has the full passage in the ESV and the devotion. It’s well done and, more importantly, it’s very engaging. Thankfully, we can still order it from the writers. If your kids spend every day reading their bible for an hour, then good for you. Unfortunately, that is not the case with 98% of teenagers.

    1. Humor as engagement? If Jesus supported your theory, the Bible would have portrayed him telling jokes instead of parables.

    2. They need to be saved first, then they will have a love for the word. Reading scripture due to humor will not last. Eventually it will pass , we all need to be grounded in scripture, and scripture alone! Ive seen countless teens getting entertained at churches and having a good time with jokes and fooling around, most fall into sin and never attend church again.
      They need the gospel so they can be convicted and turn to Jesus! then will they change and have a desire to read the bible.

  17. I for one am glad to see how God is working in each and everyone’s lives today through this thread. It is amazing how people who probably only read one translation of the Bible condemn something because they do not understand it. If it truly is “sacrilegious” then you would condemn every single devotional out there because every devotional has an attention grabber for the reader. Why do you need to read about someone’s life event in order to read a couple of passages of Scripture, if the Bible is the end all be all, then any extra-biblical source is to be condemned as heresy, correct? How many times do you misquote Scripture? I am guessing more than you would care to admit, but that is okay because it is not published right. What about those of us raised in a KJV only church, but also read from the ESV as an adult, am I a blasphemer because I combine the two translations?

  18. You cannot win the lost by trying to be like the world.
    All I see is some guy trying to be funny but making Christians look dumb, and obviously I see the money money money! No person who has the Holy Spirit will find the word of God boring. We dont need gimmicks to get anyone to read the bible.

  19. I fear you missed something here. Both the devotional and the associated videos state clearly that the Gen Z devotional is meant to be for fun only (not an actual translation). The screenshot above is misleading. The actual devotional does not present the Gen Z verse and then say “translation,” and present the ESV below. It presents the Gen Z verse in a funny font, and then says here’s the actual verse and presents the ESV. The devotional itself quotes exclusively from the ESV. It’s actually a very thoughtful devotional, and the videos are executed professionally and honor God’s Word and its application. I’m afraid this article was a knee-jerk reaction that could have been avoided had anyone actually read directly from the devotional. If you doubt my assessment, I pastor a conservative church and hold undergrad and graduate ministry degrees from Liberty. Or you could just take a look at it for yourself…

    1. Thanks for your contribution. I understand why you would feel hatred towards Christians. We don’t have the best stereotype when it comes to some things. Just know that God loves you, and so do a lot of Christians, myself included.

  20. I will have to disagree with this article. Giving a slang translation for some verses is not blasphemy. Sure, it’s probably never gonna be the new NIV, and ultimately, you can go back to translations like that to get the big and deep picture, but putting the Word in this style opens a new door for the people of this generation to see God’s Word. Say a teen who never read the Bible before or never gave it a second thought came across this version. They could get intrigued, and finally feel like they had something they could connect with. As long as the meaning isn’t changed, which it isn’t, different translations exist to reach more people. I think this was a good idea.

    Also, devotional has four syllables. Before you criticize someone’s slang, check your own grammar skills.

  21. That Sunday Cool guy probably got “the mark” tattooed on his right hand and doesn’t even know it! Youth ministries are full of pagans leading your children astray! Get your children out of them! Youth ministries are not even a biblical concept.

  22. wow, there are so many Karen’s in the chat! coming from a gen z Christian I believe that this book is the next best thing and that it should be bought by many more people. I do not believe that I am being led “astray” but I do believe that by publishing this book to the public that you have done us all a favor and you can kiss the Karen’s goodbye. I believe that reading this book will allow me to understand more of the bible than I have before. little psa to all the Karen’s in the chat, this book is the next best thing for our generation and I believe that myself and many more will gladly enjoy this book without your judgement. quite frankly, nobody asked.
    -GEN Z

  23. Gen Z is NOT 1993 to 2012.

    Someone who was born in 1993 is a millennial, not a Gen Z. Given that the oldest millenials were born at around 1980 and they are the children of boomers (45-63), it wouldn’t make sense for millenials to be only 1980ish-1992 (12 years).

    Secondly, something like this has already been done. It’s called “The Message” and it puts a contemporary spin on the Bible (that’s right, spin – not translation).

    Dear GOD/GODS and/or anyone else who can HELP ME (e.g. MEMBERS OF SUPER-INTELLIGENT ALIEN CIVILIZATIONS): The next time I wake up, please change my physical form to that of FINN MCMILLAN of SOUTH NEW BRIGHTON at 8 YEARS OLD and keep it that way FOREVER. I am so sick of this chubby Asian man body! Thank you! – CHAUL JHIN KIM (a.k.a. A DESPERATE SOUL)

    I don’t think the point of these is to supplant the Bible, but rather only supplement it. I agree replacing the Bible with some “hip” interpretation of it isn’t right but I don’t see the harm if it is used in conjunction with the usual Bible materials.

  24. Translation of God’s word into this garbage gen z lingo is blasphemous at its finest. Romans 12:2 – ”And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.“

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