Jeremiah, by Michelangelo | Sistine Chapel | Flickr | bit.ly/2HqGv0Q

For ages, John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”) has stood as a widely beloved Bible verse. It is often called the gospel in a nutshell.

But a Durham researcher believes a new favorite text has emerged among the social media generation. The Rev. Pete Phillips, director of the CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology at St John’s College, Durham, says Jeremiah 29:11 has become the favorite text among the 350 million users of YouVersion.

Jeremiah 29:11 reads: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Phillips says the Jeremiah text is a message of hope and prosperity. A verse on the death of Jesus on the cross is “a bit heavy.”

Later this year Phillips will publish a book, Bible, Digital Culture, and Social Media. “We find that millennials tend to share therapeutic messages,” he said. “It’s far more about their own identity and how faith can help them in their future.”

John Martin

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