Among most church-going teenagers, the Bible has a PR problem. Sure, they know where it is, and at which youth group programs they are expected to bring it along. But very few find it compelling enough to read on their own. The Bible, God’s authoritative word to his children, needs new PR. I feel like a heretic for even typing those words, but they are true.
How’d we get to this point? I’d like to offer a few reasons we are partially responsible for teens apathy toward the Bible and a few ideas that may help turn the tide.
3 Reasons Teenagers Don’t Read The Bible On Their Own…
- We don’t make it compelling. If our Bible lessons are boring, the natural assumption is that the book from which those lessons originate is boring, too.
- We’ve used it as a tool of sin management. If students only see the Bible as a book of do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs, they will typically avoid it.
- We’ve lost confidence in it. The truths of scripture stand the test of time; they always have and they always will. But as society has progressed, the gap between the truths of scripture and culture have increased. As a result, many youth groups avoid tough topics instead of allowing God’s word to guide them through them. If we don’t have confidence in God’s word, why would the students we lead?
3 Ideas To Turn The Tide….
- Make it compelling! The Bible is one of the most exciting, intriguing, mysterious and controversial books ever written. Leverage the fact that it is full of drama. Emphasize it’s controversial nature. Point out odd, outrageous and outlandish accounts of God’s working in the lives of people. Teach and preach with passion. Remind students that the Bible isn’t a collection of “stories” but rather a true, historical account of God’s plan for mankind unfolding. If you tell teenagers that there is a moment in history where two bears mauled a bunch of teenagers for teasing a bald guy, they will want to read more about it!
- Don’t punish students with it. Instead of using it mostly as a way to correct bad behavior, consider using it as a way to help teenagers see alternatives to the world’s way of thinking. Encourage your students to use scripture as a “sounding board” that will help them navigate life. Then pray daily that your students will listen to the truth it contains.
- Trust it! The higher your view of scripture, the more likely you are to point students to it. The more you believe it speaks to current issues, the more likely you are to use it as part of the conversation. The more students see you trusting it, the more likely they are to trust it….and read it on their own!