Posted by: alisonwalley | 18 April 2010

Understanding and studying

Our son Mark’s website The Grove is on Fire is really stuff around youth work, but throws up some interesting links connected to the subject of this site. One that caught my eye was a post from Life in Student Ministry: Three things I want my Students to know before they graduate. (As it’s an American site, the author’s talking about high school students rather than college ones.)

His first two are to have an “overview understanding” of the whole Bible and know how to study Scripture for themselves.

Isn’t that what we should all be aiming at? If you take up birdwatching as a hobby, you’d expect after a while to get an idea of the different families of birds so that even if you don’t know what the actual bird is, you can tell if it’s a finch or a thrush. If you’re into a particular sport, you should be familiar with the rules and tactics. Some hobbies or sports are easier to get a hold of than others, but the point is, we don’t mind learning the terms and practising to master what we’re doing. You can go out and just kick a ball around, or look at birds through binoculars, but it makes all the difference to know what you’re supposed to be doing or what you’re looking at.

So, if you’re an adult Christian and have been a Christian for any length of time, have you actually got to grips with the whole Bible? Ok, so I’ve said this before, but a bird’s-eye view of the Bible is incredibly useful. It helps you to see how God’s big plan of salvation links together – actually it shows that God’s plan really is a plan and is really big! You don’t need to know exactly what’s in every chapter, but you do need to know the Bible because that’s what tells us about God and about his love for us and why he sent his Son for us.

As for the second point, I’ll just quote what the article says:

I don’t want our youth group kids to graduate and always be dependent on someone else to chew on God’s Word, digest it, and spit it out in bite size pieces for them each week at church. I want them to learn how to feed on the Word of God for their own and not just swallow the assumptions that I, or any other pastor or teacher, throws at them. They should be equipped to dig into God’s Word on their own, study it for themselves, and feed on its life-sustaining power, not being content with spiritual milk.

More on this in the next post.

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