Where do Christian teenagers go for answers? Sometimes it’s Google. After all, the average teenager would rather take medical advice from an article they found in an online search than from an actual doctor.
Other times—or maybe most times, if we’re realistic—they look to friends and peers. That’s why it matters so much which crowd they’re hanging out with.
But, for believers in Jesus—and for everyone on the planet, actually—the answers we search for reside in one place. It’s not in our own minds, in the opinions of others, or in a search engine, but in the timeless truth of God’s Word.
Like Jesus, the Word is fully human and fully divine. It was written by 40 men over the period of 1,500 years. These men had backgrounds that ranged from shepherd to warrior to judge to king to fisherman to tentmaker and more. Although most of the writers had never met each other, what they wrote is in complete harmony. The only way this could possibly happen if they were guided by a divine hand. And they were—by the hand of God Himself!
Also like Jesus, the Bible has no faults. It’s completely perfect and trustworthy!
No other book, friend, expert, or online resource comes even close to the reliability of Scripture. We must teach our teenagers to look to the Bible for answers to the biggest questions in life. Here are three reasons why:
1. The Bible is inspired.
No, not that kind of inspiration. There are tons of books out there that are “inspirational,” but only one that is truly inspired. That book is the Bible.
Here’s what 2 Timothy 3:16 has to say about it:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.
The Greek word for inspiration means “breathed out.” When you speak, you “breathe out” words into the air. When God spoke, He breathed out words onto paper (or papyrus) through the pens of the men who wrote it.
What makes the Bible so uniquely divine and so divinely human is that each individual writer retained his own personality and writing style as he wrote. So, although each word is the Word of God, each word is from the pen of men.
How could this process of inspiration possibly happen? Peter, the fisherman/apostle explains it:
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:20-21
The Greek word translated “carried along” is the same Greek word used to describe a boat that has given way to the wind, to be carried wherever it carries it. In the same way, the wind of the Spirit carried the writers to exactly where He wanted them to be as they wrote.
The Word of God truly contains the words of God, but at the same time is fully human.
2. The Bible is inerrant.
This simply means that the Bible, in its original writings, was without errors. Every word penned was perfect.
Proverbs 30:5 puts it this way:
Every word of God is flawless.
Sometimes people who are less acquainted with higher criticism (the science of evaluating the trustworthiness of ancient texts) claim things such as: “Look at all the different Bible translations. It proves the Bible is not reliable.”
But, if anything, all of these translations prove the Bible is completely reliable. How? Because, although experts agree that most of the original texts were penned thousands of years ago, when ancient texts and copies of copies are compared, there is 99% agreement. The only way this degree of congruency could happen is that the original manuscripts were perfect.
If God is perfect (and He is), His words are perfect (they are). That means the Bible is 100% trustworthy.
The Bible is inspired and inerrant and, therefore…
3. The Bible is in charge.
When a king makes a decree, it’s the law of the land. The King of the Universe has made a decree, and we, His servants, must obey. It’s not optional.
The Word of God is our handbook and guide and provides us with God’s “house rules.” Growing up, my own kids didn’t always understand or agree with their mom and dad’s house rules, but, as I used to remind them: “Those who own the house make the rules.”
What’s true in our household is even more true in God’s. His Word must be read, respected, and obeyed—whether we like what it says or not, whether culture disagrees with it or not, whether it brings mockery and marginalization or not.
It’s in charge of our theology. We can’t pick and choose what we like out of the book and disregard the rest. It’s all true, and it must be the hammer that forges our theology on the anvil of God’s unchangeable truth.
When I was a youth leader, I used to hold up my Bible and say this to my teenagers: “Think of the Bible as a ruler. Anything you hear me say, measure it by God’s Word. If it falls short, throw it away. If it measures up, keep it.”
This gave teenagers the permission they needed to question my teaching. Often, after that, I’d have teenagers ask me hard questions about how I was interpreting Scripture. To me, this was a sign that the authority was moving from me and my word to God and His Word! That’s a success.
We must help our young people embrace God’s Word as the one, true, and final authority on all matters of life and theology. We must help them see it as the ruler they measure things by and the compass that guides their life.
Once that happens, all of their theology and choices will work themselves out.
Maybe use this blog as a basic outline for youth group this week. Start by asking a few questions, such as:
- Where do teenagers tend to look for answers to life’s biggest questions?
- What are some of those questions?
- Why should we, as Christians, look to the Bible for the answers to life’s biggest questions?