A while back, I spoke at an event for homeschooled graduates and asked the audience to respond to the question, “Do you believe that the 66 books of the Bible are, in the original manuscripts, the inspired and inerrant word of God?” 98% of the attendees at this Christian event affirmed their faith in the Bible. That was both comforting and odd, especially since on 91% of the attendees identified themselves as belonging to the Christian faith.
However, in conversation with many of these same young adults, they seemed to have no ability to actually apply the Bible contextually to their lives. In discussing an issue, if I quoted a Scripture verse, many would say, “Well, that was in the Old Testament, so that does not apply,” or “That is in the gospels, which was written to the Jews, so that does not apply to us,” or “That was written by Paul, who was a homophobe and a male chauvinist,” or “That epistle was written to a specific group of people at that time regarding specific problems in their culture, so you can’t apply that to us as American Christians,” or “That is just your interpretation,” or “You are taking that out of context,” etc., etc.
The question I am often led to ask them is, “”Is there anything at all in the Bible that you believe actually applies to you?!” The problem is, they really don’t know. They are sure something in there probably does, but they kind of randomly pick and choose which parts they like.
What this does is essentially strip away their supposed belief in the Authority of Scripture. Christian Apologist, Cornelius Van Til used to say, “The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.”
This group of young adults has adopted a Postmodern view of the interpretation of the Bible, which is skeptical about any objective claim of definitive knowledge or certainty.
I would encourage you to teach your children about how we got the Bible. Teach them about the compilation of the Canon of Scripture. Teach them about why the Bible is true (as opposed to the Quran or other religious books). Explain to them why the 66 books of our Bible can be trusted, and why the Gnostic “gospels,” the Apocrypha, and other Pseudographical books are NOT included in our Bible. As a family, study some sound books on Biblical Hermeneutics (the study of how we study and interpret the Scriptures). It is not enough for your children to be told THAT the Bible is true, but they need to know the story about HOW we got that Bible, and WHY it is authoritative.
Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and the Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is also the Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net
I think the biggest problem is that parents themselves don’t know where to start THEMSELVES. Not all of us are able to attend seminaries (nor with how liberal they are getting now, do I want to!). Thank you Israel and Brooke for all you do in encouraging Christian families! I will be ordering your suggested books and reading them with our children. Lord bless you!