Teens Need the Benefits for Studying the Bible

Reaching TeensIf teens are going to engage in an activity, they want to know what’s in it for them. They might not always verbalize it that way, but when faced with a choice, they are going to go with what benefits them the most. Bible teachers, are you providing the pragmatic value of studying God’s Word? Are you showing them what’s in it for them? If you zero in on the following benefits, your students will be more prone to wanting to get into God’s Word because it is meeting not just what they want but what they need.

1) God’s Word is a source of renewal.

If teens are going to invest time in God’s Word, it needs to be seen as more than one more pressure in their lives. Today’s young people seem to be more stressed than ever in this high paced world in which we live. Rather than Bible study being another point of stress because it is something they “have to do”, it should be a source of comfort, hope, and relief from the anxieties of life.

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. (Ps. 19:7-8)

Bible teachers, are you helping your students discover the promises of God that are relevant to them? Are you helping them see that the God who helped Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel, and others, is there for them today to give them the strength, reassurances, and pathway they need to go on?

2) God’s Word provides answers to life’s questions, reasons.

Young people are faced with so many systems of belief coming at them from so many different angles. Is it any wonder they can be so confused about the purpose and meaning of life? Is it any wonder life seems like a chaotic mess with nothing firm to hold onto? Is it any wonder their lives spiral out of control with so many teens depressed, committing suicide, resorting to violence and dysfunctional relationships?

Bible teachers, are you providing an environment in which they can come with their questions, fears, and doubts to find answers? Are you encouraging them to turn to God and His Word when they are all alone and feeling down? Are you being real in letting them know that they will not always understand but that they can trust the heart of this God about whom they are reading and find peace even in the midst of uncertainty (Isa. 26:3)?

3) God’s Word promotes relationships.

In previous posts we’ve already determined that relationship is a big motivational factor in teens spending time in God’s Word on their own, providing both the foundation and desire. Relationship is also an outcome of Bible study. The more time they spend in God’s Word the more intimately they get to know Him (Col. 1:9-12) and the greater their basis of unity with other believers becomes (Col. 3:15-16).

Bible teachers, do your students understand how beneficial a relationship with God is which spills over into loving relationships with others? Is your own life an example of this reality?

God desires young people to live abundant lives (Jn. 10:10; Isa. 40:29-31) filled with His strength, peace, wisdom, and love. Let’s point them to Him and His Word as the source of all that is good and worthwhile in this world.

Teens Need the Right Motivation to Study the Bible

Reaching TeensTeenagers seek independence. They don’t tend to respond well to “Because I said so” or even “Because the Bible says so”. Consequently, if they are going to take time to get into the Word on their own, they need a higher motivation than duty or mere obedience. They will tend to reject what they would perceive as a hypocritical approach to the Word. Bible teachers need to promote a motivation to study the Bible that taps into their need for relationship and relevance.

Emphasizing These Reasons for Studying the Bible will Tend to be Motivational for Teens:

1) God’s Word is about a God who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them.

Bible teachers, help teens see the Bible as a tool to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). God’s Word not only helps them develop a relationship with God but also provides the basis for spurring one another on in their walk with Him (Heb. 10:23-25).

2) God’s Word is about everyday life and how to live it to the fullest.

Bible teachers, show, by the way you teach, that Bible study is more than an academic pursuit. Help them get beyond the facts to seeing the implications for their daily lives. God’s Word is not an ancient, lifeless book. Rather, His Word is living and relevant for even today because the God who breathes life into these Words is just as powerful and wise for anything they may encounter on their journey through life. The Bible is quite practical and useful for them today (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Ps. 119).

When teens develop motivations based on these reasons for studying the Bible, they will want more of the Word than what they get at Church. As they experience the realities that come with such motivation, their desire for Scripture will grow more and more. May God use us to help students realize that God’s words in the Bible are “more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:9-10).

Teens Need the Foundation for Studying the Bible

Reaching Teens

(Click to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)

Until a good foundation is laid for teens to study the Bible, they either will not take the time to even read it or they will struggle doing so regularly.

Bible teachers need to lay the foundation for personal study of God’s Word which addresses two factors young people both want and need — realness and relationship.

To Lay the Foundation for Teens to Personally Study of the Bible, Teachers Must Answer Two Key Questions:

1) Is the Bible real?

Young people long for realness in their lives. So much in life seems so phony, hypocritical, or shallow which includes people, government, other institutions (including the Church), and even God and the Word He proclaims.

If teens don’t get beyond seeing the Bible as just another religious book or simply a bunch of fictional stories, they probably won’t invest much time into reading or studying it. For more on this topic check out the series of posts beginning at: Young People’s Perception of the Bible

Bible teachers, do you know what your students believe about the Bible? How are you addressing their misconceptions?

2) Is the Bible about more than just a bunch of rules and regulations?

Many teens don’t want to take the time to read and study the Bible because of this perception but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to know the God of the Bible. They just haven’t made the connection between Bible study and knowing God in a real and personal way. Yet, Scripture clearly promotes the relational aspect of God’s Word.

“have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15)

“faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Rom. 10:17)

Bible teachers, are you taking students beyond mere knowledge of the Bible to connecting them with the God of the Bible? Are you helping them understand that the purpose of reading or studying God’s Word is to grow in their relationship with Him, not to merely fulfill a Christian duty? Are you helping them approach the Bible relationally as God’s way of speaking to them and encouraging them to discuss what they read with Him? Also read: Why Engage in Spiritual Disciplines?

God’s Word fulfills their need for realness and relationship. Let’s help them find it by patiently and adequately taking the time to answer these questions even if they aren’t verbalizing them.

Teens Study the Bible on Their Own?

Teens Study the Bible?Some might be skeptical about the potential of getting teenagers to study the Bible on their own. It’s difficult enough getting them to not only come to class but to pay attention while they are there and to meaningfully engage in the study.

Other than perhaps the exceptional student or two, is it a realistic expectation? Let’s remember that we have a powerful God who makes even the seemingly impossible, possible. When we grasp that reality, then it becomes a matter of looking to Him and matching God’s working with students’ needs.

How Studying God’s Word on Their Own Fits in with Teens’ Needs:

1) If teens are going to study the Bible on their own, they need the right perception of the Bible.

Young people are looking for that which is real. Is the Bible legit? Even if they buy into the realness of God’s Word, it will have minimal significance if they don’t have a relationship with God, it’s Author. That’s the real foundation on which Bible study even make sense.

2) If teenagers are going to read and study the Bible on their own, they need to not only have the right motivation but also a good reason to persist in it.

Since young people are looking for relationship, what higher motivation can we provide than to help them understand how the Word not only brings them into a relationship with God but also establishes the basis for fellowship with other believers. If that isn’t enough to motivate them to keep at it, experiencing the relevance of truth to their everyday lives should help cement it.

3) If young people are going to study the Bible on their own, they need to see what’s in it for them.

When teens realize how studying the Bible fulfills their need for relationship, provides the renewal they need, and gives them reasons they seek, they will have a much greater potential for getting into the Word on their own.

In the next three posts we will look at each of the above factors. (You can subscribe to receive e-mail notice of updates.) For now, however, notice how their need for relationship appears in each of the three points. Without that focus, you probably won’t get very far with them. To Read: The Focus of Youth Ministry