1-1 Can We Trust the Bible?
Series: What is the Bible
Purpose/Intent: Showing why we can trust that the Bible is the Word of God
Materials: Laptop, projector, PowerPoint associated with this lesson, whiteboard & marker (or similar), treats for pop quiz, handouts (1 per student), pens or pencils, small slip of paper with “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance” written on it.
Introduction (2-3 minutes) [Slide 1]
- Opening prayer
- Class expectations (REAL: Respect, Engagement, Attention, Love)
- Review what we covered last time.
Opening Discussion (10 minutes) [Slide 2]
- Pop Quiz
- How many books are there in the Bible? (Answer: 66)
- How many authors wrote the Bible? (Answer: More than 40)
- How many languages was it written in? (Answer: Three)
- Which languages was it written in? (Answer: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek)
- About how long of a time period was the Bible written in? (Answer: over 1500 years)
- About how many prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament? (Answer: approximately 400)
- True or False: The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in history (Answer: True)
- What else do you know about the Bible?
- What’s one thing that you’d like to learn about the Bible?
Historical/Biblical Context: (5 minutes) [Slide 3]
- There are people who believe that the Bible cannot be trusted as reliable. However, history and archeology tell us otherwise. Not only is the Bible historically accurate, it is more accurate than any other ancient document. It has withstood more criticism and persecution than any other book.
- Let’s talk about three primary tests that scientists, historians, and archeologists use to verify historical facts and determine whether any ancient manuscript is authentic.
- Bibliographical Test: This test analyzes how accurately the document in question was copied and handed down through time.
- Historians note how many copies were made, and how well they match up with each other.
- With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many manuscripts were recovered of the Old Testament.
- Thousands of ancient references to the scriptures from outside sources have been preserved and shown to align with what we have in the Bible today.
- There are more ancient copies of the Bible than any other ancient manuscript.
- External Evidence Test: This test evaluates how accurate the content is compared to known facts and what other historical works have to say about it.
- In this procedure the benefit of the doubt is always given to the literature, in an “innocent until proven guilty’ approach. The literature is assumed correct until it contradicts known facts.
- Not one archeological find has ever contradicted the Word, but thousands have supported it.
- Internal Evidence Test: This test evaluates the content for coherence, looking for ways that it might contradict itself.
- Written by more than 40 authors, ranging from kings to poets to fishermen, the Bible covers hundreds of controversial subjects, not once contradicting itself.
- There may be times where passages appear to contradict one another, but a closer examination of the texts and their contexts reveals often that these apparent contradictions are really complementary in nature.
Activity (5-10 minutes): Telephone Game [Slide 4]
Have the students line up in a straight line and give the statement below, written on a piece of paper, to the first person. They will start the game by whispering to the person next to them, and that person whispers to the next and so forth. No repeating. No saying the phrase out loud.
- Phrase: “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance.”
- FUN FACT: This telephone game phrase is based on a famous example that happened during World War I, where the message ended up back at headquarters was this: “Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance.”
- Think about what just happened here. Even with just ONE sentence, by ONE author, in ONE language, and is less than 5 minutes the original statement and the message got changed. Yet the Bible has 66 books, written by over 40 authors, in three different languages, over a period of 1500 years - yet the content and the message remains unchanged. WOW!
- How do you think this is possible?
Scripture: (10 minutes)
- Read 2 Peter 1:21 [Slide 5]
- What is prophecy?
- This passage is referring specifically to the prophecies written in the OT. How does this passage relate human effort and the Spirit of God?
- It is shown here as a partnership. Men recorded the messages that they received from God. This same standard is applied to all scripture that is part of our Bible today, so we can trust that our entire Bible contains the exact message that God wants us to have.
- Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 [Slide 6]
- What four things is scripture useful for, according to this passage?
- How are these things different?
- Let’s say you wanted to drive a car (or feel free to use another example). To be thoroughly equipped to drive a car well, so that you are not a danger to yourself or to others, you would need the following:
- Teaching: First you would need to learn the rules of the road by reading the driver’s manual. For example, what the different types of road stripes mean, or the various types of signs used, or what to do at a 4-way stop when everyone arrives at the same time.
- Training: You would then need real-life experience driving while accompanied by someone who is already an accomplished driver. They are able to walk you through real-life experiences and what to do, like how to parallel park or merge into traffic on the highway.
- Correcting: As you’re learning this new skill of driving, you are guaranteed to make mistakes. Maybe you just forgot what the rule was or how to do it momentarily. You need someone who can recognize those mistakes and provide the correction necessary so you don’t make them again.
- Rebuking: This is a very stern form of correction meant to get your attention and probably highlight an element of danger. If you’re driving too fast in icy conditions or if you were texting while driving, you would need sudden and forceful correction. Lives are at stake! It wouldn’t be “loving” to let you drive off a cliff, right? No, a sharp correction is needed. If we don’t accept the rebuke, there are serious consequences (a ticket, an accident, serious injury or death, etc.)
Key Points: [Slide 7]
- Three primary tests prove the authenticity of the Bible: bibliographical, internal evidence, and external evidence.
- The Bible is like a user’s manual for our life. It teaches us the way to go. It teaches, trains, corrects, and rebukes so we can walk with God.
- We also need experts to teach us and train us, so we can use the Bible well.
Practical Application (5 minutes): [Slide 8]
Give everyone a copy of the handout and a pen or pencil.
- Besides a possible lack of time or interest, what are some of the excuses you heard people use, or told yourself, for not reading the Bible?
- Which of the common excuses on this handout have you heard people use? Which of these do you currently believe yourself?
- Try to hold back on correction here if the students express doubts. First validate that what they’re feeling or thinking is common and that they aren’t wrong for feeling that way. Assure them that there are rational explanations that can address their doubts, and offer to look into those things with them after class or at another time.
Homework: [Slide 9]
- Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
We spent some time talking about why we can trust the Bible today, covering the basics behind the 3 proofs for authenticity (bibliographical, internal evidence, external evidence). We then transitioned into the usefulness of the Bible as described in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Share with your child this week some examples where the Bible has proven useful to you with respect to teaching, training, correcting or even rebuking you. This might also be a good time to talk about how you are using God’s Word as a parent to raise your child, trusting in God’s wisdom instead of your own.
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