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Four Ways To Help Teenagers Understand the Bible Better

One of the great tasks of being a parent is helping your children learn to listen, understand, and apply what you are trying to teach them about living well.

We are called to pass wisdom onto our children.

One of the great frustrations in this journey is when you think you are clearly communicating with your child, and your children choose to not listen at all, or worse, somehow interprets what you have to say in ways completely opposite to what you intended.

Like when I told my son not to run onto the road (obviously because I love him and want him to live well) and yet in his great wisdom, as a 1 year old, he immediately chose to run onto the road. 🤦‍♂️

One of our great tasks as youth workers is helping our youth learn to listen, understand and apply what God is teaching through His Word. Even more important than passing our wisdom onto the next generation is the call to pass the wisdom of God onto the next generation.

But this isn’t easy.

We live in a world that tells our youth they can be whoever they want.

That life is about being happy.

That they are the ones in control.

This ethos can make it difficult for a generation to willingly place themselves under God’s authority and entrust themselves to His wisdom through His Word. 

Not simply trying to figure out how God’s Word applies to their lives, but more so, how to surrender their lives to God through His Word.

And it’s not just the culture that makes this journey difficult, it’s the fact that sometimes God’s Word is just plain difficult.  At best it’s not always easy to understand, at worst it offends our cultural sensibilities.  

So what can we do to help our kids understand God’s way in His Word?  Let me give you a few starting steps we can take.

1. Commit to helping students see that God’s way is not just right, it is good.

God is on a mission of redemption, restoration, and recreation.

One reason Jesus Christ became human was so that we could see and be empowered to live into His Kingdom way…the way of flourishing.  And He has revealed His way through His Word.

Before we can experience the flourishing way through His Word, we need to be convinced that His way brings flourishing.  He is not just right, He is good.

2. Contextualize.

Do the work of helping our students understand that parts of Scripture, are part of a bigger picture.

When we look at a verse, remember the verse is part of a paragraph, or a chapter, or a book, or THE book. 

Do the hard work of helping kids see the bigger context…historical and eternal.

3. Lead your kids, don’t just tell them.

Give them the tools of discovery.

Simply put, help them learn to observe, interpret, and apply. 

Spend time reading together asking them questions like:

  1. “What do you see?”

  2. “What stands out to you?”

  3. “What questions do you have?”

  4. “What does this say about Jesus, His character and His way?”

  5. “What is the main point the author is trying to make?”

  6. And finally, make sure you ask, “So what?”  “So what difference could this make this week?”

  7. “In light of what we read, what is one thing you will do this week?”

And get them to write it down.

Research tells us that if teens read the Bible, that’s fine. But if they do something else as they read, like write something down, it can be transformative (check out Dave Rahn’s new book Disrupting Teens With Joy for more details on this)

4. Remind them to be humble.

Understanding Scripture can be hard work.

At times it is hard to understand what the author is trying to say, and even harder to know how to apply what he is saying 2000 years after the author wrote it.

And sometimes what is in the Bible seems really offensive.

We need to work hard at understanding (it’s worth it), but even Scripture reminds us that we still see “only a reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But that doesn’t mean we can’t see.

We can and we must.

And the truth is, at some point, what we see in Scripture should offend our cultural sensibilities.  God is not of our culture. He is calling us to a completely different culture. The struggle is real…but it is so worth it, so humbly press on!

As you intentionally take time to help your teens understand the Bible, pray that they will grow a passion to know Jesus through the Scriptures, that their hearts would be so moved that His desires, would become their desires.

In Psalm 19, David said that God’s Word was “sweeter than honey” to him. That means it was like dessert, the best part of the meal!

We often call reading God’s Word discipline…that sounds like the opposite of dessert! Let’s pray God moves the hearts and minds of our kids as they lean into the heart and mind of God in His Word.  

What are you doing to help your youth understand God’s Word? Are you simply teaching the truth, or are you helping your youth discover the truth? Are you taking the time to show them how God’s way is not just right, but how it is good?


Do you find it difficult to help teenagers make Scripture a priority in their own lives? How can you inspire them to make daily Bible reading a routine? And once they are reading, how should you guide them to process what they are reading?

Access on-demand replay of the webinar to get those questions answered! You’ll also find a link to the 10 minute video curriculum that will teach you, your volunteer team, and your students how to do an inductive study of any Scripture at the end of the webinar.

Interested in exploring your faith more and understanding the background and inspiration of the Bible, its history and composition, the overarching themes and message?

Rocky Mountain College is offering a FREE university level course where you’ll explore all 66 books of the Bible and understand the context in and the purpose for which they were written. You will also gain an understanding of how the various types of literary forms in which the Bible was written can legitimately be interpreted so you can better understand the message of all parts of the Bible.

All of this from the comfort of your own home.

Learn more today by clicking HERE.

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