The following blog was found on desiringgod.org and written by Katherine Foster. In this article she outlines 4 reasons why the scriptures need to be integral to our ministry. The original article can be found here.
For me, Bible study started at a young age.
I was blessed to have parents who encouraged my brothers and me to get into the word early, to write things down, to learn for ourselves what it had to teach. I’m sure I thought it was boring at the time; but now that I’m a teenager, I’m starting to realize this personal discipline is essential to my life and future.
It was through personal, inductive Bible study that I learned to really love God’s word. But when I look at the church around me, I don’t see much emphasis on Bible study in youth ministries. We’re encouraged to read our Bible, of course; but what the Christian culture gives us is one lesson after another on “issues,” and very little encouragement to study the Scriptures in depth.
But we teens need Bible study — more than we even realize. Here are four reasons I believe pastors, teachers, youth leaders, and Christian parents need to encourage and exhort us to study the Bible, and teach us how to do it.
1. We desperately need the truth.
Now, more than ever, we need the truth of God’s word as our rock and anchor. Only the Bible gives us what we need to sift through the lies; to stand strong in the face of trials; to live lives that are focused on Christ and his glory, and even to make this goal a priority.
2. We need to see these truths for ourselves.
Teens need this experience of discovery in the Bible. Middle and high school are often a time of searching, of discovery, and of wonder. We don’t just want to be told something; we want to find it for ourselves. So, teach us to search the Scriptures, and give us the tools to do it.
3. We need to be challenged.
Teens today are rarely encouraged to engage in deep, life-transforming study of the Bible, or in literate conversations about it. We’re encouraged to read it, and while that’s a great starting place (and a necessary one), it can’t be the end. We are definitely capable of thinking deeply and wrestling with tough topics, so hold us to a higher standard. Challenge us, give us something to reach for.
The teen years are a time of habit development. If we begin now to form the habit of Bible study, we’ll be equipped with a solid foundation when we finally leave the authority of our parents, teachers, and youth leaders.
4. We need the fellowship.
At the start of his first epistle, the apostle John explained his reason for writing. “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
The basis of all true fellowship is God’s word. Do you want unity in your youth group? Let your teens come together around the Bible. When there’s something deeper in common than school, sports teams, or music preferences, fellowship becomes much deeper, more lasting, and more impactful for both us and the larger community of faith.
Equipping the Future Church
Entertainment is not necessarily bad, but we can’t survive on or find real joy in that alone. We need the truths of the Bible. Teach us to find them for ourselves, and you will impact the rest of our lives and ministeries.