I was recently struck by an atheist testimony. She was actually sharing her conversion story out of Christianity. Her reason was that she was always told what to believe and what the Bible said. Every question she asked was met with an immediate answer. When she got older she started to investigate things for herself and found that the Bible didn’t actually say the things that she was told it said. This caused her to doubt everything else she was told about the Bible and Christianity.
Teach the Bible Like We Teach Math
Math begins with basic memorization, but it doesn’t stay that way. I remember the days of learning all the addition and multiplication tables. But then there is a time when you move on to more advanced problem-solving equations. When you see something like 3x+7=19, that isn’t something you memorize but is something that you are taught how to solve. If the teacher said x=4 and stops the lesson, you will have no idea if the teacher is right or how to solve the next equation on the test.
When I first started teaching I realized that it was easy to tell the students what Christians believe and how each student should think. In fact, this approach to sharing knowledge is easy across all life stages. Giving answers is much easier than teaching the process of how to research and think through the question yourself. We start when children are small by telling them what to believe, just like math, but then continue to do so as they grow older. Our students often keep hearing the answers like Jesus is God, but don’t know how to properly read and study the Bible for themselves.
I still remember my first formal observation as a teacher during my fifth year of teaching. I prepared an amazing lesson, a great powerpoint, and lectured the students for about 40 minutes. I thought that since it was so carefully put together that I would get a great evaluation. However, the exact opposite happened. I was told that the content was great, but I was also informed that I needed to include the students in the class and help them think through the issues.
Leave your students with confident answers.
I was saddened by the atheist’s story out of Christianity. She trusted her parents and pastors and didn’t find what they were saying to be true. Now I don’t know what those things were and if the Bible said them or not, but the point remains the same. We shouldn’t be giving every answer and leaving our students to simply trust our word. Instead, I want to show them the truth, help them see how I came to conclusions, and let them evaluate the evidence as they make their own decisions.
Almost every day I have a student come into my class with a desire and confidence to show me how to solve a problem from AP calculus. He is confident because he can start from the beginning and finish the problem himself. I want students to have that same confidence with the questions related to faith and Christianity.