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Apr 27, 2022

How to Show Teens the Bible Is Still Relevant

Mark Hart

Too often, adults talk about the topics that they’re interested in or that they find relevant. For example, a youth minister might feel like she needs to focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary, something she heard at a talk by Scott Hahn, or something else that’s super Catholic. And obviously we should talk about those topics. But most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of a 14-year-old or an 18-year-old and ask ourselves this question: “Is what I’m talking about really relevant to a teen? A teen who’s struggling with body image, has acne, who isn’t comfortable with the opposite sex, who’s consumed with video games, who’s stressed out about getting into college or struggling with chastity or porn?” 

Extract themes that are actually relevant to teens.

There are so many things that we as adults don’t stop to consider. It’s way too easy to only think about our tone and our content. But we need to think about our audience. How we make the Bible relevant is to first extract the themes in Scripture that matter to teens. For example, you could talk about stress, anxiety, identity, and vocation. Consider the questions your audience may have, like, What am I designed for? What are my talents? What are my gifts? and so on. By thinking about your audience—in this case, teens—you can help them understand that these themes are found in Scripture too, and from there you can expound on Scripture.

For example, Jesus talks about stress in Matthew 6. He talks about worry and anxieties, and those are all real things and have been for years. There’s a reason that the most prevalent command in Scripture is “Be not afraid.” Because regardless of age and circumstance, we all deal with seasons of fear, and we need to have courage and put our trust in God. Now, these are the themes that make Scripture relevant. 

A Fun, Easy Way to Show Teens the “Big Picture” of the Bible

Venture: The Bible Timeline for High School introduces teenagers to the “big picture” of salvation history in a way that is simple to understand and easy to teach. 

Sign up for a free preview!

What we have to do is to destroy the misconception that Scripture is an antiquated book, and in doing so, you have to extract the themes that make it “ever ancient, ever new.” That’s why books like Proverbs are so important, because they offer timeless nuggets of wisdom. 

Highlight Biblical figures who struggled with the same themes.

Another way we can do this is to highlight characters that teens can relate to. This doesn’t mean that the characters have to be young. Teens can relate to Abraham or David, who are both older, because it’s the way we pull the themes out that make them relevant to teens. Themes like trust, courage, and lust. And then you pull out those characters who struggled with those same themes.

Teens might relate to Josiah and Timothy, who are both younger, on a different level. And of course there’s Joshua, who isn’t younger, but he’s like a younger-brother understudy. So it’s all about finding those themes that teens can get their heads around so they say, “Wow, there is something in this Bible for me.” And once they understand that there’s something here for them, something that still makes sense in this age-old book, they realize that the Bible does offer timeless wisdom and that it still has the power to speak into their twenty-first-century lives. And once they see that, suddenly the rest of the book has credibility.

If we don’t start with things that are relevant to teens, they’ll look at it and say, “It’s relevant to you, old man or old woman who’s teaching me the story, but it’s not relevant to me.” But if we really get to know our teens, if we put ourselves in their shoes and then extract those same themes from the Bible – now that’s gold. 

That’s why I created Venture, a study program that teaches teens the Bible by pulling out biblical figures and showing how truly relatable they are to teens today. Because I know how powerful it can be when teens finally make those connections. If you’re interested in learning more about Venture, I highly encourage you to check it out right here.

A Fun, Easy Way to Show Teens the “Big Picture” of the Bible

Venture: The Bible Timeline for High School introduces teenagers to the “big picture” of salvation history in a way that is simple to understand and easy to teach. 

Sign up for a free preview!

Mark Hart has helped transform Catholic youth and young adult Scripture study in parishes, homes, and classrooms with his wildly popular Bible study programs, T3: The Teen Timeline (for teens) and Encounter (for pre-teens), as well as Altaration (a program about the Mass for teens). Mark’s humor and his passion for Scripture are helping hundreds of thousands of Catholics, young and old, begin to read and study the Bible in engaging, fun, and relevant ways. A devoted husband and father of four, Mark is also the main author and presenter in The 99, A New System for Evangelization.

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