A Note from Mary Margaret West: I love what Lindsay shares in this post. It’s so easy to get caught up in using helpful resources and tools that we forget to rely on the Bible as our baseline and primary source. I’m thankful for all the resources available, but I pray that you would first and foremost fall in love with Scripture, and that girls would do the same.
A few weeks ago, I scrolled across a post from Jen Wilkin on Instagram: “I’m asked almost weekly what resources I recommend for teens to use for Bible study. Here’s my answer.” The post then included a link to her article, “Teach Your Teen How to Read Their Bible.”
Maybe you are preparing to meet again after the Christmas season, or perhaps, you are starting to disciple a young woman for the first time in 2019 (cheering for you!); either way, I know many of us are praying and planning toward what to study this year.
First, I want to emphasize my appreciation for men and women who generously share their talents to strengthen the body of Christ through writing. I could write a whole blog on how Beth Moore’s Bible studies or Jennie Allen’s books have influenced my walk with the Lord. We live amongst a generation of incredible writers, whose books are wonderful resources for teens. However, the message of Jen’s post led me to pause and think.
As we invite teens to study a book this year, let us ensure we first model how to interact with the only WORD capable of transforming hearts.
I have personally found it beneficial to use a book or Bible study to outline my meetings with young women. These resources can significantly nurture our understanding of Scripture, but they are not a necessity for our obedience. Sisters, let us be sure this truth is not lost in the best intentions of our message. Let us make sure this has not been misinterpreted in even the thoughts we preach to ourselves.
If God commands something in His Word, then God alone, through his Word, provides everything we need to obey:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the Man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV (emphasis mine)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3 ESV (emphasis mine)
Books and Bible studies are an incredible aid to our understanding, but if we rely, or teach the next generation, to lean on them as a required aid for obedience, we are bound to stumble. There will not always be a book related to the exact topic we (or our girls) are struggling with, but there is always a great high priest “who is every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin,” which is why we can “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV).
Let us teach the next generation to go to the Word, confident of receiving everything we need from a loving Father.
So what does this look like practically? Here’s how I’ve done this with my small group.
Read Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Tell your girls to read this Scripture with the lens to find God’s provision for obedience. This is not about our best performance. If God commands us to do something, He will make a way for us to do it. We need to learn to trust Him. As Jesus states in John 15, we can’t do anything without Him!
Ask them to identify the command, and then God’s provision for us.
The command: “Do not be anxious.”
The provision: God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds when we pray about everything with thanksgiving.
I believe our lives would be changed, and we would see the next generation of women transformed, if we were to read Scripture with the expectation of finding our answers, without first needing to look to books or friends or social media.
If this has encouraged you, Jen Wilkin’s article has great, more in-depth tips for teaching teenagers to study the Bible.
Lindsay Smith is a follower of Jesus living in Texas. She is the wife of a football coach and the mom of a precious son, who joined their family through the miracle of adoption. She is a writer, coffee connoisseur, and “expert” shoe shopper. For the last decade, she has been discipling teenage girls and believes God is doing a mighty work in the next generation. Connect with Lindsay: Instagram