Does Your Teen Know...? (Questionnaire below)
While there is little question that children should have fun, that they should enjoy the days when they are relatively carefree, but there is a time and a place for everything and the quest for amusement should in no way supersede Biblical knowledge. The concept that everything has to be ‘fun’ has insidiously crept into every aspect of American life and slowly begun to choke out other words like ‘duty’ and ‘responsibility’.
If our children are not well grounded in Scripture and Biblical truths, then how can we expect them to resist the temptations of the world around us? How can we expect them to withstand the permissiveness of the society we live in?
Besides which, I believe we vastly underestimate our children’s ability to grasp Biblical lessons. Obviously the amount of knowledge is directly related to the age of the child, but the average young person (in their early teens) is quite capable of comprehending virtually everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
If our idea of teaching them Biblical truths extends no further than Noah’s ark, then that is as much as they are going to gain knowledge of. Not quite enough to equip them to face the trials, temptations and snares in the world they are going to have to face. Or do we just hope that they will pick it up somewhere along the way? Obviously books like Romans are not for a younger teen, but it is amazing how even a thirteen year old can understand some of the concepts Paul tries to get across.
A few weeks ago my 14-year-old daughter came to me with a question. She asked what Calvinism was. (See Calvinism) Was I surprised? No! Not really! The hour-long discussion that ensued covered ‘Inclusivism’, ‘Exclusivism’, and ‘Pluralism’. While none of these topics were dealt with in minuscule detail, they were covered enough to where she was basically aware of what these doctrines claim, and what the Bible says. And no, she is no Einstein, just a regular teen-ager, whose favorite book happens to be Job. (I haven’t figured that one out yet).
There is no reason that an average Christian teenager should have no clue as to what they believe and why, should not be aware of the major heresies proliferating the church today, should not have some idea of what the larger cults are about (‘forewarned is forearmed’) and a very good idea of what the Bible says is to come.
Perhaps it would be well to ask yourself the following questions: (all of which are based on what I know that a fourteen year is able to understand and have a working knowledge of. The questions are not in order of importance (all of it is important) nor is this a very comprehensive list… There is so much more a young person the age of thirteen and above is capable of).
Does your child know how we can be sure that Jesus actually lived and why we can rely on the Bible? [See Section A Remarkable Book Called The Bible] That many events in Bible which previously passed as ‘pious tales’ were proved by archaeological excavations to be historical. Has he/she ever heard of one single archaeological find that has supported the Bible? [See Archaeology and The Bible]
That the Bible makes hundreds of specific predictions (centuries before the event in some cases) each one of which have come true. Is she/she aware of the unique authorship of the Bible? What the Dead Sea Scrolls are?
Is your child familiar with the book of Genesis.. how sin came into the world, the covenant God made with Abraham, how the 12 tribes came to be etc.
Is he/she aware of the ‘sin offering’ and how and why animals were sacrificed for the sins of the people? [See Salvation]
Most young people know the story of the parting of the Red Sea but have little idea of the significance of the Passover. (i.e. that Jesus was the Passover Lamb). [See The Seven Feasts of Israel]
Has your child ever heard of the ‘Holy of Holies’, the Tabernacle and the Mercy Seat?
Does he or she know who the judges were and why Israel switched to a king. Has your child ever read Samuel? Has he /she read the stories of David and how Solomon fell from grace. (All of which is really easy reading). Has your child even heard of Hannah, Eli and …. Yes, even Bathsheba?
Most young people know the story of Sampson, but have they ever heard of Deborah and Gideon?
Does your child know the difference between Israel and Judah, and why the Kingdom was divided? Who Jeroboam and Rehoboam were? Does he/she know anything about the kings that ruled over each of the kingdoms and who Elijah and Elisha were? Has he/she ever heard of the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal? Come to think of it, does he/she know who Baal is?
Does your child know what happened to Israel and who the Assyrians were. Most children seem to know the story of Jonah and the whale, but they do not have any idea of where Jonah went with his message, nor what the message was. Are they aware of whom the second prophet was that God sent to Nineveh, and what subsequently happened to Assyria.
Has your child even heard of Isaiah and Jeremiah? And maybe, just maybe, why Jeremiah was called the ‘weeping prophet’?
Does your child know who destroyed Solomon’s temple? Has your child ever heard of the Babylonian exile and why it happened? Does he/she know who Nehemiah was, and what he did? Who Ezra was?
Has he/she ever read the books of Ruth and Esther, or any of the Psalms?
Most young people know the story of Daniel in the lion’s den but does he/she know who Daniel was? That the prophet Daniel foretold the rise and fall of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks and the Romans… That he laid out a pretty amazing timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Has your teenager ever read the prayer of Daniel?
Does your child know that Israel’s return to their country was foretold in the Bible?
Has your teenager ever read any of the Minor Prophets? Does he/she know what Habakkuk and Amos said and why? Does he/she know that Malachi was the last prophet until John the Baptist.
Has your child ever actually read any of the Gospels? Does he/she know any of the Old Testament predictions that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus?
Does he or she have any grasp of the Resurrection and the importance it has to the Christian faith? [See Section on The Resurrection]
Has he/she read of Paul’s conversion and have any clue as to how much of the Old Testament he wrote?
Has your teen-ager ever read the books of James or Peter, or even know who James was? Does he/she know that we live in the age of great apostasy foretold in the Bible. [See Signs of The Times]
Has your teen ever heard of the Seven Churches of Revelation, The Two Witnesses, The White Throne Judgment and The New Jerusalem? [See Section The Future]
If your teen has not been warned about the following three categories, it may be too late if, at some point in the future, they fall prey to a Mormon “missionary”, start practicing Contemplative prayer or move to Texas and start attending Joel Osteen’s church.
Has your child ever heard of false prophets and what the Bible says about them? What the Bible says about mediums and spiritists? About communicating with the dead? [See Section The Occult]
Is your child even slightly familiar with what the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and other cults teach? Does he or she even know who Joseph Smith was? [See Cults]
Has your child ever heard of the ‘Prosperity / Word Of Faith’ doctrine, ‘Easy Christianity’ and other heresies? [See Prosperity / Word of Faith]
Does your teen have a real relationship with the Living God? Does he/she know that the Bible's message commands obedience and it’s claim is no academic exercise. Does he/she know that it is a matter of life and death?