Have you ever fallen for an Internet hoax? We all know it’s easy to pass around unreliable information and even easier to fall prey to the deliberate lies floating around cyberspace.
Share this video with your teens [2:12]:
“Digital Bytes: Internet Hoaxes”
When you finish watching the news clip, discuss the following questions:
- Can you remember ever falling for a story you read on the Internet that ended up being fake? What was it—and why did you think it was true? (We sometimes believe things simply because it’s in print or because our friend posted a news story. Let students share their experiences.)
- Why is the Internet increasingly unreliable? (There is very little accountability or fact-checking online. The anonymity of an author or the secrecy behind source material makes it very difficult to test the reliability of what we are seeing and reading.)
- Are certain groups more susceptible to being duped by a false story? (Answers will vary. Some might say that teenagers and children are most vulnerable. Others might cite senior citizens or those falling prey to “confirmation bias”—the phenomenon where we are more likely to believe something false if it lines up with what we really want to hear.)
- What are some things to look for when deciding the reliability of a source? (The credibility of an organization, its past practices, the number of experts consulted, the motive behind the story, the evidence from eyewitness accounts, and so forth can all speak to the reliability of what we read and hear.)
It’s easy to become a skeptic in an age of loose facts, and these days doubt seems much easier to adopt than assurance. But when it comes to the Bible, a book that has been meticulously studied for centuries, we can have faith that it is a trustworthy place to learn about God and His message to mankind.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
It is one thing to believe in the historical reliability of the Bible, but it’s another thing entirely to believe that it can and should direct the course of your life. As Christians, we rely on the Bible to steer us in the right direction. It doesn’t shift depending on our circumstances.
Either assign partners or let students choose someone with whom they are comfortable sharing. Ask your pairs to discuss the following questions together:
- Is the Bible going to tell us exactly what to do in every situation in our lives? Why not? (The Bible gives us everything we need to live a godly life; it is full of fundamental truths that can be applied to any life situation. Everything we will ever face is spoken to in God’s instruction manual. But it does not give a detailed, step-by-step formula for individual situations.)
- Can you think of specific commands that the Bible expects a follower of Jesus to obey? Do these transcend cultural norms and trends? (Students will think of many examples from the Ten Commandments, to the Sermon on the Mount, to prohibitions against certain behaviors, etc.)
- What if two people disagree on an interpretation of a verse or section of the Bible? Does that make it unreliable? (We are flawed interpreters, often seeing the Bible through our own biases and backgrounds. But that spotlights our own shortcomings, not God’s. We must diligently ask God for clarity and study His Word wisely.)
The Bible is a collection of 66 distinct books, all written to show us God’s character and point us to the gospel of Jesus. We spend far more time learning about math, grammar, history, physics, and other subjects than we do the most important book to our Christian faith. So, let’s do a little summer homework!
Have your students get out their smartphones (if someone does not have one, ask them to share with someone who does). Have your students go to the following website and type “How do we know the Bible is reliable?” in the search feature.
GotQuestions: How do we know the Bible is reliable?
There are over 30 articles listed in response to the question; challenge them to pick at least one and study what it has to say. They can start reading now if time allows. Have students without a smartphone give their contact info to their partner so that the partner can send them the link to look up when they get home. Encourage your teens to come back next week prepared to share one thing they discovered at the website.
Reading the Bible can be frustrating and instructive, encouraging and convicting—all at the same time. We can study it over a lifetime and still not comprehend all of its complexity. But at the same time, it gives us a compass that leads us to the right direction. It is always reliable and its wisdom will not change despite our own shortcomings.
When you are finished, pray together for the wisdom and diligence required to understand His Word, and a heart eager to obey it
(For our adult customers: we are not affiliated with and do not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, our editors carefully review the referenced material and non-references web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before showing links in the classroom.)
(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)