Using Misconceptions as Faith Building Exercises

Do you have any idea of how much your Bible students not only learn, but understand from your lessons? It’s one thing to be able to quote something God wants them to do, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily understand what it mean or how to put it into practice. There’s an exercise you can do with however, that can help you know how much they really do understand. It can also help young people who are struggling gain some additional understanding.

First you need to identify an area of faith development you want to assess. Let’s take a relatively simple one – lying. Find or write a short story that involves various characters telling the truth, tell lies and especially telling the types of lies that young people might justify as acceptable. Make sure to cover popular misconceptions about what is the “good”, “fair”, “just”, or “loving” thing to do in a given situation. You can make the story as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Once you have finished telling the story, ask students to analyze it. At what points did characters make godly choices? When did they make poor or sinful choices and more importantly, when did they disobey any of God’s commands?

To make it easier, you may want to start with doing this verbally as a class and helping students analyze the story. Try to give every student a chance to talk. Talk through their answers. Have older students give scriptures to back up their choices – even if they are just summarizing a scripture.

As students become more familiar with the exercise, make it more challenging. Add elements that are realistic, but may cause young people difficulty in knowing what God would have them do. You can even add common misconceptions people who aren’t Christians have about God, the Bible and Christianity. (Then add the challenge to identify misconceptions and explain the biblical truth about the matter.) Challenge them to come up with their own stories and see how challenging they can make them.

Want to challenge them even more? Have them correct the poor or sinful choices characters made and tell how the story might change when different choices are utilized. It is important to be realistic. Telling the truth, for example, doesn’t always have a happy ending. The character may suffer negative consequences for something, when telling a lie might have helped them escape punishment. Be sure and discuss why making the godly choice is still in the character’s best interest – even if it means temporary pain.

Giving your Bible students opportunities to analyze and correct popular misconceptions can increase understanding of biblical truths. It can also better prepare them should those situations ever occur in their own lives.

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