Have you ever attended an event and then later read an article about it and thought they got some of the details entirely wrong? Sometimes it’s sloppy reporting, but often it’s because the reporter didn’t double check his facts and just wrote down what he thought he remembered. It can happen to even the best of reporters, especially when they are in a hurry to get the story told.
Sadly, it happens in Bible classes too. Not because teachers are trying to spread false doctrine, but often because we think we remember the story accurately and don’t bother to double check or read it directly from the Bible. Literature is often printed with extra details not found in the Bible or some of the same mistakes teachers often make. (Don’t even get me started on “Bible” movies!)
It may not seem like a big deal if you leave a few animals off of the Ark (extra pairs of clean animals) or throw in a few extra windows and doors. The problem is the unspoken message it sends to our children. Not being careful about the details tells our students they don’t need to worry about the detailed instructions God gives us for living our lives. As long as we get the gist of it, we should be just fine.
As much as the New Testament is a book of grace, it is also filled with plenty of commands and warnings about what will happen if we ignore them. We have to help our students begin to understand the details do indeed matter to God. What better way than to make sure we teach those details accurately?
So the next time you are tempted to say “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” (misquoted scripture – actually more temptation) or tell a Bible story from memory, take a few extra seconds. Look up the scripture or story and make sure you have the details right. Better yet, read the scriptures directly to your students. And if you have the time, tell them God does indeed care about the details!