One of the most challenging things about growing up in our world today is trying to understand the concept of truth – especially for Christian young people. The world tends to believe truth is somehow fluid. We can choose to believe whether we think something is true or not – facts or evidence often have very little to do with it. In fact, the idea of having “your truth” and it being equally as valid or true as someone else’s totally opposite “truth” seems to be widely accepted.
God, however, has a much more rigid view of truth. He created a world where some things are indeed true or false – regardless of anyone’s opinion. He expects us to believe and obey His truths. God tells us to reject any so-called “truths” that conflict with His truths.
Which creates a dilemma for many young people. They are willing to believe anything a person they admire or respect tells them, regardless of how it relates to what God has to say. In fact, many don’t know enough about the Bible to have any idea what God says on a variety of popularly discussed topics.
There’s a fun activity you can do with elementary aged Bible students that can help them begin to understand the concept of absolute truth and God’s position in choosing what we believe is true. It requires a little extra work on your part, but done regularly, it can help your students become more discerning about what they believe is true.
First, find some quotes from the Bible – particularly in Proverbs – and some “wise” sayings from people like Benjamin Franklin. Start with statements that are clearly true or false – or at least not substantiated in the Bible. Tell students they have three ways they can “vote” when given a quote: “true”, “false”, “may or may not be true”. So for example, anything found in the Bible from God would be “true”. Something said in the Bible by a person or from someone modern may match God’s wisdom and be true, may contradict God and be false, or may address something God doesn’t mention – in which case it may or may not be true.
Start with just a handful of rather obvious examples. As time goes on and students become more savvy, make the quotes more difficult. For students who really know their Bible well, you may want to omit the name of who generated the quote. With older students, encourage them to give Bible verses (or the lack thereof) that discuss the topic to back up what they decided.
You can find other ways to make this more challenging over time. If you choose to use a quote from someone known to be evil – omit his or her name so students must decide by the quote and not the reputation of the person. Or find something true the person said. Another thing that often stumps people is thinking people, like Job’s friends for example, shared truths, when God later rebuked them for what they said.
Throughout the activity, constantly remind students that God is the source of all truth. They cannot reject God’s truths and expect God to be pleased. If students are upset to find someone they admire has said something that goes against what God has to say, you may want to take time and explain why this is one of the reasons we share our faith – so others can learn God’s truths.
Helping your students learn how to decide whether or not a statement they hear or read is truth give them protection from all sorts of false truths they will hear over the course of their lifetimes. It is an important Christian life skill they all need to learn..