Build a house of cards
THE BIG IDEA:
The Bible is God’s word and provides a strong foundation for our faith.
We view the Bible as a collection of legends or myths. Many of us don’t realize that the stories in the Bible are true and that the Bible has not changed over the years.
Begin reading the Bible for ourselves and trust it as the authority in our lives.
Like the parable we’re reading today, this is a picture of a house built on a rock. The builder knew that the rock would be a firm foundation and would hold up to the coastal storms. In the same way, we can trust the Bible to be a firm foundation that we can build our lives upon without fear. When the storms come, our faith can stand strong because the Bible is a reliable foundation.
- What I want the group to know and understand: The Bible we have in our hands today is credible and true. We can trust that it is God’s word to us.
- What I want the group to experience: Excitement that we can be completely confident in the trustworthiness of our Bible.
- How I want the group to respond: By living and acting with confidence that the Bible is God’s word and is true.
NOTE TO LEADER:
In this study we are talking about the reliability of the Bible. We think it is important for you to know the difference between the words RELIABLE and TRUE here. Reliable simply means that we can trust that the Bible we have has not been changed over the years and was written by real people about real events. We completely believe that everything in the Bible is completely TRUE, but the content in this study does not prove that the Bible is TRUE (that God is real, that Jesus is the only way, etc) it only shows that it is RELIABLE (we can trust that the Bible we have has not been changed over the years and was written by real people about real events). We just want you to be prepared for that conversation in case it comes up in your group.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Christianity is built on the Bible. If we can’t trust the Bible, our entire belief system begins to fall apart. If the Bible is not reliable, then how can we know that what it says about God is true? How do we know if Jesus can, in fact, free us from our sins? As our culture claims that the Bible is outdated, not relevant to our lives, and has been changed over time, we need to counter those lies with the truth about its reliability. When we learn to trust in the reliability of God’s word, we will be able to more readily apply it to our lives and see God transform us.
1. Article on the Reliability of Scripture – to send to students or to read before your study to be better prepared for the conversation.
Kadarius and Terence were walking around the city looking for a birthday gift for Terence’s girlfriend Candice. She wanted a really nice watch, and he had been saving up for months to get the brand he knew she liked. They had been shocked to see the prices at the big-name department store and decided to get a hamburger and talk about it. On their way to the restaurant a man approached them and opened a case full of expensive watches. They couldn’t believe the bargain prices, and Terence snapped one up right away. “Candice will love this,” he told Kadarius. He was right. Candice did love it until the day after her birthday when it quit working and the watch band fell apart. Where did Terence go wrong?
Today we are talking about how the Bible is reliable, like the real watch, not the fake one. How do we know we can trust the Bible to be so reliable that we can base how we live our lives upon it?
Read Matthew 7:24-27
Jesus tells a story here of two men, one wise and one foolish.
1. Describe the first man. What did he do right?
He was wise. He built on a firm foundation. He thought about what he was building his house on before he began building.
2. Now describe the second man. Where did he go wrong?
He was foolish because he spent a lot of time building a house, but gave little thought to where he was building it. He didn’t realize that his foundation wasn’t reliable.
3. What was the end result?
The man who built his house on the reliable foundation still had a house after the storm was gone. The man with the unreliable foundation lost everything he had built.
4. What would you have advised the foolish man to do if you could have given him advice before he built his house?
Check your foundation first. It is worth the time to make sure you have a strong foundation before you build your whole house. If the foundation isn’t strong, all your building will be wasted.
5. What does this story have to do with whether or not the Bible is reliable?
If the Bible is not reliable, then we are like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. Our faith would be built on something that crumbles under pressure. However, because the Bible is indeed reliable, we can be confident that we are like the man building his house on the rock. The Bible stands up under any test we throw at it.
6. Why would it matter to your faith whether the Bible is reliable or not?
Allow the group to discuss.
7. If someone questioned your belief that you can trust the Bible, what would you say?
Allow the group to discuss..
Determining whether the Bible is reliable isn’t a science question that you can test in a lab. It is more of a courtroom question where you weigh evidence and decide what is most reasonable. On the next page, we have a few pieces of the many evidences for the Bible’s reliability. We hope that this is helpful as you wrestle with the Bible’s reliability.
8. Look at the “Evidence” list. There are 8 pieces of evidence listed there that help us trust that the Bible is God’s Word. Below the line are 8 sentences that tell why each evidence is valuable to us. Match the evidence to the meaning by writing the number of the evidence in the box.
Do your best to make sure everyone participates. If it is appropriate, and you have time, feel free to have a little discussion about any of the evidences that you feel are especially important. Help the students understand why they point to the reliability of the Bible.
9. Which piece of evidence means the most to you and why?
Allow the group to discuss.
10. If this were a game show and I was going to give you 1 million dollars to know the right answer to the question, “Is the Bible Reliable?”, what would you say? Would you research it to find out more?
Allow the group to discuss. Tell them that much more than 1 million dollars is at stake. If the Bible is true, then their eternities rest on what it says about how to connect with God. It would be well worth their time to wrestle with this question.
Leader: Read each evidence one by one and ask your students to read tell you which meaning goes with it. In their copy the Evidence and Meanings are not paired up so they will be trying to match them.
Evidence: At least 10 non-Christian writers living around the time of Jesus also talked about him, and what they said was consistent with what the Bible says.
Meaning: This shows that Jesus was a real historical person and that he was well-known at the time even by non-Christians.
Evidence: The Bible was written by over 40 authors in vastly different walks of life (poor shepherd, fisherman, king, prisoner, etc.) over the span of 1500 years, but has one consistent message.
Meaning: Any human book written like this would have drastically different views and contradictions. The fact that the Bible is consistent in its view throughout points toward the Bible as a divine book, written by God through these men.
Evidence: Archeological digs continue to prove the Bible by finding evidence of the stories in the Bible. Not a single archaeological find has conflicted with what the Bible records. In fact, many archeologists have been aided in their search by the descriptions in the Bible.
Meaning: This gives us more confidence that the stories in the Bible actually happened in real places as we find evidence of them still today.
Evidence: Some people claim that the Bible is full of contradictions but, when asked, they can’t name any. When they do bring them up, a closer look at the Bible shows that the contradiction was really just a misunderstanding of what the Bible was really saying.
Meaning: Knowing that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself gives us confidence that it is true and worth reading and applying to our lives.
Evidence: There are 24,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament compared to 643 of Homer’s Iliad, and only 7 copies of Plato — many more than any other ancient writing.
Meaning: Manuscripts are really, really old copies of these books. If we trust our copies of Homer’s Iliad and Plato to be accurately translated over the years, we should also trust the New Testament that has far more, and more reliable, manuscripts than any other ancient writing.
Evidence: There are over 140 details in the Gospels that only eyewitnesses would have known or written down.
Meaning: These details point to the fact that the Gospels in the New Testament were written by people who were actually there, not written years later by someone making it up.
Evidence: The writers of the Bible include very embarrassing stories about themselves that make them look bad.
Meaning: If someone were making these stories up about themselves, they would have left out the parts that make them look bad. The fact that they left them in makes it more likely that they were writing the truth about what happened.
Evidence: The writers of the New Testament were killed by rulers who wanted them to admit that they were lying about what they wrote. These writers would not admit to lying. They decided to die instead.
Meaning: No one would die for a lie. If they made up the stories about Jesus and the early church, they would have chosen to admit that before they were killed, but every one of them chose to die instead. This is evidence that what they died for is true.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
A short study like this can only scratch the surface of this topic. The evidence about the reliability of the Bible out there is overwhelming. If you have questions about the reliability of the Bible, or want to dig more into this topic, here are a few great places to start…
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.