Simplifying Scripture for Students

Chesterton once said that the simplification of anything is always sensational. I was reminded of this quote earlier this summer as I prepared my camp sermons. I decided to develop a simple summary statement about what I believe about the Bible to use at the opening of my teaching times.

I’ve heard youth camp speakers throw out theological terms about the Bible to teenagers without explaining them. I want to communicate to students that I’m preaching from a Bible I believe to be both sufficient and authoritative, but I want to do it in a clear way that explains some of the associated terms and ideas.

At youth camp we spend a lot of time looking to the Bible, digging around mining the treasures of God’s Word. But we generally do so, or at least I have done so, with the operative assumption that students understand why we spend so much time looking at this ancient book. So, this is what I’ve come up with for a basic summary statement to express why Christians care so much about the Bible:

The Bible is authored by God, which is what we mean when we say it is inspired. God used men to write the Bible in a way that communicates exactly what He wanted without error. That’s what we mean when we say the Bible is inerrant. The Bible is given to us, to Christians, to the church, and will accomplish exactly what God intends for it to accomplish. That’s what we mean when we say the Bible is infallible.

This week at camp when we open up our Bible for a sermon I will repeat some form of this statement. This morning I said, “Let’s look at this passage (today it was Philippians 3) remembering it is authored by God, which means it’s inspired. God used men to communicate his message without error, which means it’s inerrant. God has given His Word to us and it will accomplish exactly what He intends, which means it’s infallible. The Bible is authored by God, written by men, and given to us. It is inspired, inerrant, and infallible.”

This is a simple summary. Some students will need a more detailed explanation. But for me it’s a good starting point. I’m sure it will undergo some edits but I thought I would pass it along for those who might find it helpful.