Scroll through instagram. Did you notice a sunrise or maybe a cup of coffee pictured as a background to a Bible verse? For the 21st century Christian, that one sentence may be all the Scripture they read.
“There’s a bad habit in this generation to see the Bible as a kind of one-line-at-a-time book of inspiration, a bunch of tweetable points of wisdom,” said University of Arkansas Baptist Campus Minister Cole Penick. But, the Bible is more complex; it needs a deeper study. “It’s not a lucky rabbit’s foot to rub in the morning in order to have a good day,” he said.
“It’s a general church problem–the idea that the Bible should be easy, the biggest lessons should be surface,” said Millennial Pastor at Cross Church, Springdale Andy Jennings. Once the average reader hits a roadblock, they revert to what’s comfortable. Even in ‘powerhouse youth groups’ Andy guesstimates by the time students graduate, they read only 10 % of the Bible. He tells students to read the Scriptures cover to cover and to read it over and over “to learn to digest it for yourself without expecting to understand it the first time.”
Studying the Bible is “a learned skill,” said Cole. It’s foundational. “We study the Bible and we share the Gospel,” he said. “Those work in tandem for our ministry.” A deep understanding of Scripture anchors students, he said. It keeps their evangelical message Biblically sound– void of ignorance, error and misrepresentation of the Gospel.
The Bible is Cole’s reference for the “ 3 Circles of Evangelism” breakaway session he’s leading at the Lead>Defend conference. The conference is March 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Andy will also lead a session called “More than an Instagram Post: How to Understand the Bible.”
Last year, over 600 high school, college students and young adults attended the apologetics/ leadership one-day conference. Lead>Defend is sponsored by the College + Young Leaders Team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.