I was teaching the middle school students in the church gym. My wife and I actually feel a strong call to middle school. For us, it was a miserable time of life. I had acne, thick glasses, insomnia, and stress that seemed consuming. I felt like no one understood. That is probably because no one understood. So I promised myself those many years ago that I would not forget and that I would never insult the 13 year old by reminiscing about the hallowed days of youth. Middle school is still difficult. We just hope to demonstrate acceptance for a group that feels unliked, unloved.
The lesson was about Scripture. That is where I’ll begin explaining my reasons for belief. I’d like to share the influences on my thought. I have a list of the books that I’ve read for the last eight years. But since childhood Scripture has had the most influence. You could successfully argue that my bias toward following Christ was established at an early age. I’m willing, even eager, to explore that.
But for now, how do I regard Scripture? I’ll first start by defining what I mean. Scripture is how I refer to the Bible. I accept most modern English translations and personally use the English Standard Version.
I started by asking how many middle schoolers used phones to text. Over 90% did. I then pulled out my own iPhone. I asked them to imagine a room the size of our gym filled with computers the size of SUVs. That was the technology required to put a man on the moon in 1969 – – a date before many of their parents were born. The iPhone contains more computing power and connectivity than that NASA war room. All of the world’s knowledge in my hand. All ignorance now a choice.
Then I pulled out a pen and piece of paper and asked them to choose. Which represented the greatest achievement of man – – pen and paper or computer technology? I’m sure that I led them, but they chose pen and paper. The ability to go from oral history to written history changed the world forever.
Our text was 2 Peter 1:19-21. You may recall that Russell quoted 1 Peter 3:16 in the tagline of our blog. Like I usually do with Scripture, I tried to read in context. So I started in verse 16.
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
So Peter, a Jewish small businessman (commercial fisher), claimed that he was there. He possessed the world changing technology to write down his observations in his lifetime. That was it. That’s where I start. Maybe too simple. Maybe I’ve assumed too much. But that is where it starts for me as I consider Scripture. I’ll have more to say. Russell and I are not in a hurry. To be honest, I can’t teach anyone unless I learn first. I’m still chewing on it. Do I believe that Peter was an eyewitness? Do I believe that he possessed the technology required to record his observations and reflections with fidelity? If so I can get to weightier questions . . . do I believe he was telling the truth?