This article is written by our granddaughter, Stephanie Brewster, who is attending The Kings College in New York City, New York. Their classes are in the Empire State Building. Our second born son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Diane, have taught Stephanie to study the Word of God and to search out what she believes. She was sharing with us over Christmas how she felt parents should insist their children read the Bible for themselves and we asked her to write an article for us.
I’ve always been a reader. I started reading everything I could get my hands on at a very young age, and more than once my parents have had to pull a book out of my hands and remind me of the chores I was supposed to be doing.
But I never was interested in reading the Bible. Sure, I sat through plenty of sermons in January in which my pastor talked about wanting everyone in the church to read their Bible through for the year, but it never appealed to me.
The summer before I started high school, my dad sat me down and told me I needed to read the Bible. He said it was time for me to find out for myself what I really believe.
He knew that I would end up putting it off until we both forgot about this talk, so he gave me an incentive. I was not to pick up another book until I had read my Bible from cover to cover. He told me to just read it like I read everything else.
So I did. I decided to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation like I would any other book. And some of it was a struggle, but I made it.
This was the beginning of a summer tradition. Every summer, Dad would have me read through my Bible before school started.
My first year at college was at a secular university, and I knew that it was going to be a huge change for me as I had gone to a private Christian school all my life. I expected to meet Atheists and people of other religions, and I expected my faith to be challenged. And it was, for the most part, what I expected.
The next year I transferred to a Christian college. I expected that most people would believe as I did, because after all, this was a Christian school. But that wasn’t the case. Many of the students believed things that shocked me.
They didn’t believe in the same standards of morality and many other things, because times have changed. Surely Jesus wouldn’t want us to stick to an outdated code of conduct. Society has changed, and we must adapt along with it. Genesis is just a nice allegorical literary device. God could not have created the world in six days because science says that it’s impossible.
Many of them say these kinds of things because they don’t actually know what the Bible says and they don’t really know who God is. I had friends in my
Old Testament class who had never read any of the Old Testament and didn’t know anything about what it said, and I’m finding the same to be true in my New Testament class as well.
It is so easy to be led astray, especially for people in their teens and twenties. My secular university taught me a very important lesson. It isn’t “intellectual” to believe in Biblical truths. You are not considered “classy” or “well-educated” if you aren’t pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-feminism, and any other “pro-“ you can think of. And of course, who doesn’t want to be considered an “intellectual”?
Too many Christian students have bought into this ideology. They assume that their pastor or their church is just behind the times, preaching tradition, but they are better educated and “enlightened”.
Jesus told us to love people. That is the one thing they know. Jesus wouldn’t condemn anyone, they say. They are often shocked when they see what the Bible really teaches, what Jesus Himself really teaches.
Many times we only see the rules. And we tend to think that those rules couldn’t possibly apply to us today. But there is a principle behind each of those rules that we can apply to our lives no matter what time frame we live in.
The Bible is so important. It’s God speaking directly to us, but so many students I know never looked at it outside of a church sermon.
I am truly grateful to my father for forcing me to read the Bible that first time, and then forcing me to keep it up. And I honestly believe that more young people need to do the same. So many new ideas and belief systems are thrust upon us in college, whether secular or Christian, and we need to be better prepared or we will be taken in by whatever the “intellectual” society tells us.