Each month, the Confirmation Playlist will provide youth an opportunity to dig deeper into faith topics.
Students: Complete the playlist at your own pace during the month. When you're finished, send an email to Pastor Andrea with your answers to the "Closing Reflections" questions. Closing reflections are due Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
NOVEMBER PLAYLIST THEME:
The Bible is the bestselling book of all time, with more than 5 billion copies in print. It’s been translated into more languages than any other book. Yet the Bible remains a mystery to many people, who aren’t sure how to read it or why so many people disagree so much about what it says.
The purpose of this playlist is to help students explore:
How did we get the Bible? What ideas and skills can help us understand what it says? What is it like to interpret a reading?
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that as we read what is on the page, we will hear your living word speaking into our lives. Guide us as we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest your written word, so that we will be nurtured in faith and embrace the hope of eternal life which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
ACTIVITY 1: HOW DID WE GET THE BIBLE?
Ever wonder how the Bible was collected and transmitted over thousands of years? Watch “The History of the Bible, Animated.”
Watch this video to get a closer look at one of the oldest intact copies of the New Testament:
Reflection questions: What is parchment made of? What were some of the technical and logistical challenges that had to be overcome when copying and manufacturing copies of the Bible? (When you think about it, the fact that the Bible survived at all is a miracle!)
ACTIVITY 2: WHAT'S THE GENRE?
Within the pages of the Bible we find many different types or genres, or texts. What are these? Find out by reading this post: “The Many Genres of Scripture.”
Reflection questions: In your own words, try to describe the difference between “narrative” and “poetry.” How are these different from “epistles”? Why would the style or genre of a passage matter to how we read and understand it? For example, what might go wrong in our interpretation if we tried to read poetry as if it were a story?
Next, take a look at the following passages. Use them to practice identifying the literary style! BONUS: Test your parents and see how they do! (See the bottom of this page for the answers)
1. Psalm 23
ACTIVITY 3: HOW DO WE KNOW THE "RIGHT" WAY TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE?
When reading the Bible, it can sometimes be hard to know if what we think we’re hearing is “right” or not. One strategy that helps is to read the Bible along with others, so that we can listen and pray together to understand what God wants for us.
Another strategy is to remember that anything we think or believe about God needs to be consistent with what we learn about God through Jesus.
Watch this video that asks, “Would Jesus say 'Amen!' to this?”
Following this strategy assumes that we know Jesus’ story well.
What do you know now about Jesus’ life and teaching?
What do you think Jesus had faith in? What was most important to him?
Bonus: If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, then take a few minutes to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-6: 34).
What seems most important to Jesus here?
ACTIVITY 4: INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE:
Select one of the following activities:
Option 1: Interpreting the Bible’s Stories of Creation
The beginning of the Bible tells us about the beginning of creation, when God made the heavens and the earth. While Genesis 1-2 looks like story or “narrative” on the page, it’s much more like poetry or a parable in its language and use of imagery. In this activity you will spend time exploring and interpreting the Bible’s story of Creation.
In your own words, what does science say about how the world was made? Based on your current knowledge, what does the Bible say about how the world was made?
Watch this video:
According to this speaker, how is a “house story” different from a “home story”?
Read Genesis 1:1-2:4: Take some notes about what happens, and in what order. What does God do? How does God create the world and its creatures?
Read Genesis 2:5-25: Again, take some notes about what happens, and in what order. What does God do? How does God create the world and its creatures?
One of the key theological concerns that we see reflected in each of these stories is the kind of relationship God intends between humankind and the rest of creation. Based on what you’ve read, how would you describe that relationship?
What are some differences you see between the two stories? Why do you think these differences are important? Why do you think they’re NOT important?
Option 2: Interpreting the Parable of the Prodigal Son
A parable is a simple story that illustrates something complex. Jesus often told parables to help his followers understand who God is and what God cares about, as well as what it looks like when God’s love is allowed to rule the world. In this activity you will spend time exploring and interpreting one of the best known parables Jesus told, the story of the “Prodigal Son.”
Read the parable here: Luke 15:11-32
You might also want to watch this video that depicts Jesus telling the story:
How would you retell this parable in your own words?
What do you think this story is about? What is its central message? What is Jesus telling us about God and God’s love?
One of the reasons different people interpret the Bible in different ways is because of where we live and what we know. Scholars call this our “social location.” Watch this brief video to learn how people in the US, Russia, and Tanzania heard something different in the parable you just read.
Finally, how would you describe your social location?
Send an email to Pastor Andrea (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 24 that answers these three questions:
What’s something that you found interesting in what you watched or read?
Which option did you pick for Activity 4 (Creation Story or Prodigal Son)? Share three (3) things you learned about the story and how to read it.
Based on these activities, what’s something you’re wondering about now?
Answer Key for Activity 1
1. Poetry 2. Gospel 3. Apocalypse 4. Law 5. Narrative