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Spiritual Growth

What If My Teenager Asks Me a Bible Question I Cannot Answer?

One of the biggest fears that I hear from parents is that they are scared to death that their kid is going to ask them a question about God or the Bible that they have no idea how to answer. We hear parents say all the time, “I’m not a preacher or “I’m no bible teacher.” The reality is that when we as parents don’t know the answers, we can eventually become anxious and may try to avoid or deflect the questions.

If that is how you feel, I’ve got good news for you today. We must remember that faith-based conversations at home are the best way to pass down faith to your kids. That statement is worth repeating so hear me one more time. Faith-based conversations at home between kids and their parents are the best way to stir up faith in our kids’ lives. What that means is we as parents don’t have to have all the answers, but we do have to have the conversations. We can’t tap out of this. This isn’t something that we can just check out for fear of our teen thinking any less of us. If we’re not talking about it, then we’re shutting off our kids from the opportunity to learn about the most important thing that we believe.

We must be willing to put ourselves out there and to receive questions, even if we don’t know the answer. Be willing to have the conversations, because research shows that their chances of catching on to what you believe increases drastically. You may be thinking, “But I can’t pass on the truth that I don’t know” and of course you are right, but that does not change our role. It means two things: One, we should commit to growing in our faith as much or more than we are hoping them to grow in their own faith. Secondly, we must have the courage to respond to their question with a simple “I don’t know.” Even better, you can answer their questions with, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.”

The beauty of this statement is that it opens up to the important conversations your teenager needs at that moment. Not only that, you have an opportunity to tell them more than WHAT to think, but HOW to think. You can lead them to discover answers together with you and then talk about them. This approach frees them up to think, “You know what? I can learn about God or pursue a relationship with God without having to have all the answers figured out. I can go learn and grow and search for answers. I don’t have to have it all figured out to get started.” What a beautiful gift you can give them. A simple, “I don’t know, but let’s find out” can lead them to the answers and the sources of those answers you want them to trust. The journey of discovery will help you grow not only in knowledge but in your relationship together.

A few quick suggestions to keep in mind:
1. When they ask a question they are ready for an answer. If you don’t help them with the answer, rest assured they can find other answers to their questions elsewhere. Google is a click away. Speaking of Google…

2. Please don’t just Google it to find the answers you need. Google can be a beautiful thing. It can help provide answers about virtually anything there is to know. That does not mean that those answers are always correct, especially regarding the truth about God or the Bible.

3. Find a good starting place. There is seemingly no end in thoughts about ways to understand God or read Scripture, that does not mean that all of those thoughts are equally valuable. The last thing you want is to mislead your teenager into something that is damaging. Find good resource material from trusted sources, such as a good study bible or book on your topic of interest. If you have trouble finding what you need, your student ministry team is here to help point you in the right direction.

This is a journey, for sure, but it’s a journey worth taking. Because this is a journey, we don’t have to have everything figured out. This is an opportunity to walk with them and turn it into an adventure of discovery and growing faith. You can do this parents! God will use you to shape their faith and do lasting work in your life in the process.