In teaching 20s & 30s on a regular basis I am finding the need to be relevant more and more important. It is not that relevance didn’t used to be important. It just seems theology disconnected from real life application tends to fall on deaf ears a lot quicker in young adults than in my experience in teaching older adults. Can anyone relate?
While all the books of the Bible have relevance and application there are several that stand out to me that seem to resonate very quickly with where many in their early adult years find themselves. Here are a few. What would you add?
- Gospel of Mark – action packed, to the point, and it doesn’t get any better than studying about Jesus when it comes to spiritual and identity formation. Today’s young adults are people of action and Mark tends to resonate well with them.
- Joshua – Trusting God’s lead & promise going into uncertain circumstances.
- Ephesians – I love them emphasis on where God has brought us from and where he is taking us to. This is spiritual formation and transformation at its best. So many of our young adults have not grown up as Christians, just like many in the first century, and can relate well with letters like Ephesians.
- Psalms – Are young adults aren’t afraid to express their emotions, much like David in the psalms. The full range of emotions and the since that the psalms are very real is appealing and attractive to young people.
- James – oh, so practical. Straight to the point with no beating around the bushes. So why not add Proverbs too.
- Proverbs – See James.
There are so many one could add to the list (again, all are relevant in their own way). What would you add and why?
I just found this blog while searching for Joshua resources! Sorry I missed this question earlier.
I think Ecclesiastes resonates deeply with 20s and 30s – as long as you don’t give away the ending too soon! Let the class see and experience The Teacher’s wrestling with exactly the same questions they each wrestle with at work, at home, with extended family, etc. Let them also be blown away by the “This Stuff Is In The BIBLE???” power of The Teacher’s questions and responses. Only then, when they’ve learned what the Teacher learned, let them hear the Teacher’s answer.
You have a lot of opportunities to let the Bible relate to the class, as well as opportunities to teach responsible interpretation – “Is the Teacher TEACHING this or SAYING this” sort of stuff.
I would add…
the book of Luke – Jesus as the perfect example of humanity. Jesus shows love and compassion for all people while identifying with them no matter their station or circumstances.
the book of Jeremiah – Starting out as a young man, he emerges as a real person (with all his questions, complaints, deep struggles, disgruntlements, internal conflicts and being misunderstood) throughout his journey with God and for God’s people.
My late teen and early adult years was an emotionally dark and difficult time for me. These two books provided me comfort, reassurance and stability. They have grown to become two of my favorite books of the Bible and I have frequently exposed my students to them throughout my teaching over the years.