Lesson Developed by
What's in the Bible? Ethics and Ethical Quandries
Tips to Prepare
- Set chairs in a circle or around a table if meeting in person
- If meeting remotely, set up a virtual platform with breakout rooms, and have all materials available to share on your screen
- A copy of The Christmas Story from Week 1 (attached)
- Print out or screen share of 1 Corinthians 11:1-12 and 14:34-35
1 Corinthians 11:1-12
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Introduction for Leaders
The Bible is a complicated work, and it contains things that don’t always make sense for youth, because: a) humans are complicated, and so it can be difficult to understand God; b) we live in a different time and it can be difficult to relate to writings in the Bible; and c) the Bible doesn’t always provide easy answers. The Bible is still relevant, and its grand narrative tells a better story than the smaller stories do.
While we have provided a structure for the study, our hope is that you will use these pieces to craft your session and contextualize it for your group. You might use some of these pieces, or all of them. May the Spirit lead you as you customize your sessions!
We will highlight the relevant scholarly interviews and discussion guides from YDS Professors to assist you in your preparation for each week’s lesson.
- Check in with group members
- Open in prayer
Activity 1: Telephone Game, Part II
- Ask if anyone remembers the Christmas story?? Have them do their best to reiterate it.
- Explain that this is like what writing the Bible was like. The major themes are remembered, but the rest of it is likely forgotten, with some details missing and others added.
- Ask students to remember the bit about Milo stealing Lucy’s puzzle pieces and hiding them, and then he loses his bear as a consequence. Does all of that strike you as terrible, or pretty much status quo when kids are playing? This leads into our conversation about what’s actually inside the Bible…
Activity 2: The Ethics of Scripture
- Ask students to assume that the Christmas story was in the Bible. What would we think about Milo taking the puzzle pieces, and about his mom taking away the bear? (That this was normal human stuff.) Just because it’s in the Bible, doesn’t mean that people are perfect.
- What if the story were told from Milo’s perspective? How would be describe his mom taking away the bear? (This is how the writers of the Bible see God; they’re trying their best to make sense of a God who acts. All before they knew about: germs, the creation of the universe, evolution, etc.)
Activity 3: We Live in a Different Time
- Hand out (or screen share) copies of 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35. Ask for general impressions.
- Then hand out copies of 1 Corinthians 11: 1-12. Ask for general impressions. (Women were prophesying in church, but in certain ways. Still, this probably sounds problematic to our ears today.)
- This is all contextually-based. It has been suggested that women and men were seated separately in the synagogues at the time, and were disrupting worship by shouting to one another.
- This was also written for women in a very patriarchal society; women were typically not allowed to be well-educated, or to speak in public gatherings. This would have, in some ways, been progressive for its day.
- Paul was one person who wrote this, for a specific church in a specific time. These can’t be taken as universals.
- As we know these things today, the Bible does not address: dating; monogamy, homosexuality; and so many other things.
- It does address universal themes: caring for one another; God is love; reaching out to the disenfranchised/marginalized in society.
Not all of it has easy answers:
- Answer any questions the kids may have brought with them. (NOTE: This takes a fair bit of courage, and some knowledge of the Scriptures. But even if leaders don’t know all of the answers, this act truly honors where the kids are, and shows them that adults take their questions seriously.)
- Name that reading the Bible is a journey of discovery, and means different things to different people at different times in their lives. It is also best done in a community, and as a discussion.
- Close in prayer.