Is The Bible Is True?

For Episode 005...

Brandon D. Smith joins us to talk about all the internal and external evidence that points to the truthfulness of the Bible. How do we know the Bible is true? How has the Bible been preserved for generations? Do we read the same text that the early church read? The Bible is the cornerstone of our faith, as it is where we learn about God and His plan to deliver His people through the work of Jesus on the cross, so knowing His Word and its reliability is so important. Brandon will help us sort through all of those questions.

You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering How Do We Know The Bible is True? on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Brandon Smith works with the Christian Standard Bible, serves as Editorial Director for the Center for Baptist Renewal, and co-hosts the Word Matters podcast with Trevin Wax. He is also one of the pastors at City Church in Murfreesboro, TN and has written a few books, including They Spoke of Me: How Jesus Unlocks the Old Testament.

We started off by asking Brandon to share with us what the best part of being a dad is. Here's what he said: 

  1. Learning the Father’s love and how our rebellion and affection feels

  2. The opportunity to make disciples in the messiness of everyday life -- they see sin, repentance, flaws, etc., which makes it easy to point to a perfect God

Parenting is such an opportunity for sanctification, right?

Our tough question is:
How do we know the Bible is true?

Here's a summary of what Brandon shared with us about the internal and external evidence that supports the reliability of the Bible. We also talked about how miraculous it is that the Bible has be preserved through rulers requiring that all manuscripts be burned within their empire, through generations of people, and through all sorts of other challenges pre-printing press. As Brandon says, If God gave us a book so that we might know Him, of course He is going to preserve it. Isn't it so good of God to do that for us? Here's that evidence:

  1. Internal evidence, or what the Bible says about itself
    2 TIm. 3:16-17 says that the Scriptures are inspired by or breathed out by God
    Often, Jesus says, "Haven't you read the Scriptures,” pointing to their importance.
    Ultimately, as Christians, there comes a point where we must believe it on faith and walk in obedience. There will always be mysteries or things we cannot completely explain because God is bigger than our comprehension and He didn't give us the answer to every little thing, but He gave us what we need to know Him and to know the message of the Gospel - that Jesus was sent so that He could pay the penalty for sin so that all who trust Him could have eternal life.

  2. External evidence, or evidence outside of the Biblical text
    - There are 5,600 ancient manuscripts of the NT (the next closest number of manuscripts of a specific text is Homer’s Iliad at 650, which is no comparison)
    - The earliest manuscript copies are dated within 100 years of Jesus’s resurrection, so those who held them to be true were probably within one generation of those who walked alongside Jesus and his disciples. Those taught directly by Jesus' disciples would still be leading in the church and would be able to determine if what Scripture said was actually what Jesus had also said. This is much closer than most ancient works. (Homer’s earliest copy is 500 years from the time of original writing)
    - An interesting note is that when the KJV was translated in 1611, translators only had access to 7 manuscripts (earliest 11th century / 1,000 years from writings), but in 2013 translation committees had access to 5600 manuscripts. This tells us that we’re getting closer than ever to what the originals said, not further away like some would like to believe.

So, why are translations updated and why are there new translations?

  1. This is why we continue to translate and revise: We know more now than we knew in 1611, and obviously our knowledge of ancient languages and culture is continuing to improve, therefore improving the translation. Often, there is no direct English word for what was intended in the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, so that is why you will see differing translations of the same verse. Different translators may come at the text with different philosophies, but all are seeking to be true to the original text. We must remember, though, that God’s Word is perfect even if our translation can continue to improve, but we trust that God preserves his Word since he chose it as the primary way to communicate to us.

Featured Resource

Word Matters is a podcast dedicated to helping Christians understand some of the most confusing passages of the Bible. Hosts Brandon Smith and Trevin Wax, along with special guests, help the audience both understand why the passage is difficult and how to teach it to others. Word Matters is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible.

Word Matters is a podcast dedicated to helping Christians understand some of the most confusing passages of the Bible. Hosts Brandon Smith and Trevin Wax, along with special guests, help the audience both understand why the passage is difficult and how to teach it to others. Word Matters is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible.

Last question for Brandon, and it was this one:

What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

  1. Pray

  2. Be consistent

  3. Be on the same page with your spouse (we fight for this because it’s difficult)

Consistency is key, and is also so difficult! Anybody with an amen? It's hard to send our sweet littles to time out for the same thing all day. It'd be so easy to just let it go, but they desperately need consistency, and then as they get older, too. As parents, our discipline is a reminder of the discipline that God does for His children. It's not always fun, but it is always out of love and for our benefit.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.

 

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

For Episode 004...

Rachel Swanson joins us to answer a question that her child recently asked, and it's a great one. If God is in control and He gets to decide all things, couldn't He have saved us some other way? Why did Jesus have to die? 

Rachel will tell us how she answered that question, and will share some more wisdom for busy parents, so if that's you (and I'm pretty sure "busy" describes about 99% of parents), then go ahead and listen in. 

You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering Why Should We Care About Diversity? on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Today’s guest is Rachel C. Swanson. She is a dental hygienist turned best-selling author, speaker and accredited christian life coach. Her best-selling book, "Big and Little Coloring Devotional," was birthed by her own struggle to keep it together as a busy mom of three children under two. Rachel has been married to her husband for eleven years, and they live in country town just outside Los Angeles, CA. You can learn more about Rachel by visiting her website at www.RachelCSwanson.com. 

Today’s guest is Rachel C. Swanson. She is a dental hygienist turned best-selling author, speaker and accredited christian life coach. Her best-selling book, "Big and Little Coloring Devotional," was birthed by her own struggle to keep it together as a busy mom of three children under two. Rachel has been married to her husband for eleven years, and they live in country town just outside Los Angeles, CA. You can learn more about Rachel by visiting her website at www.RachelCSwanson.com

 

Let's get to know Rachel a little better. She added a little quirk to her bio for us -- She is deaf in her left ear due to an illness at 6 months old. Isn't God kind to us that He has given us two ears and so many ways to communicate and to be healthy? God has shown His kindness to us, and to Rachel, in allowing her to continue to be able to do all she needs to do. 

So, let's just into our tough question, which is from Rachel's kids.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Ultimately, God is in control, and He dearly loves Jesus and also dearly loves us. Sin separated us from God, and only Jesus' sacrifice could fix this separation. Jesus was completely sinless, so He was the only suitable sacrifice to pay for sin before a holy, perfect, sinless God. Jesus died so that we could have a relationship with God forever, but also so that we could have that relationship now with abundant life in His presence. 

Because of Jesus' death, we can now pray and talk to God personally, rather than going through a priest like they did during Old Testament times. Jesus has become our High Priest, who prays for us and has provided the way for our relationship with God to be made right.

Basically, Jesus took our place. This is the concept of substitutionary atonement. Jesus took the punishment we deserved so that we could take His place as God's child. Man. That's incredible, right?

Featured Resource

This adorable devotional is bound at the top so that a parent or grandparent and child can sit across from each other, both coloring and working on their side of the book. And today, you can head over to the Questions Kids Ask group on Facebook to enter to win a copy! Let’s get back to the show.

How Do You Continue To Learn Yourself?

Take captive those small moments. Listen to Scripture in the car. Read as your kids put on their shoes or eat breakfast. Listen to podcasts while you are in the shower. Take every moment captive, and jump into God's Word even if only for 5 minutes at a time. 

Why Should We Care About Diversity?

In Episode 003, 
 

Trillia Newbell joins me to talk about diversity and championing the differences that God has created within the whole of humanity. 

You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering Why Should We Care About Diversity? on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy, Fear and Faith, United, and God’s Very Good Idea. She's been published in Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and more. Trillia is married to Thern and they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell. 

Trillia Newbell is the author of EnjoyFear and Faith, United, and God’s Very Good Idea. She's been published in Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and more. Trillia is married to Thern and they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell

We started off by asking Trillia, "What’s the best part of being a mom?"
She echoes what all of us mamas feel as we watch babies grow up:
"Just being with them and watching them grow and develop… and ultimately humble you because they repeat everything they here and mimic their parents long before parents realize that is what they are doing."

Tough Question: Why Should We Care About Diversity? How can we teach kids to champion differences?

Start with the Scriptures. In the beginning, when God created man, we see that He is made in the Imago Dei, or image of God. Every person is a bearer of God's image and that truth should effect the way we treat all people. 

With Genesis 1 as our foundation, we see that not only are our children created in the image of God, but everyone is – everyone from different ethnicities are created by our Creator God, so if we can start there, then everyone is equal. From there – Jesus died on the cross for every tribe, tongue, and nation and has tasked us to go and make disciples of all nations.
And one day we’ll be worshipping together.

Our eternal kingdom is very diverse.

Let’s celebrate differences because they were God’s idea.

We do have to make known the realities of sin. Sin is the reason we hate one another or can’t get along, but we don't have to stay there. God wants to root out the sin in our lives and bring us into fellowship with Him and with others. 

Also, kids will take on the attitudes of parents.

So, whatever you are teaching about race and diversity and how to treat people, they are probably going to pick up.

I asked Trillia, 
"What are some practical ways that families might be more involved with diversity?"
Here are a few she gave:
- Invite people who are not like you to your table.
- Talk to your neighbors.
- Shop in a new area of town.
- Invite people into your life and into your home.
- You also can talk about history and culture and foods and music and bring that into your home so that they aren’t surprised when they meet someone different, but are excited because they’ve been thinking about it for a long time.
There are really easy ways to implement this, you just have to be intentional.

Trillia seeks to  introduce her kids to new cultures and foods by cooking a dish, listening to music, and learning about the people from those specific cultures. What a fun idea for familes!

God has created a wonderful, beautiful diverse world and we can enjoy it and rejoice in it.

Featured Resource

I told Trillia in this episode about how much my kids love this book, and that is not an exaggeration. The illustrations in this book are absolutely adorable, and the driving concept is one every kid needs: that differences and diversity should be celebrated because these were created by God and they were very good ideas. This book will help children see how people from all ethnic and social backgrounds are valuable to God and how Jesus came to rescue all kinds of people. You can get it anywhere books are sold.

Do you disciple your children differently?

Trillia said, "Of course, we are teaching them to walk similarly because Scripture lays out pretty clearly what it looks like to walk well, but our two kids are also so different! We have to talk to them differently, lead them differently, and disciple them differently."

 

How Can God Be Three In One?

For Episode 002...

Micah Fries joins us to help us understand how we can best talk to our kids about the Trinity. Helping kids understand this truth is so important - that kids understand that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are One. It would be easy to move into believing that we actually serve three Gods (tritheism) or to believe that God is One, acting in three different ways (modalism). Either of these take us to a place we don't want to be - so how do we explain that God is three Persons? Micah is here to help us. 

You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering How Can God Be Three In One? (Questions About the Trinity) on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Micah Fries is the Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. He and his wife, Tracy, have three super fun kids. He has written a few books including Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and he has a book coming with B&H Academic soon called Islam and North America: Loving our Muslim Neighbors. Micah is also the co-host of the @ESTChurch podcast. 

To start us off, Micah shared what the most difficult part of being a dad has been. He mentioned the process of adoption, which was absolutely grueling, and we'll talk a little more about in another episode, but we talked most about walking with our kids through death - particularly that of grandparents. I haven't walked through this yet, but I know it has to be one the absolute hardest things about parenting and life in general - trying to walk through grief in a way that honors the Lord ourselves, and also with our kids.

Big question: How can God be three in One?

Are there helpful analogies?
Micah helps us understand that all analogies that help us get closer are helpful analogies. Of course, there is no such thing as a one to one analogy. So every analogy that we have is going to be limited. They don’t completely get at it, but it’s okay because we’re never going to get there. If you think you understand it, then you are wrong.

And I want a God that I cannot fundamentally completely understand.
If we could fully understand Him, then wouldn’t He just be a bigger version of me?
I want a God that is beyond my comprehension, and that’s exactly who He is.
Two things to remember:
1.     Any analogy that helps to get us closer to understanding is a good analogy.
2.     Mystery is your friend and it is okay to say that you don’t fully get it and it’s okay if they don’t either.

One good analogy is just like a three-in-one soap that includes shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all in one. Three Persons. One God.

Kids also take so much on faith and are comfortable with mystery. More than half of a kids’ world is mystery. How do airplanes fly? How do cars move? The mystery of the Trinity can be similar.

Featured Resource:

Want a commentary that doesn’t feel like an academic textbook? And couldn’t the minor prophets use a little more attention anyway?

Final question:

What habits can we implement to continue to grow and glean from God’s Word?
Micah reminded us of the "normal" answers (have a quiet time, spend time in the Word, memorize Scripture…), but also shared about the importance of music as a part of our spiritual development. 

Micah said, "The most influential theologians in my life are now creatives – especially musicians. Music stirs the heart and mind in a way that the spoken word cannot. Thoughtful musicians who try to communicate the Word in a fresh, powerful way are a great way for me to study anew passages. (Andrew Peterson is a great example, and I would Keith + Kristyn Getty as well.)

So - daily quiet time, podcasts, and all of those "normal" things...yes.
But what are some other ways that stir your heart and emotions?

We also talked about The Greatest Showman, so you don’t want to miss that.
Here's the YouTube video we mention. It's a fantastic movie that reminds us to celebrate the differences of people, to value all, to never let our dreams become more important than the relationships that God has entrusted to us, and is just an example of heart-felt, stirring music. I mean, in the video here, Hugh Jackman literally sung stitches out from a major surgery and had to have them redone. Music can move the soul. 

We are wired for worship.

God designed us that way – for passionate, heart-felt body and soul moving worship. It’s how God made us. Music that is rooted in Scripture and theologically significant matters because it takes God’s word and stirs heart and affection and mind all at the same time.

 

Is God Happy With Me?

Guys - this is it! Episode 001.

It's been a long time coming, and Lisa Harper was the perfect person to get us started. 
You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering Is God Happy with Me? on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Lisa Harper is one of the nicest people I've ever met, and also is one of the most theologically solid. She is the author of twelve books including Believing Jesus and The Sacrament of Happy, and has also written curriculum on Malachi, Hebrews, and Mark, and she has an upcoming one on Job that is going to be amazing. Lisa is the mom of Missy, who she got to adopt from Haiti. Lisa is so wise and so fun! What other mom has a sidecar on her motorcycle that she drives through the school pick up line?

Lisa Harper is one of the nicest people I've ever met, and also is one of the most theologically solid. She is the author of twelve books including Believing Jesus and The Sacrament of Happy, and has also written curriculum on Malachi, Hebrews, and Mark, and she has an upcoming one on Job that is going to be amazing. Lisa is the mom of Missy, who she got to adopt from Haiti. Lisa is so wise and so fun! What other mom has a sidecar on her motorcycle that she drives through the school pick up line?

We started this conversation by asking Lisa her favorite part of being a mom. And of course, she responded with, "There's nothing I don't love, except my schedule, and that I'm tired every. single. day." (Amen, mamas? No one warned me about the funk you live in of happy exhaustion as a mama. I wouldn't change it for the world, but I would love a little bit of sleep every now and then.)

Lisa also said: "My little girl loves life and sees it as a gift, and everyday she is grateful. When we get older, it’s easier to see life as the glass as half empty. Missy reminds me to look at life through the eyes of gratitude – to be grateful about every good thing that God gives us."

Love that.

Big question:
Is God Happy? Is He Happy with Me?

The word "happy" is in the Bible 85 times in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Over and over again He says that He is happy and that He is happy with us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says Our God is might to save. He sings song of delight over us.
The word there “delight” in Hebrew, really depicts God smiling and laughing.

Absolutely He is happy with us. We are His beloved, clothed in the robes of righteousness through Jesus. We are justified through faith in Christ, who took on God's wrath so that we might be able to have a right relationship with Him.

And now, He sings over us!

Lisa Harper grew up thinking God was part librarian, part roaring lion.

She said, "The idea that God smiles when He sees me coming and that He sings songs over me undoes me. Sometimes, I’m so aware of my depravity, the idea of my own belovedness is a lot harder for me to hold on to (like wet soap.) In meaning for good things, we focus so much on our downfalls. We are so aware of our failures, but forget about God’s goodness and grace when we focus only on our sin.

Having a high opinion of God does not mean that we have a low view of ourselves. He says we are beautiful and wonderfully made.

When we focus on how low we are, it’s actually narcissistic.
To have a higher view of God equates with having a higher view of ourselves because we see ourselves the way that God sees us.

Overall, we want our kids to see God as smiling toward them, and for them to see themselves the way that God sees them: as His dearly beloved.

Lisa, how do you continue to learn?

I’m to the point in my life where I can’t live without Jesus. (I'm there, too. Are you?)
I’m always listening to podcasts and reading books. I read veraciously. Sometimes I revisit seminary notes to get fresh reminders of how He has revealed Himself. I think the best teachers are better students. And my child is constantly pointing me back to study Scripture as she asks questions I don’t know the answer to.

We hope that you are constantly being pointed back to Scripture by your kids as they ask questions, and we hope that you know that you are dearly loved and can communicate God's happiness and love for His children to the sweet kiddos in your home today!

Featured Resource

If you want a deeper answer to today's big question, make sure to grab Lisa's newest book, The Sacrament of Happy. So often, we forget that God is indeed a smiling God who sings over us, and this book discovers the theology behind this concept with storytelling, Bible truths, and a lot of laughs. It's available anywhere books are sold.

We'd love for you to leave us a review so other parents might find this podcast and join us on Facebook and tell us what questions your kids are asking and how we can better help you answer the questions that they have. We're cheering you on!

Podcast Coming Soon!

In early 2018, be expecting to see a new podcast in the neighborhood of the internet. 
I'm booking guests, recording interviews, and answering questions I think will meet needs. Stay tuned for more details! 

 

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Why do bad things happen? Does God really care? How do we know the Bible is true?

Kids ask tough questions, and being the parent who has to answer those questions is even tougher.

In each episode, you'll get to eavesdrop on a conversation about parenting and raising kids who know what they believe and why they believe it.