On Friday I asked learners from one of my New Testament classes (high school seniors), “How can an ancient text written many years ago help people to deal with their lives today?” After giving them a few minutes to reflect and write, I got some insightful responses:
- The texts describe human nature, which is constant, no matter the time period
- The texts contain stories which can help readers enter into the experience because they can identify with those same experiences
- The texts provide moral instruction, which is constant
- The texts describe problems people encounter; and problems are constant
- How people respond to the text – positively and negatively – indicates the text’s relevancy, and therefore, there is much to be gleaned from such texts
- Characters’ interactions with a higher being provide guidance for readers seeking guidance
- The texts provide structure and principles by which adherents can live
This was a great activity, I think, because each learner heard the thinking of their peers, and therefore, could comment on what they had to say during the whole class discussion. And even as important, my learners could see that the texts, no matter if the class is required for graduation, and no matter that they themselves may or may not be Christian, are important and have value to their own lives. It’s so much better for them to come to that conclusion than me telling them that the texts have value and giving them reasons why.
Great way to start out the course.