Will your students leave college with a functional understanding of how to address Bible difficulties?
Maybe your teaching style nears an exegetical preaching approach, complete with addressing textual or interpretive difficulties that may arise in the text. But most college ministers don’t teach in this style. And even when some do work exegetically through texts, they’re unlikely to sense a need to highlight each biblical difficulty.
But avoiding thorny issues because of the opportunity cost of discussing them doesn’t mean students don’t need some dose of the subject matter. In fact, a dose now serves as purposeful inoculation for that day when a critic of the biblical text raises (real and valid) concerns about some passage or another. Christian young adults who have been sheltered from a realistic recognition of the numerous “tricky spots” in the Bible may find themselves disillusioned in a serious way – and lost about steps to take or how important this sudden, jarring realization really is.
(The same issue comes up with any sort of apologetics. If we don’t train people early to treat apologetic issues realistically and with humility, then strong arguments “from the other side” will land with more weight than they may even deserve.)
So how are you training students for the day they encounter scholars (Christian or otherwise) differing over what the Bible means or over what the Bible says? Will your students already realize this takes place – along with helpful strategies for seeking out scholarship, the ability to ask good questions, and a lasting trust in the Bible and the God of the Bible with issues that remain obscure?