Foolish and Unlearned Questions Avoid

When I was a summer camp counselor at a Christian camp in 1999, I once had a cabin full of younger junior high campers.

One of my campers at least was only in sixth grade, and he was a bus kid. That means his parents were lost, but that the church came by every week and took him to Sunday School in a big bus full of other kids. Obviously, this kid knew very little about the Bible—only what he couldn’t help learning once a week on Sunday mornings. But here he was at camp, in my cabin on the first day.

Another kid made it to my cabin from perhaps even worse circumstances. He came from a single-parent family and had bounced around to different churches until his mom ended up at the one that brought him to camp. He hadn’t been there long, and knew next to nothing about the Bible.

He brought with him a little dark blue NIV that he had probably never read more than five words from (including “Holy Bible, New International Version”). The first boy, the bus kid, saw that Bible on the first day of camp and said, “Oh, man! Get that thing out of here! You should burn that!” Dan did not take kindly to this Bible-burning order, and there were shouts fired. Naturally, I came in to resolve this dispute. and I told the bus kid that he was wrong, and that Dan could use his little Bible just fine.

Here was a bus kid who didn’t know Jacob from Jerusalem or Jericho from Joash. But he knew that the NIV was wicked, fit only to be burned! This is what he learned at church! This is what a sixth-grade bus kid learned when he went to church once a week.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” 2 Tim. 2:23

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

One thought on “Foolish and Unlearned Questions Avoid”

  1. Mark, this almost makes me sick, though not because of shock. I once had a girl in my teen SS class much like the girl you describe. New Christian, immature, parents were new Christians also. She was also a little behind academically, and probably read at a 3rd or 4th-grade level.

    Her comprehension was limited, so when I saw her come in one day with a new Bible and noticed that it was an NIV, I was thrilled. Not because I like the NIV, but because I was convinced that, for her, the NIV was going to be significantly more profitable for her than a KJV. I didn’t comment on the version specifically, but I admired her Bible as any good SS teacher would, and encouraged her to read it.

    Two weeks later, she had a prayer request. She needed a new Bible. I was a little perplexed. “What happened to the one you just got?,” I asked. “Oh,” she replied, “I threw it away.” I tried to conceal my shock at least a little and asked why.

    She explained that someone had told her that it was “the Devil’s Bible” and that it was “full of lies.” The lady went on to tell her to throw it away and get a “real” BIble. She wasn’t too sure about that, so she asked her Dad about it. He looked up John 3:16, and sure enough, it didn’t look like the John 3:16 he had in His Bible, so they threw it away.

    Now, she has a KJV. She never reads it, and when someone reads it to her, she doesn’t understand it. But at least she has a “real” Bible.

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