What If I Make a Mistake?

Taken from the HelpFinder Bible

Although burning the breakfast toast is a mistake, it is trivial and leaves no lasting consequences. On the other hand, a doctor who misreads a chart has made a mistake of considerably greater implications. We all make mistakes. Some of our mistakes are innocent—we forget an appointment, we know the right answer on a math test but accidentally put down a different number.

Other mistakes are caused by bad judgment or a disregard for a rule or principle. For example, your boss asks you to do an important task and gives you detailed instructions on how to accomplish it. But you ignore those instructions because you think you know how the job should be done. You botch the job, and your company loses a lot of money. That is a significant mistake that could have been avoided if you had simply followed instructions.

The Bible is God’s instruction manual for life. If you neglect or ignore it, you will make many avoidable mistakes that will bring adversity and grief into your life. God wrote the Bible so that we could understand the rules, techniques, and principles for living the most effective, productive, and satisfying life possible. Follow its words, and many big mistakes can be avoided.

What does God think of my mistakes? Will he still love me if I’ve made a big mistake?
• PSALM 32:3, 5 | When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. . . . Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
• 1 JOHN 1:9 | But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us.
• PSALM 51:7 | Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
• PROVERBS 1:8-9 | My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

If your mistake is sin, confess it as such! God will forgive you completely. When you make a mistake that isn’t a sin, learn from it so that you can grow in character and maturity.

• JAMES 3:2 | Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we
would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
• ROMANS 8:28 | And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of
those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Operation Worship Changing Lives in Belize

With the help and support of generous donors Operation Worship was able to give a Bible to every member of the Belize Defense Force. Each had the Belize Military Logo. Find out more about Operation Worship and how you can help share God’s Word with people in the military all over the world.

Kids and the Bible: Are We Discipling Nonreaders?

Many adults are struggling to read the Bible. We know this. At some level it’s understandable because the Bible is a big, complicated, and very ancient book. Yet the Bible is where Christianity gets its story, so the faith community needs to be deeply committed to knowing it well regardless of the challenges.

If adults are struggling, what should we expect from kids? If the Bible is tough going for the grownups, it’s going to be even tougher for young readers, right?

In a word . . . yes. But maybe it’s time to look at how we’ve been trying to introduce kids to the Bible. What, exactly, has been our goal? What’s the right expectation for kids reading, knowing, and understanding the Bible? And what would the path to solid Bible fluency look like for kids?

Where We’ve Been

Simply from looking at our standard Bible curricula, it would seem that what’s actually happening is that we have other goals besides fluency (spiritual formation, teaching morals, building faith, etc.) that cause us to use the Bible in certain ways. The intended purpose is not often to foster a deep engagement with Scripture itself. As a result, within any given lesson the Bible is encountered merely as either a theme verse or two, or a safely paraphrased version of a “Bible story.”

Perhaps this approach is seen as a good and necessary adaptation of the Bible for readers who are young and not yet proficient. That makes sense, right? Well. . .

The problem with giving children only a verse or two is that this approach tends to stick around as readers get older. Even into adulthood we continue to show and teach the Scriptures by referring to select Bible verses. The consequence of this is that many people persist in thinking the Bible is in fact a collection of these verses (and if they are honest, admitting that some verses are better than others).

And the problem with an ongoing diet of paraphrased Bible stories is that such narrations are not actually the Bible. They are typically told with any age-inappropriate elements toned down or taken out. And of course, any paraphrase represents someone’s interpretation of the essence of a particular story.

All of this is appropriate in a sense, but there’s also a danger here. Many of these “safe” versions of the stories are never replaced with the actual biblical texts as kids turn into teenagers and then young adults. This means that young readers often wind up not learning the way biblical language actually sounds and actually works. And older kids never learn to engage with the stronger, stranger, more complex versions of these stories that the Bible actually tells.

When do we get around to teaching young adults how to handle the real Bible?

Furthermore, these collections of paraphrased stories are often treated as stand-alone lessons, so kids don’t ever learn how the stories are connected and how they build on each other to tell the bigger biblical narrative. And rarely are different kinds of literary writings acknowledged. A curriculum constructed of “Bible stories” will naturally have difficulty incorporating letters, songs, wisdom sayings, and other literary varieties in Scripture.

So are we discipling kids into not being Bible readers?

What would the average child take away from their long-term experience with the Bible in our current teaching approach? Have they taken the first steps toward receiving the Bible on its own terms? Or have they been taught to use the Bible in simplistic and misleading ways?

I’m reminded of a conversation we had with a prominent publisher of children’s Sunday School resources and Bible curricula. After reviewing their programs and comparing them with our perspective on Bible engagement, one of their executives, deep in thought, looked up and said, “So you’re telling me that if our programs are successful, we are actually producing generations of non–Bible readers.”

Are kids growing up learning that the Bible is a book to be read? Do kids have any inkling of the big story? Are they falling in love with Jesus—that is, with Jesus as understood in the context of the overall narrative?

What To Do?

At the Institute for Bible Reading, we’re working on answers to these reading problems. As young people within the church grow up, graduate, and head out on their own in various ways, a healthy and hearty appetite for Bible reading doesn’t seem to be going with them. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that there is a low number of adults in the church who are engaged in Bible reading and comprehension. People are following the path that’s been laid out for them, and then we scramble to convert adults into Bible readers. We are failing to show them the way in the first place.

So what would change look like?

The downward trajectory of Bible engagement in the church needs to be reversed if we are to fully receive the profound gift that we have in God’s Word. A Bibleless Christianity won’t be a vibrant and affective Christianity.

Let’s chart a course for a new future for kids and the Bible, so that kids know the Bible the right way at the right age and stage, and appropriately grow into the Bible. We want kids who not only love the Bible but also learn how to read it intelligently and well, so they don’t turn away from it the first time they encounter its opponents.

Read more about Bible engagement from the Institute for Bible Reading

Learn more about Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience

Hear what happens when a group of high school students read the New Testament

What Happens When We Let Teens Actually Read the Bible?

“Our students have heard a lot of words about the words of the Bible. When it comes to actually reading or hearing the words of Scripture themselves, they find it more interesting than the words about the words of Scripture that they have been hearing their whole lives,” Matt Laidlaw, Dean of Students, Calvin Christian High School.

Hear what happens when the sophomore New Testament class at Calvin Christian High School is immersed in the life-transforming Word of God—not simply being told about the Bible but reading the Bible without distractions.

The Word

Taken from the Illustrated Study Bible

John raises the curtain on his Gospel with a stunning description of Jesus Christ as “the Word” (Greek logos, 1:1). Both Greek and Jewish listeners in the first century would immediately recognize the profound meaning of this title. Greeks would have thought of the seminal forces that sustain the universe. Jewish minds would have thought back to God creating the world with his word (Gen 1:3‑28). In Jesus’ day, the Word of God took on creative personal attributes (Ps 33:6, 9). Jews viewed God’s Word as personifying divine wisdom. Through Wisdom, God extended himself into the cosmos, creating the world (Prov 8:22‑31).

In John’s drama, Jesus shares the same essence as God; the Son existed before time, and he was the agent of all creation. John anchors the divinity of Jesus in this ancient Jewish concept of Wisdom. The divine Wisdom that has existed from before time with God can now be known in Jesus Christ. In perhaps the most outrageous verse penned by an apostle, John writes that this Logos, this Wisdom, became flesh and lived among us as a human (John 1:14). What God is, the Logos is, and the Logos is Jesus Christ.

Who You Talkin’ About?

by Carolyn Larsen, taken from the Inspire for Girls Bible

“If wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die.” Ezekiel 18:21, NLT

So who’s wicked? You are. What? Scripture tells us that all people are wicked. We are all sinners, so you are also a sinner. That means that you are prone to disobey and disappoint God, even if you don’t mean to or want to.

But there is hope. When you talk to God, admit your sins and tell him you are sorry. He grants forgiveness and second chances to those who sincerely believe and are sorry.

Don’t give up hope for your own redemption from God just because you mess up big time. When you recognize your need for forgiveness and ask God, he will forgive you. Don’t get so filled up with pride that you don’t think you need God’s forgiveness. Be honest with God and yourself. Admit that you mess up. Admit that you need his forgiveness. Ask God to forgive you and to help you do better. He promises to forgive you and to help you learn to obey him.

Dear God, I need your help. I can’t obey your commands without your strength and help in my life. Please help me. I want to obey you! In Jesus’ name, Amen

Learn more about the Inspire for Girls Bible


Throughout the Beyond Suffering Bible Joni Eareckson Tada shares personal insights on how God can use anything, even suffering, to bring us closer to him and display his glory. When our lives don’t go the way we want, when the suffering and pain seem too much to bear we have a choice, we can either rely on God or let bitterness consume us. Read what Joni has to say about a time when God brought her face-to-face with her own tendency to hold on to bitterness.

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Troubles. Hardships. Calamities. Ever heard that old adage, “Bad things come in threes”? It’s only folk wisdom, but somehow it seems true.

Bitterness was a temptation for me in the early days of my paralysis. Deep inside I knew it was wrong, but I justified myself by saying, “Surely God won’t mind if I let off a little steam now and then. After all, I am paralyzed!” But as many of us have learned, indulging in bitterness leads us down a path to even more despair and bitterness.

As if that trouble wasn’t enough, God added a second hardship. Several months into my hospital stay, I had an operation on my lower spine. After the surgery, I was forced to life face down for fifteen days while the stiches healed. “I am sick and tired of this,” I complained out loud.

Then, the third distress came: I caught the flu. Suddenly, not being able to move was peanuts compared to not being able to breathe. I was miserable! But as I thought about it, I understood what God was doing. No longer was my bitterness a tiny trickle; it was a raging torrent that could not be ignored. It was as if God was holding my anger up before my face and saying lovingly but firmly, “Stop turning your head and looking the other way. This bitterness has got to go. What are you going to do about it?”

The pressure had gotten so strong that I was either going to give the situation over to him completely or allow myself to wallow in bitterness. Faced with that ultimatum, I was able to clearly see what a wicked course bitterness would be. Sometimes troubles, hardships, and distresses—in groups of three (or more!)—back us into a corner and force us to seriously consider the lordship of Christ.

Lord, when troubles pile on, may I look to you for help and hope.

Find out more about Joni and her team at Joni and Friends .

Looks Inside the Beyond Suffering Bible

Making Sense of Faith in Suffering

WAY-FM’s World’s Biggest Small Group recently did a study on where God is in suffering. They used the Beyond Suffering Bible to explore how to connect the goodness of God with the pain and suffering we see in this world.

Having been a quadriplegic for fifty years after a tragic diving accident, suffering from chronic pain, and battling breast cancer, Joni understands the why question. But it wasn’t until she stopped asking why with a clenched fist and started asking why with a searching heart that she found hope.

In this study she shares the 10 words that changed her life and motivated her to bring God’s infinite hope to a hurting world. Hear her share her heart.

Learn more about the Beyond Suffering Bible study on WAY Nation

Look inside the Beyond Suffering Bible

What is Prayer?

One of the themes that we focus on during the Lenten Season is prayer. Though most of us have prayed do we truly understand what prayer is? Let’s explore by seeing what the HelpFinder Bible has to say about prayer. The following is taken from the HelpFinder Bible index.

The most universally practiced yet least understood of human experiences, prayer is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. Its simplest definition is communication with God. Yet so often we approach prayer like a one-way telephone conversation, forgetting that God also wants to speak to us. And how do we pray—on our knees or standing; silently or out loud; alone or with others; by rote or spontaneously? And does prayer really induce God to change events or otherwise act on our behalf? Prayer appears on almost countless pages of the Bible as the very essence of a faith relationship with the living God. Simple enough for a child to understand and yet so profound we spend a lifetime plumbing its depths, prayer assumes that it is possible for us to have an intimate relationship with a God who hears, cares, and is able to act.

What is prayer?
2 CHRONICLES 7:14 | “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven.”
Prayer is a conversation with God. It is simply talking with God and listening to him, honestly telling him your thoughts and feelings, praising him, thanking him, confessing sin, and asking for his help and advice. The essence of prayer is humbly entering the very presence of almighty God.

PSALM 38:18 | But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
1 JOHN 1:9 | But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Prayer often begins with a confession of sin. It is through confession that you demonstrate the humility necessary for open lines of communication with the almighty, holy God.

1 SAMUEL 14:36 | But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.”
2 SAMUEL 5:19 | So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines?”
Prayer is asking God for guidance and waiting for his direction and leading.

MARK 1:35 | Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Prayer is an expression of an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father, who makes his own love and resources available to you. Just as you enjoy being with people you love, you enjoy spending time with God as you get to know him better and understand just how much he loves you.

PSALM 9:1-2 | I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart. . . . I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
Through prayer we praise our mighty God.

1 CHRONICLES 17:16-18 | “Who am I, O Lord God . . . that you have brought me this far? . . . You know what your servant is really like.”
Prayer is humbly acknowledging our humanness in relation to God’s greatness and perfection.

1 SAMUEL 3:10 | And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
Good conversation also includes listening, so make time for God to speak to you. When you listen to God, he will make his wisdom and plan known to you.

Take a Look Inside the HelpFinder Bible