Rooted Recommends: Gavin Ortlund and C. John Collins on Reading Genesis

As youth ministers, we probably all know a student, or even one of our own peers, who cites a perceived conflict between science and faith as a reason for walking away from Christ and his Church. Increased skepticism in our culture and a growing buzz among Christians about the relationship between science and faith has led many of us to give more thoughtful focus to these questions in our ministries. And of course, as we seek to teach our students the whole counsel of Scripture, youth ministers must give focus to teaching Genesis.

In a recent interview on Gavin Ortlund’s new YouTube channel, Genesis scholar Dr. C. John Collins provides a framework for pastors and laypeople to use in reading the first chapters of Genesis. Many of his comments break down the material shared in his book Reading Genesis Well: Navigating History, Poetry, Science, and Truth in Genesis 1-11 in a manner that is applicable to the questions teenagers may be asking: Questions like, is a “day” in Genesis meant to convey a 24-hour period? Why does Genesis use such ordinary language (vs. scientific) to describe the origins of life?

By offering perspective on the linguistic background of Genesis, Dr. Collins gives youth ministers greater confidence in the trustworthiness of the text. He shares that the anxiety we may feel concerning tensions between the text and scientific community’s answers about origins are often a good sign of our commitment to follow the biblical text where it leads us.

May we likewise seek to help our students have confidence in the Bible and in the God of the Bible as we wrestle together with these important questions.

Chelsea is Editor of Youth Ministry Content and the Director of Publishing for Rooted. She previously served as a youth pastor in New England churches for 13 years and participates on the advisory council at the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership at Gordon College. Chelsea and her husband, Steve, live north of Boston and are parents to Wells and Emmett. She holds an M.Div from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where she is currently pursuing a Master of Theology (Th.M.) in Old Testament Studies. Chelsea is passionate about teaching teenagers biblical theology and helping them learn to study Scripture for themselves.

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