“All Scripture is God-breathed…” This verse out of 2nd Timothy is often quoted in the church as a defense for the reliability of God’s word (which I completely affirm). We use it in student ministry to equip our students to trust in the Bible as the source of truth for their lives. As I was reading this passage this morning I noticed something interesting in the in verses surrounding vs. 16-17 (you know, that thing called context). Paul sets up a progression that culminates with “All Scripture is God-breathed.” The progression goes like this….

Vs. 10 – You’ve watched me live my life and you’ve heard my teaching. You’ve see how they’ve lined up.

Vs. 11-13 – You’ve seen my hardships and have heard that suffering for Jesus is a norm for believers.

Vs. 14 – You must remain faithful to what you’ve been taught BECAUSE you can trust those who have been teaching you.

Vs. 16-17 – Because of this you have seen that Scripture is useful for all sorts of things..teaching, correcting, good works.

The implication is that there is a connection between trust in leadership and a reliance on God’s word. If we want the teens in our churches to truly trust in God’s word, there there has to be a trust in the people teaching them God’s word. Parents, preachers, and youth pastors need to gain the trust of teens before they will trust what we teach.

Another way to put it is this…“Teens will value what we value if they value their relationship with us.” (borrowed from Marko). Still another way is this…“Teens will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (thanks Young Life).

How do we build the kind of trust in our teens so that they remain faithful to our teaching? The example Paul sets is this: Let teens watch you live and show them how YOU rely on God’s word in a variety of situations. Do this A LOT and connect what your teaching with how you are living.

Trust and leadership go hand and hand. You can never really lead until you are trusted. The degree with which you are trustworthy is at least somewhat correlated with how much your teens will remain faithful to God’s word.

What is your trust rating right now? How well do you think the teens and families in your ministry trust in who you are and what you’re teaching?