As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:14–15, esv).
People who study evangelistic patterns around the world have long identified one particular area of the globe as being the neediest for the gospel. Known as the 10/40 Window, it covers portions of North Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia, in a horizontal rectangle that roughly conforms to the space between 10º and 40º north latitude. Statistical research says there are more people in these countries and island nations than anywhere else on the planet who possess no Bible, know nothing about the gospel, and have never heard the name of Jesus. They are the least-reached and hardest-to-reach of all people on the earth.
But lately folks have been talking not so much about the 10/40 Window as the 14/21 Window. Rather than a geographical area, this imaginary box is shaped around demographics, specifically around young people between the ages of 14 and 21. They’re not the least-reached population in the world, rather they are the most reachable, the most receptive. Of all the salvation decisions that are made for Jesus Christ, the majority of them—by far—happen among individuals in this age group.
I bring this up for one reason: May God help us invest increasing effort into making sure more of our children and students hear the Bible taught and see it faithfully lived out, because we know it is able to make them “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
The Word will not fail these kids, even if you’re not the most skilled or adept at sharing it, or you don’t know where to start. All of the Bible is included in this challenge from Paul to young Timothy—all sixty-six books, all the chapters, all the verses.
Here’s why I can say that. See him mention, first, how “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings.” The original Greek wording for “sacred writings” is hiera grammata, meaning the portion of Scripture we now call the Old Testament (which was all that was available to people at that time). But as he said in the next verse, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, nasb). “All Scripture” comes from the Greek word graphe, which is how the early church referred to what’s now become our New Testament.
Put these two things together, and you get all of it. “All Scripture.” God-breathed. “Able to make you wise for salvation.”
I’m thinking today about a specific 13- or 14-year-old kid somewhere out in the crowd during a Friday night message I delivered recently at a conference. I happened to spot him as I was preaching on Ephesians 2:8–9 about why being good is not good enough, and why we all depend wholly on the grace of God. At first he appeared thoroughly disinterested, but I remember the moment I saw him connect to that Scripture—the moment he started to listen—and then I saw the moment when God broke him. By the time I invited people to come to Christ, this young kid was sobbing so hard that I came down off the platform to hug him.
The Word is the Word regardless of which window you take it into, and no matter where you hold it up before people. Just know that anyplace you share it, every part of His Word is able to do every bit of its work to draw any human heart into all of life with Jesus.
In what ways do you intentionally share God’s Word with lost people?
How might you prayerfully use the Word in more of your dealings with the kids God has placed in your life?
Lord, help me see what power You’ve placed in our hands by giving us Your Word. Thank You for using it to make salvation clear to me and to draw me to Yourself. Open my heart now and expand my vision for taking its truth into all the places You take me. I pray specifically for this generation of kids and students. May I be as eager to share as they are to hear, and may You cause Your Word to be like a magnet to their searching hearts, in Jesus’ name, amen.