John 8:32; John 14:6
To encourage students to think about what ‘truth’ means, whether they are always truthful, and why Jesus said that he is ‘truth’.
Things you’ll need:
- Statements for the ‘True or False?’ quiz.
- For the game of Call my Bluff: a ‘word’ written out for display on a large piece of paper; 3 definitions written on cards, 1 of which is correct (choose a word that the young people are extremely unlikely to have heard before, and that, preferably, sounds funny).
Prepare what you’ll need for the ‘True or False’ quiz and the game of Call my Bluff.
1 Start by telling the students that you are going to read out some statements and they must decide whether they are ‘true or ‘false’.
Use your list of statements prepared beforehand. You could include factual statements which are definitely either true or false, and also include some which are to do with beliefs, opinions and values in order to encourage discussion, for example:
- The acceleration due to gravity is 9.81 m/s on Earth [True]
- Mozart wrote ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ [True]
- The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066 [True]
- Life exists on other planets
- I love my parents
- The sun rises in the east
- God exists
- Smoking is bad for your health
- The Bible is true
Talk about some of their answers. Ask them what criteria they used to decide if the statement was true or false.
2 Play a version of the TV quiz game, Call my Bluff.
- Display the ‘word’.
- Ask for three volunteers to come to the front who think they can convincingly say what the word means. Give each person one of the ‘definition’ cards. Only one person has the card with the correct meaning; the other two ‘meanings’ are incorrect.
- Get each of the volunteers to read their card, then to tell the audience what the word means as convincingly as they can.
- When the three volunteers have finished, ask the audience to vote on which they think is the true meaning.
- Now, reveal the ‘true’ one. Again, ask the question: What criteria did you use to decide if what you were being told was true or false?
- Ask: ‘So, what is truth?’ Get the students to come up with some definitions. Depending on time, you could ask for a volunteer to write up some of the suggestions on a flipchart or OHP for everyone to see.
- Read out the two Bible passages (John 8:32 and John 14:6). Ask the students some open-ended questions about the passages, for example:
- The Bible speaks of Jesus as being ‘the truth’. What do you think that means?
- What is meant by ‘the truth will set you free’? What ‘truth’ was Jesus talking about?
Note: Be careful how you speak about these verses, remembering that there may well be faith groups other than Christian present in the assembly. Where appropriate, use the phrase, ‘Christians believe that…’.
3 Can students think of some ways in which knowing or telling the truth about things makes them ‘free’, and examples of how being lied to, or not knowing the truth can hurt people or make them confused?
In a time of quiet:
- Invite the students to think of a time recently when they have not been altogether truthful. Invite them to say sorry to God for their actions and thoughts.
- Say that one of the reasons Christians believe that the truth sets us free is because we can be forgiven through Jesus for all we’ve done wrong, including not always being truthful.
- Read out John 8:32: ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ (NCV)