Friday, December 10, 2010

New Bible Study Curriculum

In my last post, I shared that I'm going to read through the Bible using a curriculum titled The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study by Starr Meade.  Originally, I requested this curriculum to review because several families in the homeschool networks I'm a part of have been looking for Bible curriculums for middle and high school students.  I've reviewed three other books by Starr Meade this year (Mighty Acts of God, God's Mighty Acts in Creation, and God's Mighty Acts of Salvation).  I've been impressed by Ms. Meade's ability to convey difficult theological concepts at a very age appropriate level for elementary, middle, and high school students.

One of the questions one mom asked me about this study is whether or not it was practical.  I think she wanted to make sure that it was practical, but not solely application.  Here is Ms. Starr's response on pg. 12 to that concern: "Certainly the Bible is not just any book, and our goal is never just to know the information it holds.  God requires us to let his Word affect our hearts; he requires us to change our attitudes and our lifestyles so that we think and do what the Bible tells us to.  But surely we must begin by knowing what it says."  From there, Ms. Starr examines how studying the Bible is similar to studying other books and how it is different.

At the end of the introduction, she cautions students that that studying the Bible isn't easy and that it takes "diligence and work" p. 15.  I agree with her.  What I liked most about this introduction is that it explains to the reader why it is important to study the Bible and the simple truth that "the Bible is God's revelation of himself to us." p. 15  We read the Bible so that we might get to know God better.  The Waltons write in The Bible Story Handbook that "The Bible is God's self-revelation, and, as such, it enables the reader to know God more fully." p. 27 and then on p. 30 write "Relationship is the goal, salvation is the means, and eternity is the scope...Our approach to the stories of the Bible ought to focus on how each one helps us to understand God and his plan better."

So, though this Bible study doesn't fit the mold of what one might call "practical", that is a good thing, I think.  This study fits into a natural progression of books I've read this year for children to grow up into.  The Read Aloud Bible Stories, The Big Picture Bible, and Mighty Acts of God all follow a progression of helping children to see the stories of the Bible not as isolated events but as a big, vast picture--they convey who God is--and how He loves us.

I want to share an example of what I mean because it is hard to explain how this study is practical without being practical.
"No one whom God chooses to bless deserves his blessings.  To drive that point home, Scripture regularly shows us God choosing the most unlikely people to bless or to use.  Jacob is a case in point.  In the first place, he was the younger son, born after his twin brother..." p. 46-47
Though this point isn't directly "practical", it is crucial to our understanding many stories in the Bible and getting to know God.

This study is a set of five books.  Four workbooks and one answer key.  It would easily work for a four year Bible curriculum for homeschool students.  I counted the breakout of weeks for the first book and it could be divided into 39 lessons with 7 tests and 1 final chronological test.  The appropriate age range for this study is 11 or 12-adult.  It is also a very affordable curriculum.  On Amazon, it is only $37 for the full set (it is sold as a complete set of books).

As I was reading through the study and perusing it, I realized that it would be good for me to use this curriculum as my Bible Study for the next year and read through the Bible.  I love that about this study--that both parent and student could go through it together.  It isn't too simplistic for an adult to be encouraged by going through it.  I think many of us struggle to go through the Bible with just a plan of what to read each day. But, having a few questions to answer helps us--or at least it definitely helps me and gives a guide as I make my way through it.  The tricky part is finding a study guide that doesn't read a lot into the Word and make inferences and interpretations for you.  I like this one for that reason.

So, I'm looking forward to winding my way through this Bible Study next year!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this study for review from Crossway Books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though I've been tempted many times before, this is the first time I have actually responded to anyone's blog or posting about my mom's books. I am the author's daughter and am using this set to study the Gospel of John with a friend who is somewhat new to and unfamiliar with the Bible. (I am giving her her own complete set this week for her Christmas gift. :)) She is in her 50's; I am in my 30's. Though our age groups were not necessarily the ones my mom had in mind when she was developing this, the set is great for young and old. It is a great way to introduce or expose a new adult believer to God's Word in a simple yet comprehensive way. It is also a helpful tool to motivate a long-time believer to slow down and enjoy God's Word rather than rush through her reading and miss valuable nuggets (yes, I mean me). For anyone, it is an excellent survey of the entire Bible, helping bring attention to the details while allowing the student to see the "big picture" of salvation and God's work through the entire Old and New Testaments. I am hoping my friend wants to continue our study in another book when we finish the book of John this week. So glad to hear you are finding it as helpful as I am! Happy New Year!