Recently, I discussed Sticky Situations, which is a great book to use for Bible study in the younger ages. It’s a “moral dilemma” type devotional which displays how Biblical principles can be applied to everyday life.
What about when your child is ready for some more “meaty” study of the Word?
I was looking for something which continued to emphasize that the Bible is a mirror which we should continuously hold up to ourselves. At the same time I wanted a guide which would show the historical relevance of the Word, and details such as when a book was written, or who the author was.
After mentioning this to several friends and family members, I was pointed to a great series that we’ve used for some years now.
The Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible studies by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt allow kids to do just that: discover for themselves. Passages are read, sometimes reread, sometimes cross-referenced. Then kids are asked a series of questions that help them to understand what it all means. Interwoven between these things, there are puzzles, codes to crack, and games to review-which makes things fun.
The cross-referencing helps them to put the stories into the proper context, and understand when and why things happened. It may also help kids understand how Biblical characters or stories relate to each other.
The questions not only help kids to concentrate on the text, but many of them are personal questions which challenge the child to question whether they’re on track. There’s the mirror I was looking for.
This series helps you to discover stories in the Bible that you may not know much about, but it’s just as great for going deeper into those stories that kids may have heard so many times at church. Okay—I won’t lie: it’s also an awesome way for parents to learn more about the passages WE’VE read and heard so many times!
In these studies, you may spend a whole week taking apart one or two chapters. While your kids are writing down their answers, your eyes will find things in there you’ll swear you’ve never read before! Even if you’ve gone through the Bible in a year, every year since you were born, I’m sure you will agree. There’s something different about reading the Bible this way, taking the time to “chew” on things. You’ll also look smart for your spouse—see if HE knew that Abraham was remarried after Sarah passed! (This fact saddened me for some reason…)
These books really brought the stories and people to life for us. Our favorite may have been Daniel. Later, when we were doing one of the other studies, we were required to go back to Daniel to read a couple of verses for a cross-reference. After reading those couple of verses, I heard, “Let’s go ahead and read the rest of the chapter, Mom. I love this story.” WOW! What a feeling!
Now, to be fair, I do want to tell you that I did disagree with a couple of points made throughout this series. However, they were few and far between, and not on anything I would consider fundamentally important. It’s a good opportunity for discussion anyhow.
The other thing is that these studies include marking key words in the passages. Well, not really in your Bible, but in the pages in the back where all of the scriptures are copied for you. Now, I know some people like to mark in their Bibles, especially if they have eye-tracking issues, dyslexia, or simply to find things quickly later. To some, marking in the Bible is wrong. My son and I are in neither of these parties. However, we didn’t do the marking basically because we don’t like to. For me, it makes things look messy. For him, it’s tedious. The problem with that is that he would no longer pay attention once we finally got to the rest of the lesson. However, that’s the great thing about homeschooling. If something doesn’t work for you, just skip it.
You can buy these studies on here on Amazon, or at the Precept Ministries site. Alternately, many times I was able to score good deals at half.com or ebay. Just make sure they are in unmarked condition before purchasing. Finally, if you really like them, you might want to check out Kay Arthur’s series for adults! 🙂