Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{Crew Review} ‘Because You Are Strong’ Bible Study by Doorposts

 

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Doorposts  is a company familiar to many homeschooling families because of their many useful character training tools that are recommended within homeschooling circles.  We used several of their products when the boys were younger (and I drooled over many others), but I have not really frequented their website until I had the opportunity to try a tween/ teen product – which I now adorea Bible study for boys ages 10-12 and up called Because You Are Strong (marked down to $12.00 right now from $14 – available as an eBook and soft cover).

There are several things that draw me to this study and make me love it.  First, it is not a fill-in-the-blank study (although it does have some of those).  It is not guiding you to interpret the Bible in the author’s way, but instead it is guiding you to read God’s word for yourself and discover God’s meaning.  Second, it is attempting to teach young men several methods of Bible study which can be used throughout their life.  Third, I really like that each of the eleven chapters studies a different part of the Bible – it is not a study of only one book of the Bible nor is it a study of only the Old or New Testament. 

Here’s a list from the table of contents which shows the type of Bible study method being taught and the Biblical text being used:

  1. Strength for the Race: Meditating on Hebrews 11-12
  2. Strength with no Limits A Topical Study on the Omnipotence of God
  3. Strength and Wisdom: A Topical Study in Proverbs
  4. Strength and Temptation: A Character Study of Samson
  5. Strength to be Valiant: A Word Study on "Valor"
  6. Strength in Our Weakness: A Verse Study on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
  7. Strength in the Battle: A Chapter Study of 1 Samuel 17
  8. Strength Serving Others: A Study of Jesus' Actions in the Gospel of Mark
  9. Strength and Gray Heads: A Verse Study of Proverbs 20:29
  10. Strength in the Faith: A Book Study of 1 John

I encourage you to view sample pages here.  I think you can tell from the sample (from Chapter 1 and a devotional style) that your son is going to get the opportunity to really listen and think on Bible passages.  This makes it a more intense Bible study than a typical fill-in-the-blank one.  But the reward for this practice is great – learning to listen to God and hearing him speak in different situations in your life.


How We Used This:  I love that the book divides each chapter in daily bits of lessons.  The introductory notes say that each daily section should take 5-20 minutes. This really helps Ben (and I) to accomplish what needs to be done for the day.  There are a total of 74 lessons (five daily lessons per week) – just about 15 weeks of study.  Additionally, there are 40 more suggestions for additional study – ways to practice the methods taught in the book to sharpen skills.  If you wend ahead and used one of these additional studies for a week, that is more than a year’s worth of Bible study!

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Another thing I love about this study is that it is not ignoring the internet.  There are TONS of Bible study tools online, and this study acknowledges that our society straddles the paper book – eBook generations yet does not shy away from using online tools. Although the text is written for using book references, boxes in the margin tell you how to use online resources – generally free.  For example, in the topical study, Ben was asked to look up some words in Nave’s Topical Bible.  This is a tool we do not own, and I was concerned that we would have to skip over this chapter because of that.  Nope, on p. 12 the study has step-by-step directions for using an online Nave’s Topical Bible search (via biblestudytools.com).  As we progress further into the study, additional online tools are used to study the Bible.

Let me clarify:  This study doesn’t just tell the student to go to the web and use tools – it teaches students how to use the tools and how to use them further for additional study.  It includes step-by-step directions for how to use concordances and such – and how to even dig a little further.  I love this

Oh, gosh, I gushed more.  OK, back to how we used this. 

It was meant to be a daily program for us and was most of the time -- minus summer distractions.  But, we’ll get back into it as our routine takes over from summer crazies.   We created a shortcut to online Bible study tools on the iPad, and Ben would usually disappear for 30 or so minutes to finish his lesson.  Many of the chapters are 5 day studies which can be finished in a week, but a few last longer.  Regardless, each day’s written activities have many blank lines for your son to use to write down their ponderings.  Or just as easily, you can verbally discuss the material and write down summaries.  I think you’ll want to write down some information, even if you use it primarily out loud, because you’ll want to draw out information you found in the Bible study tools.  And, there are often quite a few verses to look up and summarize, so for continuity sake, make sure either you or your son is taking notes of your discussions.

After Ben finished a lesson, we would discuss his findings.  I wasn’t entirely pleased with how I structured the use of this study, and as we use it more in the fall, I plan on meeting with him every other day or so to talk about it.  Ben isn’t the most prolific writer, so he needs a combination of writings and oral work to squeeze out all the meat from God’s Word.  And, honestly, I enjoyed seeing Ben struggle with God’s Word – not in  bad way.  I have to admit, that he is much happier with a fill-in-the-blank study, but having to dig into God’s word to find answers and think long and hard about the Bible and his life?  Priceless time that is well spent in my book. 

My recommendations & thoughts:  In all truth, I’ve been looking for this exact study for over a year, and I’m so glad to see such a quality product.  Last year, I felt called to teach the middle school Sunday School class Bible Study methods – but honestly, I don’t know very many ways to study the Bible and I found that I just didn’t have the time to figure out how to teach something I didn’t know! As much as I tried to use some adult material we own and scale it for the young teens I had in my class, I know I just didn’t do the topic justice.  I’m actually going to pass on links to this study and the girls’ study entitled Beauty in the Heart  to our children and youth ministries directors so that these books can be considered for some of the small group studies that are going on in our church.

I do look forward to using this study with all of my boys as the enter the tween years. 

If you’d like to read more about both the young men and young women’s studies,  \please click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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All prices are accurate as of blog posting. 


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