Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Because You Are Strong, Bible study from Doorposts {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

As a Christian mother and as a volunteer leader in a church youth program, I believe that it's so important for young people to know God's Word and not just memorize a few favorite verses, but to know how to study it for themselves and be able to apply it to their lives. The Bible is described as a sword, and we are challenged in II Timothy to correctly handle the word of truth. I like to find resources that teach how to use the sword of God's Word correctly, and when we had the opportunity to review a new Bible study guide from Doorposts, called Because You Are Strong, I was pretty sure it would deliver just that.
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Doorposts has been providing Bible-based parenting and character training resources for over 20 years, beginning with the well-known "Blessings" and "If-Then" charts. The Forster family's home business grew as their homeschooling family grew, and now includes books, music, and curriculum. Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were able to review two of their newest Bible study resources for young people, Beauty in the Heart (primarily for girls), and Because You Are Strong (primarily for boys). I don't mind telling you that I had a tough time choosing which we'd rather try! In the end, we chose Because You Are Strong because it looked like it would present deep study of the Scripture in a manly way!
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In the Introduction of this study guide, author Daniel Forster shares the goals for the book - gaining a biblical understanding of strength; and learning and putting into practice Bible study skills. I agree that both of these of very important, and that it's so valuable for young people to learn how to study the Scripture for themselves. We found that this book did just that, and in a way that boys won't find patronizing or weak. The studies are meant to guide young men in using wisdom from God along with their strength. There are ten studies, with a short review study at the end. Each study is presented in five short assignments, so the book lends itself very well to being used as a weekday devotional study or as a part of a homeschool course of study. Ideas for additional study are given as well, so up to a year's worth of Bible study material is presented.  Because You Are Strong teaches readers several methods of Bible study - topical; word study; character study; verse, chapter, and book studies - and offers tips on memorizing Scripture, as well as giving instruction on how to use Bible study tools - Strong's Concordance; Bible dictionaries; and Nave's Topical Bible.

View sample pages from Because You Are Strong.

How did we use it? Landon is 14 years old and entering Grade 9, and he's received quite a bit of Bible instruction already, so he was definitely old enough to do this study completely on his own. I already owned Strong's Concordance, and I was able to obtain a Nave's Topical Bible for him to use, so he was ready to dive right in. I asked him to try and do one assignment each weekday, and with a few exceptions he found it easy to keep to that schedule. Now, he is not much for writing, so he left some blank spaces in all those lines provided for a student to write their notes; but he did answer every question even if some answers were brief. He struggled a little with writing down answers to the most personal of the application questions, but assured me that he did think about each of them, and for some he wasn't sure how to put his thoughts into a very concise answer that he was willing to write down.

What we liked best:
  • I love that this book doesn't tell a boy what to think about something, but directs him to God's Word so he can discover for himself what the Bible says about it.
  • I also love that the book shows how to use "old-fashioned" Bible study tools, and HOW to study God's Word in a deep and meaningful way.
  • Landon liked that the assignments "didn't take forever" - each was short enough to be completed in somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes. Not so long that it got boring or overwhelming, but long enough to get something practical out of each day's work.
  • Landon's feedback also included his opinion that the challenge level was "just right" most of the time - not too easy and not childish, but never over his head.
What I need to mention:
  • in addition to this book, you will need a Bible (of course!), Nave's Topical Bible, and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Both of these are worth the investment, in my opinion. We already owned the concordance, and I was able to borrow the topical Bible until we decide to buy our own. The study guide recommends marking your Bible with highlighters or colored pencils, so the Bible you use for the study should be one that you are willing and able to write in. 
  • there are some alternate questions provided for young ladies, so this study is not exclusively for young men.
  • our opinion (Landon's and mine) is that this could be worth a half credit for high school, if the entire study and additional studies are completed. 
Our bottom line: Landon tells me that he is learning how to use his strength in a godly way, and he is learning how to study the Bible for himself. Both of those are wonderful and essential things for young men to learn, and I'm glad that he wants to finish the entire book. I think this is an amazing resource for young people, because it teaches them how to get into God's Word and find out on their own what God actually says and teaches, and to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to understand and apply what they read. This makes this book - and its counterpart for young ladies, which I am ordering right now for my daughter - a unique and valuable resource not just for Christian homeschoolers, but for all Christian families.
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Would your young man like to study godly strength? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website at: http://www.Doorposts.com
Browse all the Doorposts products, and Meet the Family.

Pricing: Because You Are Strong is available as a softcover book for $14, but at the time of writing, it is on sale for $12. (According to the website, this sale price is good through August 31, 2013) The eBook version is $10. Beauty in the Heart can be pre-ordered as a softcover book for $14, or purchased as an eBook for $10.

Recommended Ages: Age 12 and up, but could be used by younger boys with help from a parent or teacher.

You can follow Doorposts on Facebook, or subscribe to the Doorposts blog.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other Crew member reviews. Crew members also reviewed Beauty in the Heart, so be sure to check out their thoughts on that title as well!

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