The Good Book Guides
Various

£3.50 (Approx)
4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

An expanding and flexible range of Bible studies with a strong focus on application. Each session not only seeks to uncover the meaning of the passage, and see how it fits into the big picture of the Bible, but also leads people to apply what they have learned to their lives.

What do you get and how?

Glossy covered booklets with opening questions and manageable chunks of Bible broken up with questions that aim to help you understand what the passage is about. There are optional extras to help you connect what you have learned in other parts of the Bible so you can begin to fit it all together like a jig-saw; or occasionally look at a part of the passage that’s not dealt with in detail in the main study. As you go through the Bible study, you’ll keep coming across apply sections. These are questions to get the group discussing what the Bible teaching means in practice for you and your church also providing an opportunity to think, plan and pray about the changes you personally may need to make as a result of what you have learned. The books encourage prayer that is rooted in God’s word. So each session ends with an opportunity to review the truths and challenges highlighted by the Bible study, and turn them into prayers of request and thanksgiving.

The Leader’s guide and introduction provide a historical background information, explanations of the Bible texts for each session, ideas for optional extra activities, and guidance on how best to help people uncover the truths of God’s word.

Available from the good book company’s website.

Who is it for?

The leader’s guide in each book makes them easy to use for small groups of adults or personal study. For beginners and growing Christians.

Cost?

£3.50

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Glossy A5 booklets, with attractive covers. Material is well laid out with spaces for writing in and clear headings throughout. Some variation in length depending on the title. Contemporary.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Every book has a one-page clear introduction explaining the icons which lead through uncovering ‘the meaning of a passage', ‘how it fits into the “big picture” of the Bible' and then how to ‘appropriately apply' the discoveries. Then the Leader's Guide has ‘The Big Idea' for each study, a summary and an optional extra.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    The layout and aims are explained in more detail in the introduction to the Leader's Guide section. Leaders are encouraged to tailor the group time to the particular circumstances and participants. No general guidelines for group leading, but targeted ones for fruitful Bible study which avoids common pitfalls. ‘The Big Idea' for each study is designed to keep the leader on track, while the summary includes background information and an optional extra (eg ice breakers, pairs work, activities). All the questions from the main participant's section have guidance in this Leader's section as to some appropriate answers – not to be read aloud, but to be a useful steer for leaders. Each session begins with a general question around the topic then studies the passage (‘investigate'). ‘Explore more' is an optional section for digging in to other relevant biblical material. The ‘apply' and ‘getting personal' sections are earmarked as crucial to engage with. The sessions end with prayer, with suggested topics directly relevant to the study.

    Who could lead it?

    A leader with some familiarity with, and enthusiasm for, thorough Bible study. A clear lead through the material would make the most of it.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Good to have all the questions and spaces for notes all in the one book – very well laid out, clear and not too daunting. The best use of the book would be for each member to have their own.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    These are thorough studies which would reward good preparation – at least to have the overview and aims clearly in one's mind. The best use of the study would be to be familiar with the leader's material, and there is quite a bit to read. Making choices about the optional extras might involve some collecting of props etc.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Some of the Guides suggest further material at the back, which can be accessed – usually - through the good book website.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Good mix of interacting with the biblical material through direct questions, digging deeper and sometimes activities together; and exploring one's own reactions.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    These are focused Bible studies which are geared for people who are happy to apply themselves to reading, study, interacting with material and interacting with each other. Creative optional extras.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    See note on learning styles. These studies are good, engaging and thorough, and would be great for groups who enjoy that. Adding in the optional extra activities would keep the pace moving well.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Optional extras can be used for ‘homework' with feedback encouraged from this and the ‘getting personal' section. Discussion of ‘apply' sections included in session plan.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Whether topic or Bible-book based, these are mostly straight-forward, focused Bible studies.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Thorough investigation of the passage in question, plus suggestions for further explorations linked to other material in the Bible. Some questions are better than others – a few seem a little obvious – but they do all take you somewhere and encourage a deep understanding and engagement.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    As said elsewhere, the application in these studies is a strong point and a conscious aim. So the implications of all the biblical material is explored through targeted questions, with the leader's notes making suggestions as to how to encourage this.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Evangelical.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Each study has its own emphasis, but there is a good mix already of topics, and New and Old Testament books. The studies have a freshness about them which would encourage engagement, and indeed, enjoyment.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Good encouragement to apply all that is studied to one's own understanding and expression of faith. Application is a strength of these books.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The topic or book of the Bible are approached in a way which encourages the group members to explore both the meaning and the implications of the material. Depending on the subject matter, this may be stretching in areas of doctrine or experience of God in life. Emphasis on grace and dependence on God for all.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Very well – all the material is carefully opened to application in the life of the participant. The leader's material is often very realistic about the challenges of life for many people, and does not make assumptions about how people ‘should' respond. Lots of the questions are geared around daily life; some are appropriately challenging.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is dependent on the study, but the issue is always there if relevant.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Encouragement to engage with this directly and creatively when relevant to the topic.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a major emphasis in the Guides under review, but there is acknowledgement that we should be caring for, and interacting with, the world in a responsible way.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    This is dependent on the study, but the issue is always there if relevant.

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