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User Guide

These lessons are designed for parents who desire to spend time teaching God’s Word to their family in a systematic way that emphasizes application to everyday life. They are also intended to be used for families with a wide range of ages. Most other materials available favor either small children or high school students. However, the format of these lessons is designed so the parent can pick and choose which questions and applications would work best for their family group.  They are appropriate for families with children ages kindergarten through high school.

The first section of each lesson is called “Discussion.”  This part takes you through the passage to be studied for that day and gives questions to discuss as well as background information that will help you understand the passage. The next section, “Application,” gives insight as to what can be applied to your lives from that story in the Bible. The underlined parts of each of these sections are the questions you should ask your family during the lessons. The answers are given in parentheses after the underlined question. “Possible answers” are given for open-ended questions that ask for opinions; you may come up with better answers than the ones given for those! Also, suggested passages to memorize together are given intermittently.

The last section, “Digging Deeper,” is only for those families who wish to assign written work to older children in the family. For example, if a home-schooling family taught these lessons then the older children could complete the “Digging Deeper” sections for homework. Finishing all of the “Digging Deeper” lessons in this section could be credited as New Testament Survey Part 1. The “Digging Deeper” lessons cover sections that would be difficult to cover together with children that are under junior high age. Also, some sections are taught here that are not covered for the younger children.

The purpose of studying the Bible together is much more than gaining mere knowledge of its construction and its stories.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the wayand when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

I pray that as you and your family open God’s Word together in your home regularly you will grow in your relationship with God and each other. God’s Word is powerful and unlimited in its ability to give you strength, hope, joy, perseverance and peace.  God gave us Himself when He gave us His Word.  I hope you find it ever-new and always convicting, spurring you and your children to change and become more like Christ.

Studying God’s Word becomes much more than just an exercise, something to check off the list, when we look at God’s purposes. We come to love Him more and more when we study His Word. It enables us to love Him with our whole being, heart and soul and mind. We will grow in our love for Him and for our families. And as we study, pass it on to our children, not just one or two nights a week in a formal study, but as we talk, walk, lie down and rise up.  The heart of these lessons is not to have academic understanding – it is to grow in Christ and become what He has designed us to be.  Regularly teaching your children in a systematic and purposeful way gives you opportunities to mold your child’s character. If we only teach our child in the heat of conflict, they may not hear us or be positively impacted by our message.  It is when we daily impart to our child the truths of God and live those truths before them that God can use us in the spiritual development of our children.

Do not think you must teach every part of every lesson. There will be parts that will be appropriate for very young children in each lesson, but most of the lesson may not apply. Choose those things in the lesson that you feel will apply best to what you are working on with your children at the time. Pay special attention to the “Application” section, for this will give you ideas on how to make the lesson practical and real to them.  I will indicate places that are not appropriate for very young learners, but those of you with older students don’t be afraid to broach difficult passages. You may be surprised at what your child can absorb and understand.  It is most important, though, to not be consumed by just getting through the lesson. This is the time that you are to speak to the character of your child, whether they are 5 or 18.  Ask them how they are doing in their walk with God.  Do they trust Him? Are they submitting to the authorities God has placed in their lives? This is the time you can share your struggles and how God has changed and rescued you. They will never forget it.  I know, because my mother and father did this with me!

In Christ’s love,

Shelley L. Withem