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Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids Review by Deanna JasperDavid Murray
1300 Crescent Street
Wheaton, IL 60187
Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids is exactly what the title suggests, a reading plan that takes kids through the Bible, guiding them on an exploratory journey to help lay a foundation for a lifetime of Bible reading. The structure of the book is based around this them of exploration, and the introduction acknowledges that it won’t cover every part of the Bible, but will hit the “main peaks.”
The softcover book (retail price $14.99) is intended for personal use more than as a school curriculum, though it could easily be adapted. I was surprised that there was no Table of Contents at the beginning, which I would have found helpful for planning since I wanted to incorporate it into our school routine. The reading plan covers Genesis through Revelation and is organized into fifty-two weekly “expeditions.” Each one consists of a “map” (a short explanation of what will be covered that week), a place to record prayer points, a memory verse, space to jot down short notes to go along with six days of reading (each day has about five verses to read, plus a question to answer), and a page to record sermon notes and guided reflections on Sunday. The intention is obviously to help children develop the spiritual discipline of intentional Bible reading and reflection each day. One drawback to this structure approach, however, is that certain personalities find it discouraging if they miss a day or don’t have a Sunday church celebration that works with the layout of that weekly page. One of my sons found it very hard to just keep going without filling in the sermon notes, but they just don’t really fit with the way our church does things.
I was surprised by how short the selections for were each day (the first week covers the first two chapters of Genesis, but with short selections of about five verses to be read each day), but over all I really liked what was covered over the course of the entire book. The first twenty-four weeks cover the Old Testament, the next sixteen are spent on the gospels, and the final twenty-two go through the rest of the New Testament. I appreciate that there were weeks covering each of the books of Poetry except Job, as well as touching on the prophets without getting bogged down in them (one week in Isaiah, plus one with excerpts from several other prophets).
Exploring the Bible is recommended for ages 6-12, but I think it would be best for upper elementary age on up (unless the child is extremely self-disciplined). Despite the subtitle, it is not childish at all. The illustrations by Scotty Reifsnyder are simple and complementary without being distracting. The text is straightforward and unlike many books geared toward children, avoids slang and colloquialisms. I would actually highly recommend it as a helpful guide for teens or adults who want to get an overview of the entire Bible and could use help establishing a habit of spiritual disciplines such as daily Bible reading and taking careful notes during Sunday sermons. Regardless of age, I think this resource would be most helpful for someone who is self-motivated, rather than giving it to a child as either a part of their schoolwork or as a personal Bible study assignment.
-Product review by Deanna Jasper, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018