Over the past several months, you may have noticed that I have been publishing a number of commentaries on the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. In many cases, I have also published apologetic-specific posts that apply directly to issues found in the passages that are discussed in the commentary posts. What is going on?
Well, my wife and I have been teaching youth at our church for several years and we have noticed a glaring problem. The youth (6th through 12th graders) are, for the most part, clueless about the Old Testament. Even their knowledge about the New Testament isn’t particularly strong (of course there are exceptions, but I’m talking about the typical student). During their childhood, they have been exposed to numerous passages in the Bible, along with application of those passages to their lives, but in a completely piecemeal and disjointed fashion.
The problem with their education is that it has not enabled them to see the biblical narrative in its entirety. They get bits and pieces, but they don’t know how it all ties together. I wrote a three-part blog post on this topic last June, so I won’t rehearse the same argument here.
It’s fine to complain, but what are we going to do about it? Last summer, our youth pastor agreed to let my wife and I write a Sunday Small Group (SSG) curriculum to fix this problem. The goal of the curriculum is to write 2 years of lessons (about 100 lessons in total) that cover the entirety of the Bible. The lessons will be chronological, starting in Genesis and finishing in Revelation.
Obviously, in 100 lessons, you cannot cover every chapter and verse of the Bible, so we have chosen to cover the books and chapters which form the spine of the biblical narrative. We will be emphasizing the historical passages of the Bible. At the end of 2 years, the youth should have a firm grasp of the entire sweep of the biblical story. They should be familiar with the major historical events and actors.
Each lesson consists of “Historical Background,” “Passages to Read,” “Key Takeaways,” “Theological Themes,” “Apologetic Issues,” “Application/Discussion Questions,” and “Links to More Information.” I am writing the first five sections and my wife writes the “Application/Discussion Questions” section. So far we have 32 complete lessons, although several more are in various forms of completion.
So, what I have been posting on the blog are the “Theological Themes” (commentaries) and “Apologetic Issues” sections of the lessons we’ve written. I have not been publishing the other sections because they are really targeted at a youth audience and have more to do with application.
Not to brag on my wife too much, but her sections are pure gold because she takes all of the stuff I’ve written, combined with her own thoughts and research on the passages, and morphs it into contemporary stories, illustrations, and discussions that the youth can easily understand. Her “Application/Discussion Questions” section is the heart of the lesson, and my sections form the background material for the teachers.
So there you have it. Now you know what we’re up to. I expect to continue publishing blog posts that contain the “Theological Themes” and “Apologetic Issues” for the next year and a half. When it’s all done, the commentary and apologetics posts will map out a chronological survey of the entire Bible. Only 65 more lessons to go…..