Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Discover Together Bible Study: Revelation

When I was contacted about reviewing a Bible Study book from the Discover Together series, I was a bit hesitant.  I keep trying to do various women's Bible study programs on my own, and nothing seems to work as I hope it will.

But a book about Revelation?  That intrigued me.  And then I read about an online "study group" on Facebook?  That intrigues me even more.  So here I am, reviewing Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity by Sue Edwards.

From the publisher:
Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season

This insightful Bible study uses the example of Paul's church in Ephesus to show readers how they can be victorious Christians, living in God's Word, and free from sin. Part of the discovery series, the Ephesians edition includes tips for either individual or group use, inspirational sidebars and short, 3-5 minute teaching videos. Scan the video QR code in the book with a smart phone or visit the series website to watch Sue provide historical and cultural background, teach important truths found in each week's lesson, or ask thoughtful questions to encourage deeper discussion.
What is really cool about this is that Sue Edwards is hosting an online Bible study.  If you are like me, one more thing on the calendar that requires leaving the house?  Nope, not happening.  Even if I could schedule it, a blizzard is likely to blow through and mess up my plans.

Here's the "invitation" to this study:
Women crave Bible studies that challenge them to grow in their faith. But after balancing carpools, sports schedules, or work deadlines, you may not be able to commit to another evening out of the house. Now you don't have to.

Whether studying with a small group or by yourself, you know can join popular Bible teacher Sue Edwards on the Year of Discovery. Sue will be leading women through her studies with online chats and discussions on her Facebook page. All year long. Every week. Any time of day. From the comfort of home. Make-up and hair-do optional. Come as you are!

Each week you will find quotes, links to articles and other resources, and videos to help you as you study. Complete the lessons at your convenience. Then visit any time of day to comment or ask questions. Sue will be there frequently to respond, encourage, and equip!
So what did I think?

Well, I haven't made use of the online Bible study portion of this at all.  I probably should, but I just haven't.  What am I doing, though, is to work through the study on my own.  There are nine total lessons, and each lesson is intended to be done over a week.  Let's take a quick look at Lesson 3:  The Church Who Suffered Well.
  • The lesson starts with a page and a half of reading that provides some background, and then you are to read a very short passage from the Bible.  This is all in the main portion of the book.
  • As you go along, each page has a "sidebar" area where some extra material can be found.  For this first part, there is an optional scripture memorization component.
  • Following the introductory material, there are eight questions, with a fair amount of white space where you can write your answers.  The questions are mostly factual regarding the text, but some do get into areas of "how do you think you might respond if..." or questions about sacrifices endured by Christians today.  So it is applying this to today as well.
  • In the sidebar of one of these 3.5 pages, there is a quotation. 
  • Each lesson has a video component that you can access online.  This one is a bit over 3 minutes, on the topic of slander.
  • There is another question, then some additional reading from Sue.  This page also includes some sidebar extras, including a quote and comments from Sue.
  • There are another fourteen questions over the next few pages.  There are quite a few quotes scattered in the sidebars of these pages.
  • In addition, there are two "Digging Deeper" questions in these sidebars.  The "Digging Deeper" is a bit like extra credit... if you have time and inclination, these are questions where you can go read other portions of scripture and maybe check some other reference materials.
What I'm finding is that it is pretty easy to split this up to tackle a couple of questions a day.  The questions are grouped in subheadings, with between two and six questions.  Mostly, I took on a subheading per day.

I look forward to completing this study, which covers the first three and final two chapters of Revelation.  I am also looking forward to studying Ephesians next!

You can see what others had to say at the LitFuse Blog Tour page!

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity. 

Join the online Bible study (2/4 - 4/8) with Sue Edwards! And  invite your friends to join you. 

Sue will be posting weekly on the Year of Discovery Facebook Page and interacting with groups and individuals around the country going through the study at the same time. Women will be able to discuss the study with each other and ask questions via Facebook. Once readers complete the Revelation study, Edwards will be going through the Ephesians study in the same way. (An April 11 Facebook launch party will be followed by an April 15 – June 17 online study.)

Completing each lesson requires about one-and-a-half hours. Readers still receive in-depth Bible study but with a minimum time commitment. For those who desire a more thorough study, including an opportunity to learn more about the history, culture and geography related to the Bible, Edwards has provided “Digging Deeper” questions. Answering these questions may require outside resources such as an atlas, Bible dictionary or concordance and challenge readers to examine complex theological issues and differing views more closely.

More about the Revelation study: Edwards and Kregel are especially excited about the new Revelation study that has been added to the series. “I have focused on five special chapters—the first three and the last two—passages that I believe are most pertinent for Christians today,” writes Edwards. “I find a thorough investigation of these five chapters the most beneficial as we consider how God wants us to prepare for the end.” “The first three chapters paint a glorious picture of the resurrected Christ and record his seven letters to first-century churches. These early churches represent the different kinds of churches that have existed through the ages. The letters both commend and point out deficiencies in these churches, providing lessons to help us get ready for our future,” Edwards continues. “The last two chapters unfold with unspeakable energy, beauty and promise, as John describes what Jesus shows him: a new Eden, redemption’s climax and our eternal home. Walk with me through these incredible pages, and experience the blessing that God promised to all who read and heed.”

Purchase a copy of Revelation and join the on-line Bible study today.

Disclaimer:  I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

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