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A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 3

Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes is our brand new study for youth on studying the Bible and we are so excited to be hosting an Open My Eyes Classroom Kit Giveaway! We would love to you all but enter the contest, but why should you bother? This week we are looking at the truths taught in Open My Eyes and why it is important for teenagers to learn these lifelong skills. The study focuses on these four themes:

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

The main section of lessons in Open My Eyes looks at the genres of Biblical literature, which we discussed yesterday, and teaches the four steps of inductive Bible studies. Open My Eyes is not an exhaustive training of all inductive study methods, but rather it provides a foundation for students that can be used in any personal or formal Bible study.

1. Reading

The first step is to read the Bible. Students are encouraged to regularly read their Bible with purpose. Through careful reading and recording their thoughts and questions, they will be able to get to know God better.

2. Observing

Fifteen lessons in Open My Eyes teach youth the techniques God has given us to use that are helpful in understanding the Bible. Although the first step to good Bible reading and study is always prayer, these techniques enables students to dig deeper into the passages, analyze the context and discover the author’s intended meaning. Techniques include:

  • Open My Eyes VisualAsking questions while purposely and actively approaching a text.
  • Looking at the historical setting of the book and the customs of the time.
  • Exploring the immediate literary context of words, looking at the sentence, paragraph, chapter, book and the Bible as a whole to understand the author’s intended meaning.
  • Open My Eyes VisualUnderstanding that grammar matters. Students learn how to mark up a passage, identifying nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives in order to determine the meaning of the verses.
  • Biblical writers employed the literary techniques to add strength to their words. Repetition establishes a theme, listing groups thoughts and rhetorical questions add emphasis.
  • Open My Eyes VisualFigurative language in the Bible communicates spiritual truth powerfully to our hearts, but it must be handled carefully. Youth discover how similes, metaphors, personification, anthropomorphism and hyperbole emphasize key points, communicate truth in a known context and create an emotional response.
  • Identifying classifying statements and independent and dependent clauses encourages application.
  • Finding connecting words and tying together thoughts throughout a passage can unlock the meaning of a text.
  • Open My Eyes VisualObserving logical connections and learning to follow the author’s flow of thought helps youth understand passages.
  • A passage must be understood in the broader literary and theological contexts of its chapter and book, of the whole Bible, and of man’s fallen condition and redemption.
  • To understand the author’s intent and flow of thought, it is important to observe the structure of the text. Student will learn to look for transition markers to break the text into passages, and then to find the main point of the passages.
  • Open My Eyes VisualTo correctly understand a passage, it is important to observe the connections, check the context and follow the author’s flow of thought through the use of mapping.
  • Outlining a passage is another useful tool students will use to understand the author’s flow of thought.

 

3. Interpreting

Open My Eyes VisualsThe Bible is a spiritual book and must be spiritually understood through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. In addition, God has given us sound principles of interpretation to help us rightly interpret the Bible and avoid falling into error. Student start by examining Psalm 25:5 to find several keys to interpretation, then they are taught and practice a series of interpretation principles. These Biblical principles are deduced from Scripture and are applicable to all people, in all cultures, at all times. The most important one is to use the Bible to interpret the Bible.

4. Applying

Open My Eyes VisualUnderstanding the Bible will not make much difference in students’ lives if they do not discover how God wants them to respond to the Scriptures using life application questions. Youth will be challenged to plan practical actions steps they can take and ask the questions: What should I think? What should I be? What should I do?

The Inductive Bible Study Handbook

The Inductive Bible Study HandbookStudents are encouraged to practice these skills both in the classroom using the Student In-Class Notebook and during the week with the Student At-Home Journal. With so much to learn, The Inductive Bible Study Handbook is a wonderful reference tool that walks through the four steps of inductive Bible study in an easy to understand way. It is an essential tool for students going through Open My Eyes to reinforce what they are learning. It can also be used by anyone wanting to strengthen their study skills for personal study or other Bible studies.

Start teaching these truths to your youth!

We are giving away a free copy of the Open My Eye Classroom Kit. Be sure to visit our contest post and leave a comment there to enter.

If you would like to learn more about Open My Eyes, view the Curriculum Sample or place an order for your own copy of the study.

 

Win an Open My Eyes Classroom Kit!

 Open My Eyes Classroom Kit

 

How many parents and youth ministers are eager to strive toward this goal for your students?

We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God’s Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime.

John Piper, “A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind,” © 2015 Desiring God Foundation, www.desiringgod.org
Our newly released curriculum, Open My Eyes: A Study for Youth on Studying the Bible, was specifically designed to help your students grow in their ability to unlock the riches of God’s Book by teaching them Bible study skills. Here is a description:
Treasures are not for the fainthearted, and Bible study is hard work. But prayer, careful reading, and meditation, combined with good Bible study skills, produce a bountiful harvest of truth and understanding. Open My Eyes is a curriculum for senior high youth on how to study the Bible. It focuses on the different genres of biblical literature and the process of inductive Bible study, and provides opportunities to practice the skills of observation, interpretation, and application. The end goal is that students might understand God’s Word as the biblical authors intended, and begin a life-long journey of learning to know and treasure God through studying and applying His Word to their everyday lives.
We would love to share the blessing of this resource with a church, home school, Christian school, or missionary family by giving away an Open My Eyes Classroom Kit, including:
  • a Teacher’s Guide
  • a Resources DVD
  • one Student In-Class Notebook
  • one Student At-Home Journal
  • and one Inductive Bible Study Handbook

This is a combined value of up to $140.00. Contest open to readers over 18 years of age, except where prohibited by law. If the winner is located in the United States, he or she may choose from an Open My Eyes Print Classroom Kit (3-Ring or Spiral Bound) or Electronic Classroom Kit. International entrants are eligible to win an Electronic Open My Eyes Classroom Kit. The winner will be chosen at random and announced by Monday, August 31.

To enter this drawing, please leave a comment by Wednesday, August 26 about one of the most interesting or challenging books you have studied in the Bible. 

A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 2

Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes, our newly released study for youth teaches youth the lifelong skill of studying the Bible. The curriculum focuses on four keys themes, which we are looking at this week:

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

The main section of lessons in Open My Eyes varies between discovering the genres of Biblical literature and learning practical inductive Bible study skills. This gives students extra time to learn new skills before introducing the next one.

Open My Eyes VisualsIf you do not consider the literary context the verses in the Bible are presented in, you may be very confused. There is a great difference between historical narratives and parables, letters and poetry. To correctly interpret a Bible passage, students need to learn to understand the author’s intended meaning through exploring the context. Christians can be deceived in their understanding of the Word if they do not carefully study the Bible.

Open My Eyes gives students an overview of nine genres of Biblical literature to equip them in understanding the context.

Genres of Biblical Literature (more…)

A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 1

Open My Eyes Study for Youth

In case you missed the news, we released Open My Eyes last week, our first curriculum for senior high students. The 40-week study teaches youth how to study the Bible. This week, we are going to give you an inside look at the 4 themes the lessons are structured around:

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

Before being taught how to study the Bible, the first five lessons lead students to discover the steadfastness of the Bible and why it is critical to study the Bible. The starting point of this curriculum is the truth of the authority of the Bible. Because the Sovereign God of the Universe is the Author behind the authors of the Bible, the Bible is true in all its parts and completely reliable. Man’s understanding of Scripture can be in error, but this divine book, inspired by the Holy Spirit is never in error. Students are given the sober warning that God’s authoritative Word cannot be changed, questioned or disobeyed without grave consequences.

Open My Eyes VisualAlthough it may be daunting to attempt to study a divine book with that warning, the Bible is a clear book that the Holy Spirit uses to enable ordinary people to know God. The Bible was written to all peoples of all generations by God, who wants to be known and understood by ordinary people. Students, who belong to God, love, understand and see the clarity in His Word.

Open My Eyes VisualNot only are God’s children able to understand the Bible, it is imperative for them to study it. Youth may often raise questions, “Is there more than one way to God?” and “Isn’t it enough to be sincere in whatever faith you choose?” But, they will learn that the Bible is necessary for salvation, maintaining spiritual life and knowing God’s Will. It is the sufficient source of truth, containing all we need for salvation and faith, and must not be added to.

Both studying the Bible through the help of the Holy Spirit and meditating on memorized verses are crucial to understanding the truths of the Bible and growing in faith. A haphazard approach to reading the Bible often results in overlooking large portions of the Bible and missing its overall structure. But, a plan or system for Bible reading and study can help one to avoid these pitfalls. Understanding the Bible is the result of a combination of a redeemed heart, diligent study and dependency on the Holy Spirit. Only then will students be able to truly discern the author’s intended meaning of a passage and glean the spiritual truths that encourage us to grow.

Open My Eyes Visual

The final lesson before digging into Bible study methods, gives youth an overview of God’s redemptive plan. They will see how the Old Testament informs the New Testament and how the New Testament interprets the Old Testament. The Bible is one continuous, interconnected story with a central message as God’s plan and purposes progressively unfold. Ultimately, the whole Bible is about Jesus. It was written that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and receive life in His name.

Check back tomorrow, to see how students will gain an understanding of the genres of Biblical literature. To learn more about Open My Eyes, view the Curriculum Sample or place an order for your own copy of the study.

 

New Senior High Youth Curriculum Released: Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes

 

The Word of God is profoundly simple…and amazingly complex. Understandable to children…yet confounding to scholars. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can our eyes be opened that we may “behold wondrous things” out of God’s law (Psalm 119:10).

Our brand new curriculum, Open My Eyes, teaches 9th-12th grade students how to study the Bible. Students will learn careful observation tools and sound interpretative principles as it provides pointed application suggestions so the Word of God might be understood as the biblical authors intended, and practiced in everyday life.

Open My Eyes begins with lessons on the authority, clarity, necessity and sufficiency of the Bible and the need to study the Bible and understand God’s plan of redemption. Then, youth will gain an understanding of the different genres of biblical literature (poetry, parables, gospels, etc.) and the inductive Bible study process as they practice reading, observation, interpretation and application skills. The curriculum concludes with five lessons aimed at the heart of the students, with the challenge not to presume upon the patience of God, but to respond to Him in faith.

Instead of being taught the same old Bible stories and lessons, I am being taught how to determine the lesson my own.–Sanya, student

You can learn more by viewing the Curriculum Scope & Sequence and the Sample Lessons. The following resources will equip you to teach the youth in your church or home:


Classroom Kit

Classroom KitThe Classroom Kit contains everything your class needs to start this curriculum. The main resource, the Teacher’s Guide, contains 40 lessons which alternate between a large group teaching time and small group discovery and discussion. Each lesson features a focus statement that summarizes the main ideas of the lesson and serves as anchors for understanding how to study the Bible. Students are encouraged to follow through on a personal application step each week.

Open My Eyes is not intended to be an exhaustive study of inductive methods, but rather an introduction to them, with the prayer that it will start youth on a lifetime journey of Bible study. These skills can be practiced in any inductive Bible study.


Student In-Class Notebook

Student At-Home JournalThe notebook provides students with a format for recording important points taught in the lesson as well as an opportunity to practice inductive Bible study skills as they mark up passages, make observations of the text and interpret the meaning. Youth will fill out charts, map passages and make an outline to discern the flow of the author’s thoughts. This record of their interactions with the Word will not only serve as a reminder of truths and Bible study skill taught, but will also be a journal of insights imparted by the Holy Spirit.


Student At-Home Journal

Student At-Home JournalWhy do students need to study at home? Besides reinforcing important truths and skills learned in class, the Student At-Home Journal provides an opportunity for the student to practice inductive Bible study skills. Without this practice, the student will be hampered in his use of sound observation, interpretation and application skills. Hearing must become doing in order for these skills to take root.

More importantly, the journal provides the student with the opportunity and encouragement to personally interact with the Word of God and to ponder His relationship to God. It becomes a means for the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the student as he thoughtfully responds to questions, meditates on the Word, and considers what God is asking of him.

The Inductive Bible Study Handbook

The Inductive Bible Study HandbookThe Inductive Bible Study Handbook is a reference tool that teaches the 4 main steps of and tips for inductive Bible study. The steps include read, observe, interpret and apply.

Students will use the Handbook in conjunction with both the Student In-Class Notebook and the Student At-Home Journal. The Handbook can also be used as a stand alone resource.

 

Open My Eyes is a curriculum seeking to do just that – open the eyes of our youth to see the truths in God’s Word. Our children are confronted with a culture in which it is acceptable to define their own truth. And, accordingly, are influenced to interpret God’s Word in a way that seems right to them, rather than discerning the God-given meaning of the text. Open My Eyes equips them with tools, a methodology for proper interpretation, to rightly handle the Word of Truth. I am grateful that our church is reinforcing and strengthening skills that we seek to teach in our home.–Pamela, parent

Order a copy of Open My Eyes today and start teaching your youth the important skill of studying the Bible! Order online or by calling 877.400.1414.

 

Preparing Teens for the Great Battle

Having had a son who really went to a physical war, these words by John Piper really struck home:

Knowing you are in a war changes what is cool. If your family is under attack, fretting about your clothes and your hair stops. There are more important things at stake.

Pastor John goes on to use this obvious point to challenge us to have this same kind of perspective when we consider our own lives, but it’s especially a call for teenagers to have this mindset:

…we are at war. The enemy is stronger than the Axis of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Indeed, stronger than all human powers put together. The battle is daily. It is fought in every locality. And its victories and defeats lead to heaven or to hell.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Wage the good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18)

The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)

Abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
(
1 Peter 2:11)

What Is Really Going On?

Don’t be part of the blind, teenage masses who do not know what is going on. They think that to know the latest movie, iPhone app, or hit song is to know what is going on. Those things are like cut flowers. Bright today, tossed out tomorrow. They are utterly insignificant compared to events that are shaping the course of eternity.

When the Great General says, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he means: Don’t fit into the stereotype of the aimless, careless, superficial youth. Break the mold. You belong to Christ. Show the world that there is another kind of teenager on the earth.

This teenager is not a leaf blown along with the wind of cultural trends. He is not a jellyfish floating with the current of the times. He is a tree that stands firm in the strongest storms. He is a dolphin who slices the waves against the tide. He is going somewhere.

(From “A Call to Teenagers to be Free, ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)

Are you preparing your own children for the great battle? Is your church’s youth ministry helping students put on the whole armor of God, that he or she may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.?

One way to prepare our teens for the battle is by presenting them with the “whole armor of God” and training them how to use the armor in battle. That is why CDG has developed serious, challenging, and Bible-intensive curriculum for this age group. If you haven’t already done so, check out these resources for youth:

What Will Win Your Youth?

ID-100103856It can be an anxious time for many parents—those often turbulent teen years. How can the church help and assist parents during these years? Well, one way is to continue to provide youth with deep and engaging Bible teaching. In her seminar, “Teaching Youth and Engaging Their Hearts,” Sally Michael emphasized the following:

The junior high years are where we start to see great divides—those who truly love the Lord and are maturing in faith; and those who are clearly rejecting what they have been taught, and even those who simply portray apathy (which is a form of rebellion). Some of the students you will be teaching are not saved—so you need to teach reflecting that there are Christians and non-Christians in the class. 

What will reach not just their heads, but their hearts and wills?

There are those who say that we must win them over with interesting stories, silly stunts, and relevant speech. Others say you win teens over by entertaining them, by making church “fun” so they want to come to church.

Greg Harris has stated—“What you win them with is what you will win them to.”

What we want to win them to is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to win them to putting their confidence in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins. We want them to respond to the Gospel in faith.

Is it fun that converts the soul? Is it entertaining stories and relating to teens with the latest teen language?

This is what the Bible tells us generates faith:

Romans 10:17—So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

It is our job to impart the words of life—to teach the truth about who God is, who we are, and what Jesus did to solve our sin problem. We must continue to teach whether they show interest or not—I’m not advocating for droning on—we must make our teaching interesting and put energy into it. But I am saying that they must hear the Word—if they do not respond now, they may respond later to the reservoir of truth we have poured into them. The Holy Spirit does not work in a vacuum –He works through the Word.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Biblical Gender Identity

RGGD LE Cover

One of the most earth-shaking events in modern culture has been the shift in the understanding of gender. The topic is unavoidable. Therefore, the crucial question becomes: What and who will shape the understanding of our children and our students? More than 10 years ago, Albert Mohler sent out this call to the church:

The fault lines of controversy in contemporary Christianity range across a vast terrain of issues, but none seems quite so volatile as the question of gender. As Christians have been thinking and rethinking these issues in recent years, a clear pattern of divergence has appeared. At stake in this debate is something more important than the question of gender, for this controversy reaches the deepest questions of Christian identity and biblical authority.

For too long, those who hold to traditional understandings of manhood and womanhood, deeply rooted in both Scripture and tradition, have allowed themselves to be pushed into a defensive posture. Given the prevailing spirit of the age and the enormous cultural pressure toward conformity, traditionalists are now accused of being woefully out of step and hopelessly out of date. Now is a good time to reconsider the issues basic to this debate and to reassert the arguments for biblical manhood and womanhood.

…For biblical traditionalists the choice is clear. We understand the Bible to present a beautiful portrait of complementarity between the sexes, with both men and women charged to reflect God’s glory in a distinct way. Thus, there are very real distinctions that mark the difference between masculinity and femininity, male and female. Standing on biblical authority, we must critique both the present and the past when the biblical pattern has been compromised or denied. Likewise, we must point ourselves, our churches, and our children to the future, affirming that God’s glory is at stake in our response of obedience or disobedience to His design.

(“A Call for Courage on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” at www.albertmohler.com)

At Children Desiring God, we take this call to be proactive very seriously, and, to that end we have developed a curriculum for youth specifically designed to “to present a beautiful portrait of complementarity between the sexes, with both men and women charged to reflect God’s glory in a distinct way.” As you plan for the fall, prayerfully consider incorporating Rejoicing in God’s Good Design: A Study for Youth on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood into your Sunday school or midweek class, or home.

 

Beyond “Something” for Youth

ID-100103366

Summer is often a great opportunity for scheduling special events for youth. Without the demands of school many students have more free time on their hands, so it’s important that the parents and ministry leaders do “something” to keep youth interested and involved with church-related activities over the summer months…right? Well yes, but how about aiming higher than merely “something”? Maybe think in these terms instead:

How can we…

Glorify God and increase joy in Him by planning events that…

…will display the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

…will cause His Word to dwell richly in His people by His Spirit (Colossians 3:16-17).

…deepen the relationship between Christ and His church and build relationships within the believer’s household (Psalm 25:4, 14; Philippians 3:10).

…make disciples of Christ and work to bring them to maturity in Him (Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 2:3-8).

The above reflects the aim of Betty Dodge’s informative and inspirational seminar, “Reinforcing the Vision with Events and Programs.” Her handout, available here provides a wealth of information to help parents and ministry leaders with a step-by-step process for planning special events. But also listening to her seminar here will give you even more encouragement and helpful ideas.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Key Qualifications for Teaching Youth

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Have you ever felt a call or burden to teach the youth in your church? Have you been questioned as to your ability because of your age–too old to relate? Hear these words from Sally Michael in her recent seminar “Teaching Youth and Engaging their Hearts”:

The first year I taught junior high students in my church, someone who realized that I was going to teach youth said to me, “Do you think you can relate to youth?”

Now reading between the lines, I think what this person was saying in a kindly way was…do you realize that you are a beyond middle-aged woman…you don’t speak their language, you don’t know the jargon of youth…in other words, you are just not cool.

My reply was, “Yes, I can relate to them because at the core we are very much the same. We are both sinners…in need of grace. And I am very well qualified to talk about that. We have more in common than we have differences.”

What is your basis of relating to youth in your church? Is it being “hip and cool”—knowing the latest teen slang, being able to talk about their music, knowing the latest video games?

We miss the boat if we think that this is what it takes to relate to youth. We can relate because we all have the human dilemma—we need a sin-bearer so we can be right before a holy God; we need grace to daily crucify self and serve others; we need the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and to walk in righteousness…we need the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Teens can easily intimidate teachers who feel they must entertain bored students or “relate” on their level. But the key to teaching youth is not to be intimidated by them, to realize the serious call to teach significant truth, to pray for your students, and to genuinely love your students.

Our confidence is not in the words we speak but in our common identification as sinners and in the message of hope, salvation, and grace that we bring to sinful men. Paul understood that and is a good model to us in how to bring that message to the youth in our churches:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5—And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

We all come to the task of teaching and mentoring youth in weakness…and sometimes “in fear and much trembling.” But the heart we bring to that ministry is what defines our ministry—do we bring hearts of dependence on the Holy Spirit; do we bring humble hearts not trusting in our cleverness but in the power of the Holy Spirit; do we bring hearts burdened that their faith would rest on the sufficiency of Christ? 

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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