Finding a Bible study that is engaging for a kindergarten student
and yet still challenging for an 8th grader is not an easy task.
However, many families desire to have Bible study times together
and Bible Classes for Students has taken this into account. They
have created an excellent study on the Gospel of Matthew that all
ages can appreciate. Granted, there is much that will go over the
heads of younger students, but there is plenty to be grasped as
Each day's lesson begins with a reading of a chapter (or portion
of a chapter) of the book of Matthew. The study provides questions
and guidance through the chapter that correspond directly to God's
Word. The study does not delve into opinions or feelings about
Scripture; it explores Scripture, pure and simple. There are fill-in-the-blank
sections taken directly from verses read as well as open-ended
questions that, again, refer directly to Scripture.
Students are encouraged to take note of keywords in the chapters
and even to compare Bible verses with other Bible verses. Occasionally,
students are asked to use some conjecture on a verse in order to
explore the meaning behind it, such as in chapter 8 when students
are asked, "Why does Matthew tell us that Peter's mother began
to serve Jesus right after he healed her? Can someone normally
do this after being sick?" No, the verses don't tell us the why ,
but answering the question doesn't require opinionated speculation,
just logical thought.
At the very beginning of the study, before the chapters begin,
there are a few pages that help students get a bigger picture of
the book of Matthew. These include a listing of all of the books
of the Bible with labels describing how they fit together, samples
of verses in original Greek for students to try to decode, and
a chart comparing Matthew to the other gospels.
Each lesson is made up almost entirely of questions. These help
foster a deeper understanding of the Scriptures as well as family
discussions. The study also includes photographs and maps throughout
the text, with occasional map work to help students better understand
the setting. Annotated study boxes in the margins offer explanations
and definitions. For example, one box explains the difference between
the Sadducees and Pharisees. Another offers definitions for "leper," while
another explains where Canaanites came from.
There are 28 chapters in the book of Matthew, and the lessons
generally correspond to these. Chapter 4 has a natural breaking
point at verse 12. Many chapters provide a comfortable one-day
lesson that can easily be completed within a half an hour or less.
Some could be combined if families wanted to do more than one chapter
per day. Some Bible chapters are longer and might be easier to
spread over several days rather than one. In this way, the study
will take roughly 28 to 40 days to complete, making it a great
addition to Lent or Advent studies.
The kingdom of God is a major theme in the book of Matthew, which
is broken into two parts: Announcement of the Kingdom and Delaying
of the Kingdom. In Part 1, students study themes of expecting the
kingdom, proclaiming the kingdom, living the kingdom life, and
proof of the kingdom. In Part 2 (beginning in Matthew 11), students
study hostility to the kingdom, rejection of the kingdom, and accomplishment
of the kingdom.
I found this to be an excellent study. I especially appreciate
that it doesn't focus on what students think about God's Word but
rather on what God actually says in His Word. It is a study geared
to thinking and learning for all ages. A rare find!
The study is available on CD and as a digital download.