Studying God's Word is a non-denominational Bible study series targeting grades three through seven, although it might be used with students up through eighth or ninth grade. In this series, the emphasis is on the Bible more than in many other programs for Bible study and religion. Lessons reinforce Bible knowledge rather than developing slightly connected topics as do many other programs.
The revised courses, published in 2023, use the New King James Version of the Bible, while the rest of the courses use the King James Version. The inside pages of all course components are printed in black and white.
Book D, subtitled Exploring the Truths of the Life of Christ for the Young Reader, provides foundational coverage using stories from the life of Christ to illustrate basic truths and doctrine. Bible readings are all from the gospels. Activities include some cut-and-paste activities, but most require written work—filling in blanks, and completing crosswords, word searches, and matching exercises. It is recommended for third grade. A revised version of this course should be available early in 2024 under the title God's Plan for His People: Lessons from the Old and New Testaments. While it will be based on the previous book, its coverage will be broader.
Books E and F, revised in 2023, have been renamed using only their subtitles, Preparing God's People: Genesis to Ruth and The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom: First Samuel to Malachi. Book G: A Chronological Study on the Message and Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and Book H: A Chronological Study of the Book of Acts complete the series. These four courses teach the books of the Bible chronologically rather than in the order they appear in the Bible. Also, other books of the Bible are referenced where they fit into the chronology. For instance, when studying through the books of Kings, lessons from other biblical books that correlate are inserted in their proper places. The chronological approach helps students get an overview of God's plan of salvation and how the "pieces" fit together. These upper-level books offer interestingly-written, solid, Bible study—one of the most effective, yet relatively inexpensive options you'll find.
An inexpensive teacher's manual/answer key is available for all the courses. A few introductory pages in each teacher's manual/answer key are essential reading, and the remainder is your answer key. Preparing God's People and The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom also have a quiz packet that includes its own answer key. (God's Plan for His People will also have a quiz packet when that course becomes available.) These ancillary items are provided as stapled packets.
Revised editions of Books G and H are in the works, but I wouldn't expect them before 2025.
How the Courses Work
At the beginning of each lesson, the lesson goal, the "address" of a Scripture passage (or passages), and a memory verse are listed underneath a timeline that helps students place events in context. These are followed by background and explanatory information, then questions that require both recall and thinking. Students might begin by reading the background and explanatory information, then read the passage from the Bible. (The 2023 editions specify when students should read the scripture passages.)
After the background and scripture reading, students should be prepared to answer the questions. Many questions are simple recall questions. Most are useful, but a few, such as "How much is an omer?,"* might seem nitpicky. Thought questions that follow next prompt students to apply scripture to their lives. Supplemental exercises (crosswords, word searches, mazes, etc.) are included after or within many of the lessons. Frequent references to the timeline and dates help students keep the "big picture" in sight.
The courses are designed for students to complete about one lesson per week. Book G is an exception since it has 56 lessons and four unit tests; students are expected to complete either one or two lessons per week in that course. For most courses, parents and students determine how much to complete each day. Book D should require students to work only about three days per week. The 2023 editions (Preparing God's People and The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom) break lessons down into assignments for five days, although students might sometimes complete more than one day's worth of work on a single day. Lessons in Books G and H should require three to five days per week.
Books D, G, and H have four unit tests within the student books. Preparing God's People and The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom have weekly quizzes in their separate Quiz Packets but no unit tests.
Although each course is recommended for a grade level, they need not be limited to those levels. Book D is definitely better for younger students in grades three and four. Preparing God's People might be the best starting point among the other four courses for grades five and up since it begins with Genesis.
Although this series is designated for use up through seventh grade, the books do not show grade levels, and you might use the last four courses with eighth and ninth graders who have not done any significant Bible study.
Most students should be able to work independently through the courses, but you might find it beneficial to read the scripture passages aloud together and discuss them.
Book D is fine for younger students, but I especially like the four chronological courses because they are interestingly written, provide solid Bible study for students who need to build a foundation, and allow students to work independently.
*question found in Preparing God's People, p. 156.