Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lydia of Philippi: Believer in the Lord

Here is a Bible study geared toward middle school girls--Lydia of Philippi: Believer in the Lord, by Sherree G. Funk. This eight week study workbook focuses on Acts 16 and Paul's letter to the Philippians. The lessons examine topics such as being led by the Holy Spirit, humility, generosity, the importance of prayer, living joyfully, and growing in faith. Each weekly session starts with a brief introduction, which includes either background information and/or thought-provoking questions to consider. Then several scripture passages are offered along with questions to answer and short comments from the author to help clarify the Biblical text. Lessons close with a succinct summary. Although a leader guide is not included with the workbook, it can be downloaded online.

What I Like: On her website, the author talks about her love of Beth Moore Bible studies. Given the effectiveness and popularity of Moore's work, I liked how Funk incorporated the same style into this guide. It had a nice Scripture-question-comment, Scripture-question-comment rhythm. I had my middle school child try the lessons. It was fun to see her "digging around" in the Bible for answers. My favorite section was week seven, which gave practical tips for how a teenager could shine like a star in a dark world.

What I Dislike: I like "meaty" questions that require thought and reflection, and the author provided many of those. However, there were also questions with multiple choice answers that didn't entail much thought. Here is an example: What was the "custom" of Jesus on the Sabbath? Answer choices: sleep late, watch football on TV, go to the synagogue, or attend soccer practice. While my child tackled the more meaningful questions with eagerness, she rolled her eyes at the no-brainer questions. Also, four of the eight lessons focused on Paul instead of Lydia. While that's perfectly fine, I think that fact means the title might not be the best fit.

Overall Rating: Paired with the online resources, Very good. As a stand-alone, Good.

Age Appeal: An age is not listed, but I think it would be appropriate for girls in grades 6th through 12, with greater appeal for the lower end of that range.

Publisher Info: Serving One Lord Resources, 2009; ISBN:978-0-9823137-0-1 ; Spiral-bound paperback, $ 15.00

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