Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Review: 102 Fascinating Bible Studies

book cover

102 Fascinating Bible Studies
by Preston A. Taylor

ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-0837-9
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: BethanyHouse
Released: Aug. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
While most Bible study books cover a single topic, 102 Fascinating Bible Studies provides a wealth of interesting subjects to choose from week by week. Learn what the Bible says about angels, find out what it means to fast, see what worship truly is, and much more! Each topic has been carefully selected for small group discussions or personal study.

Short lessons allow for maximum flexibility, and Bible references and discussion questions make this book easy-to-use for leaders.

Each study contains:
  • A short introduction to the concept being studied
  • Ten relevant scriptural references
  • One or more discussion questions relating to each Bible reference

102 Fascinating Bible Studies provides 102 topical Bible studies for small groups. Each Bible study is intended to last for only one session, and the studies can be done in any order. Each study started with some comments by the author. This was followed by 10 Scripture references to look up and about 2-4 questions after each Scripture reference.

The author strongly suggested reading the verses surrounding the given verses so that the reader knew the context. Indeed, sometimes the questions seemed to refer to verses just outside those referenced in the study. The verses were given in order so that they'd be easy to look up, however this sometimes meant that the study jumped around in focus since similar verses weren't grouped together.

The questions he provided will get a discussion going. Many of the questions brought out important points about and had their answers in the verses read. However, more frequently the questions were only lightly connected to the verses and asked questions that the reader would answer with their own opinions. To me, the point of a Bible study is to see what the Bible teaches--God's answers to our questions--so I was a bit disappointed by this.

My overall impression of these Bible studies was of uneven quality. Some studies did a great job of pulling out the verses that gave the "whole Bible" view of the topic and the questions focused on finding what the Bible said on the topic. Others studies skipped what I thought were important verses in favor of others so it gave a slanted view on the topic (like the Angel question section ignored their main role, which is as messengers).

So I like the idea of this book, and I really enjoyed about 35 of the studies. However, I'd recommend that anyone using this book for small group studies look the possible study over for quality before suggesting it to the group.

The topics: Amen, Angels, Anger/Wrath, Antichrist, Baptism, Beatitudes, Bible, Blind/Blindness, Blood, Bold/Boldness, Cheer/Encourage, Children, Church, Comfort, Ten Commandments, Confession, Conflicts/Strife, Cross of Christ, Death (Physical & Spiritual), Depression/Despair, Discernment/Understanding, Dreams/Visions, Evangelism/Witnessing, Faith, Fasting, Fellowship/Partnership, Fools, Forgiveness, Friends, Fruitful/Fruit, Glory/Glorification, God, Gospel, Government/Civic Life, Grace, Health/Healing, Heaven, Hell, Help, Holy Spirit, Hope, Humility, Hunger/Hungry, Husbands/Marriage, Hypocrisy, Inheritance, Jesus' Humanity, Jesus' Deity, Jesus' Death, Jesus' Resurrection, Jesus' Return, Joy, Judging/Judgment, Justify/Justification, Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, Love, Memory/Remember, Mercy, Miracles, Music/Singing, Patience, Peace, Pleasures, Poverty, Praise, Prayer/Praying, Pride, Prisons, Promises, Reconciliation, Redemption, Repentance, Rest, Rewards, Riches, Saints, Salvation, Sanctification, Satan/Devil, Senior Citizens, Sheep/Shepherds, Sin, Sleep, Spiritual Renewal, Suffering & Pain, Tears/Crying, Temptation, Time, Tithes & Offerings, Tongue/Tongues, Trials/Tribulations, Trinity, Vanity, Voices, War/Warfare, Water, Wisdom, Wives/Marriage, Work/Labor, Worship.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from page 35-36
Someone asked Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, how she was able to raise these two sons as she did. She told them it was by getting a firm grip on their hearts when they were young and never turning them loose. Susanna and her pastor husband had nineteen children, and all who lived to adulthood became Christians. Children need the love of their father and mother. They need a good education as well as spiritual instruction--Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, church camps; and the list goes on. When we think of raising children, let's keep in mind that the Bible is the perfect guidebook. Proverbs is a great prescription for child-rearing. When we stay with God's Book, we have the help that every family needs and we become the channels through which godly help continues to flow to our children. Are we prepared for the discipline of raising godly children?

1. Exodus 2:6-7. Refresh your mind on the story of the birth of Moses. What did his parents do for his welfare? What can we do to protect our children in evil times?

2. Deuteronomy 6:6-9. When is the best time to read the Bible with children, pray, and talk with them about how God wants your family to live and honor Him?

3. 1 Samuel 2:22-25. Why do you think Eli's two sons became immortal? What early training can parents give children that will help them live for Christ's glory?

4. Proverbs 4:1-27. This entire chapter presents the potential for rich blessings to be upon our children. Select a few verses to share and explain to your children.

5. Proverbs 22:6. What does it mean to train up a child? How much time should be given to children's training? How can we help children plan for the future?

6. Matthew 10:21. What causes some children to betray their parents? Why do some children rebel? Is the environment responsible for the behavior of our youth?

7. Mark 10:13-16. What attitude did the disciples have about children? What response did Jesus make regarding this attitude? Talk about how Jesus received the children.

8. Luke 11:11-13. Name some bad gifts that children could receive from parents. What good gifts should children receive? What does God as our loving parent provide?

9. Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20. What promises are given to children who obey their parents? How does God feel about children who obey their parents?

10. 2 Timothy 3:14-15. When should children be taught the Scriptures? (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) How important is it to teach our children the Word of God?

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