Discover Together: Revelation

I treasure Bible study. No, that’s not enough. I absolutely delight in it! I find it fun and exciting — and not just because I’m a nerd who loves books and research. It is life-giving, life-affirming … in it is Power.

I’ve offered this quote from Sproul before, but I have to share it again. It’s that true.

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”
― R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

This is why I am such an advocate of Bible study. I want to see you and me fully awed by God’s power. Not every study works for every person, and so we can rejoice that so many studies are available! Maybe Big Word simply doesn’t entice you. Maybe you struggle to learn from Beth Moore, Kelly Minter, or John MacArthur. That’s okay. Just as God created us with different personalities and learning styles, He created lots of writers to match. Just don’t give up until you find your match.

Today I want to introduce you to a new-to-me author and Bible study series.

Meet Sue:
Sue Edwards (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) teaches full-time in the Christian Education Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching, pastoring, and directing women’s ministries. In addition, Sue speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars across the country. She is the coauthor of Women’s Retreats and New Doors in Ministry to Women, and the author of the new Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study series.

Meet the Discover Together Series:
Whether studying with a small group or by yourself, you now can join Sue on the Year of Discovery. The Discover Together Series includes seven books:

  • Proverbs, Volume 1: Discovering Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World
  • Proverbs, Volume 2: Discovering Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World
  • Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ
  • Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women
  • Psalms: Discovering Authentic Worship
  • 1 Peter: Discovering Encouragement in Troubling Times
  • Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity

These are inductive studies, meaning they go methodically through that book of the Bible. (Contrast this method to topical studies in which you jump around the Bible to compare and contrast all passages related to, say, money, marriage or child-rearing.) Presented in a useful workbook format, each study offers reading materials, interactive questions and lots of additional information and resources in the sidebars for deeper study. The books also include several links to short videos — at least one for each chapter — in which the author introduces the material or offers some personal anecdotes to the study’s content and application.

There’s more! Throughout this year, Sue will be leading women through her studies with online chats and discussions on her Facebook page. Each week you can find quotes, links to articles and other resources, and videos to help you as you study. Participants may complete the lessons at their convenience, then visit the Discover Together facebook page any time of day to comment or ask questions. Sue will be there frequently to respond, encourage, and equip!

REVELATION {my thoughts and review}RevelationI have not looked through every volume of this series, but I did receive a copy of Revelation to review. (See my FTC disclaimer in the footer.) This is a crazy important book of the Bible because it tells us what the future holds, how we can prepare for it and how we should live in the present while waiting for that future to come.

The author’s pre-millennial doctrine dictates the form of the study. Since she asserts that believers will be raptured before the tribulation, she focuses the study on the first three chapters and the last two chapters. The section in the middle of the book is discussed briefly, but does not share equal stage with the other passages. As such, don’t expect a thorough dissertation of the entire book. This is a study for regular people, not elite scholars.

So, what do I think? I like the study! I think it would be perfect for a number of people, groups and situations. There were a few things disappointed, though. Let me lay it all out in a quick pros and cons list.

PROS:

  • FORMAT: I love the workbook format. There’s lots of space for writing … and I love to write.
  • CONTENT: Most questions are open-ended and make you think. There are very few parrot questions in which participants simply reiterate or rephrase the text.
  • SIDEBARS: I like that the sidebars provide prompts and tools necessary to explore more.
  • FLEXIBLE and REALISTIC: It could work within nearly any schedule. The homework is far from laborious.
  • FREE LEADER’S GUIDE: This is a .pdf file available for free to those who lead a group study. Links are provided inside the workbook.
  • ONLINE COMPONENTS: Both the videos and the online interaction (via facebook) add to the experience for those doing the study on their own. Sue is definitely on the facebook page often. The content added there is quite valuable and, so far, the interaction has been hopping.
  • AFFORDABLE: The workbooks are very affordable. The cover price for Revelation is only $12.99; it is currently on sale for $7.49 at Christianbook.com. Add in that the videos and leader’s guide are free and you’ve got quite a deal!

CONS:

  • VIDEO QUALITY: This is definitely the biggest problem I found with the series. The video content was great, but the quality really detracted from the value. The music fade-in/fade-out overlapped and drowned out Sue’s final words on almost every installment. On top of that, several videos included unintentional background noise … an echo in the kitchen, a barking dog outside … distracting stuff. Also, most of the videos start with Sue looking directly at the camera and then, without warning, it would switch to a different angle, from which she appeared to be talking to someone else. If we could see that she was in a room full of people, this wouldn’t have bothered me. But as it is, it feels like a very personal conversation that abruptly changes to the viewer eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation. The personal connection is quickly lost.
  • ONLINE SCHEDULE: The online interaction is fantastic … IF you’re on the same schedule as the online group. The schedule is posted on the facebook page, but if you decide to start Ephesians now, for example, you’ll not have any online interaction until the end of March. If you decide to study Revelation over the summer, you’ll likely have to scroll back to January and February to find applicable posts … but by then it will all be old and probably not as interactive as you’d like.

OVERALL: I think it’s a great study and I will definitely look for more books in the series. I do think, however, that they would be most beneficial if used within a personal, group setting, even if that group is only two or three people.

Your Turn: What types of Bible studies do you enjoy most? Inductive? Topical? Workbooks? Video series? Talk to me. :)

Talk to me!

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