Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
A bit ago, I was offered the chance to review a few different books from New Growth Press. I thought a couple of them looked good and this was one of them. This is a study of the Bible book of Mark and part of the series The Gospel-Centered Life For Students. Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything is written by John Perritt.
This study of the book of Mark is set up to be utilized as a small group study or a Bible class. It includes an introduction, 12 lessons, and Leader’s Notes. Each lesson is broken into 3 parts: introduction, article, and exercises. The Leader’s Notes are set up by lesson, as well.
Each lesson deals with a section of the book of Mark and the study is structured somewhat like the book: the first 10 chapters of the book of Mark cover the majority of Jesus’ ministry while the last 6 books cover just one week, the last week, of Jesus’ life and ministry. The study is somewhat the same in that the first 5 lessons cover the first 10 chapters of the book. The remainder of the lessons cover the final 6 chapters and the final week of Jesus’ life. The mirroring of the book of Mark in the study guide is really interesting and emphasizes what it should – the salvation and Jesus’ sacrifice.
Each lesson deals with a Big Idea, which is stated at the beginning of the lesson. It is simply a summary of the main point of the lesson. There is also a Bible Discussion, which is designed to guide the students’ minds toward the main idea of the lesson. This is where the students are directed to read the text from the Bible if they have not yet done so.
Next comes an article. This article is written specifically to the students, addressing the main idea. The article is also the main instructional section of the lesson. There are questions that follow the article to help direct a discussion. The article is followed by the exercises. These vary in style from a checklist type of exercise to fill-in-the-blanks. The exercises are to guide the student into deeper understanding of the big idea and to help the student see the importance of Jesus. The exercises are very personal and the application of it is extremely personal. There is no skipping over these with an expected answer so you can move on without any discomfort.
The lesson is wrapped up with some additional thoughts and a direction for prayer.
WHAT I THINK
I really enjoyed this study. I worked on it in a more compact time frame than it is necessarily designed for since I was working through it on my own. I worked on one lesson per day, working through the book in about 2 weeks.
I like that the student is directed to read from the Bible first, not relying on the author’s perspective of the Bible reading for instruction. The Bible comes first and that is so important. The focus throughout the study is on Jesus, his life and ministry. It is not on the thoughts of the writer.
I also really appreciated just how personal the exercises and discussions are made. They are not discussions that can be answered with a “Bible” answer and then you move on. The exercises are hard to skip over or gloss over for the very reason that they are personal application. You have to actually think about your life and Jesus’ role in it. It is deeply personal and that is such a refreshing thing to get in a Bible study.
I highly recommend this study. It gets you into God’s word, focused on Jesus and what He did for me and you. Be watching over the next week or so for two more reviews on study guides from this same series: The Gospel-Centered Life.
Lori, At Home.