I’m excited about the new series of Bible study guides from Crossway publishers. The Knowing the Bible guides each take us through a book of the Bible in twelve weeks. As Justin Taylor wrote, these are not your mother’s Bible studies (although, as my brother pointed out, there’s an exception in my case). Here are a few reasons why I love this series.
1. I Love the Vision
“Experiencing the grace of God in the word of God, book by book.” We need to know God. We need to know him as he is revealed in Jesus. We need to rest and rejoice in his grace to us. We need to be transformed by him and strengthened to live the life of faith. This happens through knowing the Bible. That’s why it’s here; to give us God and his grace.
2. I Love the Format
My first thought after hearing the vision and format of these studies was, “this is exactly what we need!” It strikes an important balance between guided study and concise teaching, with room for reflective application. The study questions intentionally avoid the two extremes of either being so obvious that we simply rewrite the text (“what is the third word in verse 9?”) or too ambiguous that we don’t quite know what to write (“what do you think this means?”).
Each week’s study also ends with several reflections about how the text relates to God’s grace in the gospel, the story of Scripture as it culminates in Christ, and the theology of the Bible as various doctrines rise out of the text.
3. I Trust the Editors
Dane Ortlund is the series editor and a good friend of mine. He is ensuring that each volume is entrusted to wise and faithful students and teachers of God’s word (although some of you may notice who wrote the Isaiah and Matthew studies and question this wisdom). He’s clearly giving careful thought to the development of these guides.
And everything, by the way, passes through the theological filter of J. I. Packer. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be pretty helpful if Dr. Packer would read through a bible study guide I was considering and make sure that there wasn’t anything theologically fishy going on with it. That’s what we have in this series. J. I. Packer brings theological clarity and accuracy to the series in his editorial role.
4. I See Its Fruit
My wife, Christina, completed the Isaiah and Matthew studies as they were being written. After completing Genesis, she’s also been working through Mark and James. I asked her why she keeps using these (she’s able to do them as a busy mom with three boys under four, by the way). She said they make her slow down as she reads the Bible, they help her put her Bible together, and they make her love Jesus and the gospel more. She also added a comment about the reflections on the text’s relation to the gospel, the story of Scripture, and theology: “the three sections at the end of each week’s study are always gold.”
I thank God for these guides and pray for many to grow in knowing Christ through knowing the Bible.
You can learn more about them here.
Here’s Dane introducing the series: