What kinds of things are you doing to prepare your sons to be godly young men? How can we raise young men who will be able to stand strong against adversity, to choose the noble way when there is an easier yet compromising path, who will be faithful and constant when those around them are not? We desire to create atmospheres in our homes where Christ is honored, where family members are treated with love and respect, where children are taught life’s responsibilities and ways of service. We know what kinds of men we’d like our sons to grow into….but how exactly do we get them there…and how can we incorporate the Bible into the lives of our boys to equip them?
I’ve found an incredible tool that will help you do just that. I received a copy of “Because You Are Strong,” Doorposts‘ excellent Bible study for young men ages 10-12 and up from Doorposts and TOS Review Crew. This Bible study will teach your son (or, if he is a bit on the young side for the study and you need to do it with him, help you to teach him) how to:
- Read, study and understand the Bible inductively, for himself
- Use study tools such as Strong’s Concordance, Nave’s Topical Bible, and a variety of other study books and digital helps
- Learn how to do a chapter study, a topical study, a character study, and word studies
And perhaps even most important, he can use this study to learn how to be a godly man of character, faithfulness and strength.
I’ve desired to teach my son how to study the Bible inductively for years, yet I felt he was a bit too young for it until this year. (I remember how challenging I found inductive study at first!) “Because You Are Strong” was an excellent introduction. I chose to do this study with my 11-year-old son, but it could definitely be something a young man could do on his own, with his father or with a group of peers. It is organized in week-long studies, with assignments broken up over 4 to 7 days; each week covers a different topic, book or chapter with lessons on real, Biblical strength. Your son will study:
- Lives of faithful men and women of the Bible
- What strength looks like from God, in Jesus and in the life of a believer
- Verses detailing strength in the battle, strength in serving others, faithful strength and valor and even strength in our weakness
Have you, or has your son ever done an inductive Bible study? Inductive study uses the tools and formats above to ask and answer the following questions:
- What does this verse or passage say, when you use the 5 Ws and an H? (who, what, where, when, why and how)
- What does it mean?
- Understanding these, what does it mean for me?
Often when we read the Bible, we want to jump ahead immediately to step #3: what does this mean for me? And I’m not saying that there is not a place for that, especially in devotional reading where we are seeking to hear the Lord and spend time with Him. However, when we study the Bible inductively we can see in a different way as we read and compare Scripture with Scripture, how beautifully and perfectly the Word of God fits together; how it speaks repeatedly on the same topics in the same way; and the character of God as He reveals the written Word to us.
My son is 11, and he is a very strong reader. However, because he is brand-new to inductive Bible study, I chose for us to work together on “Because You Are Strong,” as part of our Bible time each day. This actually worked incredibly well for us and, I believe, kept him from feeling that this Bible study was too difficult for him. I also decided to break up the chapters into longer study periods; for example, we took two weeks to work through many of the chapters, and we’d take two days to research and discuss each question, especially the ones that were full of new types of research and study for him. This was so helpful for us and it kept the study from being overwhelming to our little guy. I would expect that for a boy ages 14 and up, that he’d be able to do the study as written, but since we were on the early end of the age range we used it in a way that I believe really equipped him to be able to do the work and learn without feeling like it was too hard for him. And certainly the last thing I wanted to do here was to form connections in my son’s mind that “Bible study equals difficult!” Rather, we want him to know that the Bible is a main way that the Lord speaks to him, and that this is a wonderful way to study and understand what it says. I think that Doorposts truly enabled us to accomplish those aims with “Because You Are Strong.”
“Because You Are Strong” is available in a softcover 8 1/2″ x 11″ workbook from Doorposts for $14; it’s also available in eBook format (pdf) for $10. Both of these are available directly from the Doorposts website. It doesn’t come with the additional study helps I mentioned above, but it does include links to the online versions of them (many are free). You can also find these study helps at your local library in many cases, or you can purchase them from the Doorposts website (or your local Christian bookstore). It’s designed to be used over an 11-week period with additional study questions and tips that will enable the user to extend it for up to 15 weeks. Even if no one in your family has ever done inductive study, I believe you’ll find that “Because You Are Strong’s” clear instructions and simple layout will be a perfect introduction to it. And you’ll gain the added bonus of equipping your son with wisdom, character and understanding!
As we were talking about “Because You Are Strong” today, I told Jackson that I thought that this study is not only one that we can do together now, but one that he can pick up again when he is 17 or 18, when he is closer to adulthood. I recommend it highly for your young men, whether it’s for them to do on their own or for you to do together with him!
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