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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bible Study for Girls from Doorposts: 'Beauty In The Heart' Review

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What is true beauty?  The world tells us that beauty is a certain body size wearing specific clothing, hairstyle and makeup.  When young girls enter their pre-teen years, the messages are clear.  Pam Forster wanted to express to these girls what true beauty really is and so she wrote this Bible study that uses scriptural references to help understand God, the creator of beauty; and how when our hearts are right with God, is when we are truly beautiful.  I received, for review, a plastic spiral-bound 128-page paperback print version of Beauty in the Heart A Study of Godly Beauty for Young Women by Pam Forster, from Doorposts.

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The book is intended for girls, ages 10-12 and can be used in women's Bible study groups as well for women, wives and mothers. Though, the back of the book provides questions especially written for young men who want to study with the book as well.  I decided to review the study first on my own before presenting it to my 11 year old daughter.

What I found is that the book is far more in-depth than any Bible Study I've ever completed, and I attended Bible Study Fellowship, which is known to be very intense.  By "in-depth", I don't mean over my daughter's head.  I mean that while it's studying what the Bible says about true beauty - It is also really teaching how to study the Bible.

It introduces good Bible study habits.  It explains how to look behind the words and really understand the specific writer of each passage:
  • where he was when he wrote it
  • who
  • what specific audience the scripture was intended for
  • why it is important
  • how to apply it to modern day living.

It also addresses questions and explanations that could be used for:
  • Language Arts and Writing Lessons (It really dives into how to use reference materials, like dictionaries and concordances.  It also teaches to look for the "W's" of writing, much like a newspaper reporter or excellent writer does.  It teaches vocabulary words and memorization skills.  It even dives into the Greek and Hebrew word roots and offers word studies.)
  • History (Specifically delves into historical accounts within the Book of Esther, as well as overviews of the time frame and lifestyle of when other books in the study were written.)
  • Geography (It calls for finding locations discussed in the daily passages on a map and then brings it up to date to teach what those locations look like today, and what the countries are named now.)

The book sells for $14.

To get the most out of the study, you will need:

Bible (one that you can highlight)
Beauty in the Heart study book
Nave's Topical Bible
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Highlighters or colored pencils in a variety of colors, for taking notes
English dictionary
Bible atlas

Some of the Bible reference books and maps can be found online or through mobile apps.  The first thing I did when I went electronically mobile was to download a good Bible app, so I was able to find all of the reference studies, maps and Bible through these apps or online.  My Bible app even allows for highlighting, so I was set.  I do think, however, that if you have a Bible you don't mind being highlighted, that it would be great to allow your daughter to actually highlight a Bible she can hold in her hand, as some of the exercises in the study call for using different colored highlight marks which really helps bring the lesson to life for visual learners.  You might even want to buy an inexpensive Bible that she can set aside as her "Beauty" Bible, because after she has completed this study, it will be highlighted in a way that will make it easy to quickly reference scriptures that relate to beauty.

The book has 10 studies.  Within each of the first 9 studies, there are between 7 to 14 days worth of lessons.  The last day's lesson within each study is an application study of how to apply what you learned in your own life.  Study 10 is a review and covers 4 days wrapping everything you have learned up into an overall summary.

Study 1 - Beauty in Submission (an inductive Bible study)
Study 2 - Beauty in the Heart (a verse study)
Study 3 - Beauty Trusting God (a character study)
Study 4 - Beauty and Humility (a book study - Esther)
Study 5 - Beauty in the Works (a verse study)
Study 6 - Beauty in Serving (a word & topical study)
Study 7 - Beauty without Discretion (a verse study)
Study 8 - Beauty in Crisis (a chapter study)
Study 9 - Beauty in the Gates (Book study - Ruth)
Study 10 - Beauty in Review
Alternate Questions for Young Men

The last few pages of the book are alternate questions for young men who want to learn what true beauty looks like.  These questions are really good for young men and even for husbands to read through and apply to their lives as they not only learn what a real beautiful woman looks like, but the questions pinpoint areas where men can learn how to cultivate beauty in their own heart.  The men's questions study, for instance, the life of Abraham (instead of focusing on Sarah), the attitudes of Nabal and David, Boaz's words in the story of Ruth, and discovering godly men who are role models of godly beauty in their hearts.

On the sides of the pages of each study, there are gray highlighted boxes that list everything you need to complete that particular study, as well as helpful tips and reference information.  When there are online references, there is a separate gray box that lists the sties.

I'm not usually big on pre-written Bible study guides as they often seem to take a turn to stress the views of particular denominations or of man in light of modern day culture rather than allowing God to speak through his Word.  However, the more I read in this Bible study book, the more I was impressed.  I found it to teach more about how to study a passage rather than telling the reader what they should think or how he or she should interpret each scripture or book of the Bible.

I really liked how the studies were broken down into bite-sized lessons each day that provide the perfect amount of learning for one day, allowing the lessons to each sink in before moving on to learn more.

I also really liked how there were hands-on highlighting and writing activities that really made the lesson inviting for a girl in the age range of 10-12, which this study focuses on.  I also really like how there are questions at the end of the book for young men.  I can't see my 13 year old son being comfortable taking the book and proudly reading it on his own, since the cover and title clearly look like it is directed toward young women, but I am excited as a parent to have a guideline of questions to ask my son as he grows, matures and begins to look for a godly wife.  I loved how the young men questions focused on the male's perspective of finding beauty in their own hearts.

What I liked most was that it was detailed, comprehensive, not slanted toward one view point.  I loved how it covered many passages from both the Old and New Testament and didn't just fixate on the typical "Proverbs 31" definition of beauty.

Please read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and other books from Doorposts, here, or click on the picture below:


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