In every Bible Class, whether it is in a church, a private group, or individuals the background of the participants is usually quite varied. Some have been students of the Bible for years, others just beginning, and still others have never even cracked open a Bible but are now ready to learn. For this reason, an overview of the Scriptures is very helpful, rather than jumping into one book in detail. One thing that is missing from most church Sunday School curriculum is the overview and themes that run through the Bible from beginning to end. We often focus on the many wonderful stories without helping students see the continuing thread that binds them all together into God's amazing plan for us. Without this knowledge, the understanding of God's desire to reunite us with Him and how He has effected that plan through the millennia, students will have a more difficult time grasping the detailed concepts in particular books. We often recommend, and have conducted these studies ourselves many times, an overview of the Bible before teaching individual book studies. This will accomplish several things, including providing individuals a better platform as they continue their studies and uniting any particular group in a common understanding of the Bible's main themes.
Our position on Scripture is that it is the infallible Word of God, and should be taught and accepted in this way. We believe God means what He says, and says what He means. Wherever possible, scripture is interpreted in a literal fashion. While rich with symbolism and other allegorical information, God has provided us an amazing track record of just how precisely He fulfills very precise prophecies, and for this reason we have taken His Word literally wherever possible. That is the only safe way to do it. We also believe that the Word interprets itself, if you just keep reading and studying. There are no inconsistencies. Those passages that may seem to be either contradictory or inconsistent are not – those are the places that hold incredible blessing for those who keep studying to find the truth.
Over the years we have put together study handouts and shaped our studies to present one book per week in ongoing Bible studies. The handouts you will find here are designed to be used by a teacher who already has some understanding of Scripture, and is at least somewhat familiar with the books they are teaching in overview format. These studies were originally designed to be taught within a 60-90 minute time frame. It can be done in one hour, but usually it is a push, and should only be done by someone who knows the Bible, and knows how to present the important themes. These handouts provide a basic overview, and highlight the stories and concepts that are of most importance to a broad understanding of each book. They are not designed for detailed book study, but do provide a great overview for this type of book-per-week class.
For the most part, the handouts were also designed for simple reproduction, usually on two pages (one sheet double sided copies). Some books could not be contained on two sheets, so in those cases sometimes 3 or more pages will be included. It's difficult to pare down any of the scriptures to a 2-page handout! They appear in color here, but will also reproduce well in black and white if that is preferred. We generally 3-hole punch them and ask the students to bring a note book (or we provide one) where they can save these handouts for future reference. If you go through these studies all the way, the student will end up with an excellent reference document that provides a great overview of the entire Bible. You may also wish to supplement these handouts and your studies with other materials such as timelines, maps, etc. It's really up to you.
You will find study handouts for all 66 books of the Bible, and one simple introduction to the Bible study. You are free to copy and use these as much as you like, as long as you don't claim credit for them. These have been compiled using several great resources and commentary notes. In some cases we have provided the reference source. Frequently selected comments from some of our favorite commentators are used, including J. Vernon McGee, Chuck Missler, John Walvoord, and John Darby.
We pray that these study guides will be helpful to you and your students and will help all of you come to a better understanding of the amazing depth of God's plan and His incredible love for us.