Lifeway produces seven types of resources for adults using Explore the Bible. Each follows the same passage and outline. These resources are available in print and digital formats. We want to identify the primary purpose of each adult Explore the Bible resource type and then give some background on each as well.
Personal Study Guide
What it does: helps the individual group members study a Bible passage in preparation for the group study time.
When Explore the Bible was first introduced, the Personal Study Guide was the first item developed. Sunday School and other ongoing Bible study groups are about the individuals that make up the group so the resource used by the majority should be given priority.
The Personal Study Guide provides commentary, reflective questions, and Bible study skill activities that helps everyone stay on the same page. Everyone is looking at the same passage, same key thought, same reflective questions, and same Bible skill activity as they prepare for the group time. Even those who are unable to attend the group time can stay on the same page as the rest of the group.
The group can study the selected Bible passage at their own pace prior to the group time. They can then refer to their notes and key ideas gained during the group time.
Daily Discipleship Guide
What it does: provides daily Bible study that helps an individual dig deeper into a Bible passage after the group study time. Leader helps are also provided in the back of the resource for the leader.
In the Fall of 2017, the Daily Discipleship Guide was introduced as an alternative to the Personal Study Guide. The commentary and questions are the same as found in the Personal Study Guide but arranged to give a different experience. The expectation is that the group will study the passage after the group time as opposed to before. Five daily explorations are included for taking a deeper look at the passage. The teacher introduces the lesson in the group time, giving a skeleton to which individuals can then add meat in the week that follows. The leader uses the same resource as the group.
One item that is unique to the Daily Discipleship Guide is the Talk It Out feature. This short feature is designed for D-Groups, a group of 3 to 4 same-gendered people who meet weekly to hold each other accountable. If a person is using the Daily Discipleship Guide, then they could study a specific Bible passage with their Sunday School class, study the passage as an individual, and carry-on discussion with members of their D-group about the same passage.
The Leader Guide
What it does: helps leaders prepare to lead a Bible study group time
The Leader Guide was one of the original items introduced. Some of the content is the same as what one finds in the Personal Study Guide–the Key Doctrine, Bible Skill, session introduction to name a few. The commentary provided is specified to the teacher and is more in-depth than what is found in the Personal Study Guide (by 750 words per lesson). This gives the leader some extra thoughts to share with the group. Extra questions are also provided in the commentary that are designed specifically for the leader. These may be used for personal study or to be interjected during the group time.
The group plans are built around the Personal Study Guide, helping the leader use the content in the Personal Study Guide within the group time. A leader can read the Personal Study Guide but that is not necessary since references to the Personal Study Guide are included in the group plans including the page numbers.
Optional teaching ideas are also provided that can be used to customize the lesson based on learning styles or teaching style, or just to add some variety to the group time. A music idea is always included for each session. Groups who come together prior to their own group times can use this idea as a starting place during that larger gathering. This idea can also be used when planning worship–think of the value of the congregation signing a hymn during worship time that connects to their Sunday School study!
The Leader Pack
What it does: makes it easier for the leader to display posters and provide supplemental handouts. Also makes it possible for teachers to create their own set of teaching notes.
The Leader Pack has been a part of the Explore the Bible family since day one as well. Two types of items can be found in the pack, posters and masters. The posters are designed to enhance the classroom. These posters include maps, Bible book outlines, and charts. Each item is specific to that quarter. The masters are for making handouts that can be used in the group time to add depth and clarity. These handouts may include a Bible time line, charts, and articles.
The items work with groups using the Personal Study Guide or Daily Disciple Guide. How to use each item is explained in the group plans provided in the Leader Guide and in the leader helps included in the back of the Daily Discipleship Guide.
One of the items in the print Leader Pack is a card with a redemption code printed on it. This code gives the leader access to digital items including DOC files of the group plans and commentary in the Leader Guide and the leader helps printed in the back of the Daily Discipleship Guide. The other items are also included as PDFs for those teachers who create multimedia presentations for their group time.
The Adult Commentary
What it does: gives the leader an in-depth commentary to study.
When Explore the Bible was introduced, church leaders began calling in search of a Bible commentary they could provide their teachers. The only available resources at the time were expensive since they were hardbacks and in sets. In response, the ETB Commentary was introduced, giving the leader additional commentary if desired. This resource is written on a more academic level and includes more than 4,000 words per session (versus 3,000 words for the Leader Guide commentary).
Some groups want more content than provided in the Personal Study Guide or Daily Discipleship Guide so they use the Commentary for their individual study. These groups tend to be led by someone using QuickSource to facilitate discussion with the group.
What it does: gives a last minute substitute a way to prepare on the fly while giving other leaders some extra questions and teaching ideas.
The original idea behind QuickSource was to help the pastor or other church leader who was called on to step in to lead a group at the last minute. Other leaders have found the items included to be helpful as well.
On the first page of each session in QuickSource, the Bible text and key words are printed. On the second page is an outline of the passage with points to make. Space is also provided on page two for recording notes. Since the other side of the page has the Bible passage and key words, a person can tear it out and carry it into the classroom with their handwritten notes. On the third page is a set of sequenced discussion questions with answer prompts, and on the last page is an object lesson idea and a dig deeper feature.
The Group Box
What it does: resources a group of ten with everything they need including Personal Study Guides.
Imagine handing a group leader a single box with everything needed to lead a Bible study group: Personal Study Guides, a Leader Guide, a Leader Pack, and QuickSource. That is the group box. If more than ten are expected, additional Personal Study Guides will need to be ordered. Also included in the box is a quick start guide that walks a leader through the steps needed to use all the resources.
The box is also a great way to get a new class or group off to a great start. You can provide extra resources to the new leader that will instill confidence for that first day.
Want to ask a question? Send an email to Dwayne McCrary
Want to get a sample of four lessons sent digitally? (go here)
Want to take a deeper dig into these resources? (preview guide)