Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
For the last few weeks, my family have been sitting together having family Bible study using The LIFE Plan, a series of 6 volumes from The LIFE Network and written by Allen L. Elder.
LIFE stands for Living Intentionally for Eternity and is a Bible curriculum designed around the story, structure, strategy and service plan of the Bible. Each of the six volumes can be used as a full one year Bible course if the student completes one lesson per week for a full school year. This allows for a full 12 years of Bible curriculum if the student uses one volume per year and then repeats halfway thru their schooling if starting the curriculum in 1st grade. It is expected that if a parent wishes to use the curriculum in this manner, that the parent assists the student in grades 1 through 6th, reading and presenting the material to the student, especially in the lower grade levels. After completing the 6th volume for the first time, the student begins with Volume 1 a second time, but this time the student is expected to go deeper into the lesson material and learn how to apply the lesson material to their own lives. By completing the curriculum in this manner, the student should graduate with a solid Biblical foundation that will hopefully follow them throughout their lives.
The LIFE Plan's 6 volumes each tackle different portions or the Bible and different aspects of Christian living.
Volume 1 - The Bible's Story: Genesis 1-11. This volume presents the background of the Bible's story in Genesis chapters 1-11, covering topics such as the creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, how life was before the fall of man and how it changed following the fall, and how the fall changed our relationship with God.
Volume 2 - Abraham and Israel begins with Genesis 12 and goes in depth with the story of Abraham and Israel and follows through til the end of the Old Testament. In addition to Abraham and Israel, readers will also learn about Moses, the fall of Jericho, King Saul and King David, and the Babylonian captivity.
Volume 3 - The Structure of the Bible presents the structure of the Bible in it's entirety. From Genesis to Revelation, both the Old and New Testaments are broken into categories such as historical, books of poetry, Prophetical books, and letters. These categories are broken down into subcategories such as major or minor prophets, pre-exilic records, and Gentile-Christian letters. This volume helps the reader understand these categories.
Volume 4 - The Life of Jesus on Earth tells the story of the life and work of Jesus Christ upon the earth, from the prophecies of his birth found in the Old Testament, to his birth and childhood and on to his ministry. His miracles, his parables, his crucifixion, his resurrection and ascension and the promise of his second coming are all covered in this volume.
Volume 5 - The Church takes a look at the church from a Biblical perspective. The history of the church, the trials that early Christians faced, the reformation, as well how non-Christian religions, cults and the occult create difficulties for Christians today are covered.
Volume 6 - Your Part in the Story takes everything learned in the previous 5 volumes and shows how to use the knowledge learned and use it to create a personal, disciple making ministry in your own life. This volume covers topics such as salvation, living a Christian life, the purpose God has for the Christians life and how to read the Bible, memorize scripture and how Prayer is a powerful tool in our lives.
Each volume is roughly 200 pages in length and broken into blocks, themes and lessons. The Block designation simply coincides with the volume that the reader is currently working through, so Block 1 would be Volume 1, Block 2 is Volume 2, and so on. The Theme and Lessons break down the lessons into subsets that follow the same idea. For example, in Volume 1, Theme 1 is about God. There are four lessons included in the theme: The Existence of God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Theme 2 is the first three days of Creation, with a lesson covering each day, followed by Theme 3 covering the days 4-7 of the Creation, each having their own lesson.
Each lesson follows the same format: first introducing the aim of the lesson, followed by a scripture selection that supports the lesson and then the lesson itself. The text of the lesson is fairly short, 1 to 3 pages each and explains the material that is being presented.
Following each lesson text, the author includes an outline that breaks down the material into key words or ideas as well as a selection of scriptures to help broaden the readers understanding of the materia, as well as an outline of ideas that focus on doctrine, soteriology, bibliology, and anthropology.
The author also includes a section with definitions of words used in the lesson that the reader may be unfamiliar with. Finally, the lesson ends with several questions, some of which are straightforward and taken from the reading, as well as questions that either ask the reader to identify how the material either relates to them or how they can apply it to their lives.
How We Used It
Since we are already using a Bible curriculum as part of our homeschool with the kids, we instead decided to use The Life Plan as family devotional/Bible time after dinner. We decided to start with Volume 1, reading one lesson a day, four to five days a week. We found that our quiet time directly after dinner before everyone split up for their individual personal time worked best. Each evening, my husband, myself, and our three kids - Alyssa (21), Garrett (13) and Ashleigh (12) sit down and read the material together. We then discuss the material, read the verses that are provided, and answer the questions together as a family. On average, the lessons take us about 20 minutes from start to finish.
Our overall impression of this study has been very high, from all members of the family. I find that the material is presented in such a way that is very easy to understand and presents ideas and concepts in ways I have never considered previously. For example, in one of the lessons about Day 1 of Creation, it is presented that God was rebuilding the earth for the habitation of man after it had previously lost the form of it's previous creation due to the fall of Lucifer. This answered a question I had always had in regards to the creation story - why was Satan there in the garden to begin with?
My husband, who is new in his faith, is also finding that he is finding himself thinking more about what the scriptures say as he we have gone thru the lessons. The material does not just retell the Bible but instead explains in such a way to really engage the reader and make them think about the material presented.
My kids also get a kick out of the fact the author uses references in his descriptions that they can relate to. An example of this is in the discussion about day 5 of the creation, the author makes reference to a filet o fish sandwich from McDonalds and chicken strips from Chick-fil-a. While we don't eat McDonald's, they are familiar with it and Chick-fil-a is one of their favorite fast food restaurants. This really helped them to make a connection between God's creation of the chicken and the chicken sandwich that they occasionally eat.
Overall, we have been really happy with this Bible study. I feel it has really opened our eyes to the Bible in ways we haven't previously connected with. While we are only about a third into Volume 1, I'm looking forward to working through all 6 Volumes with the family.
To find more information about the LIFE Plan, visit The LIFE Network website. You can also find more information on the following social media platforms:
Select members of the Crew have been using The LIFE Plan with their families in different ways. Be sure to click the banner below to be taken to their reviews today.
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