Exploring the Bible Together by David Murray

Exploring the Bible Together launches families on a year-long journey through Scripture in a way that’s both practical and effective.

Exploring the Bible Together: a 52-Week Family Worship Plan by David Murray, with artwork by Scotty Reifsnyder. Crossway, 2020, 219 pages.

Recommended for: All ages, targeted at children ages 4-12.

In the introduction to this devotional guide, David Murray points out three potential problems with family worship time: overambitious plans (trying to create a mini-church after dinner), no plans (Scripture readings with no focus), and questionable spiritual benefit (lack of application or interaction). Exploring the Bible Together addresses these shortcomings with a structured plan that takes families through major themes and plot points from Genesis through Revelation in about five minutes per day. It requires no advance preparation and is flexible enough to allow for expanded discussion.

The material is structured along the same lines as in Murray’s personal devotional guide for middle graders, Exploring the Bible (see link below). The Old Testament is covered in 25 weeks, leaving the rest of the year for the life of Christ, Acts, epistles, and two weeks in Revelation. Each week lays out a theme explained in a one-paragraph heading. On Monday (or possibly Sunday) the theme is introduced, and any prayer requests for the week are noted. Each day after that includes a short reading (about five verses), followed by two questions: an observation question for younger kids and an interpretation question for the older ones. The “Lesson” is only one sentence about how we might apply the passage, followed by a prayer suggestion related to the passage. Weekly prayer requests can be a part of this closing prayer, too. On Sundays, families are encouraged to review their pastor’s sermon text for that day and talk about what they learned about God, sin, Jesus, and/or Christian living from the sermon.

As in Exploring the Bible, readers are encouraged to discover and apply scripture for themselves rather than read the extended thoughts of someone else. The appeal is probably limited to kids under 13, but as family worship plan this seems practical, easy to implement, and effective–especially while families are worshiping at home! But now for the bad news:

Please note: The publication date for Exploring the Bible Together is May 12, but it’s available for preorder now (see Amazon link below).

Overall rating: 4.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 5
  • Artistic/literary value: 4.5

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Janie

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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