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How to Use
        Exploring God's Word is a biblically sound, engaging Bible school curriculum designed to provide two-year-olds through sixth graders with a solid foundation upon which to build faith in God and knowledge of His Word. Two-year-olds through five-year-olds follow a program that takes them through the entire Bible in four years, with suggestions as to how to make the material and activities appropriate for those ages. First through fourth graders go through the same curriculum, with suggestions as to how to make the material relevant for those grade categories [click here for an outline]. Fifth and sixth graders use the Apologetics Press Explorer Series [click here for the Explorer Series], which teaches children about Christian evidences, values, Jesus’ life, and other relevant topics. The curriculum is not designed to take the place of teaching being done at home, but rather is intended to be complementary to what is being done at home.

Advantages of this curriculum:
  • It is not influenced by any philosophies or traditions of men—only by God's Word.
  • It provides organized class material for Sundays and mid-week Bible study.
  • It encourages continual repetition and reinforcement of Bible facts and personal application of biblical principles.
  • It can be used to supplement home school programs.
  • It creates an exciting classroom atmosphere that encourages student participation and spiritual development.
  • It helps children develop a love for learning about God and His Word.
  • It gives teachers an effective plan of action and confidence that what they are teaching is biblically sound.
  • The open source format allows for continual improvement and updating of the curriculum.
  • It does not require quarterly ordering and re-ordering of dated materials.
  • The material for two-year-olds through fourth grade is free.

How to Use This Curriculum

        Exploring God's Word covers both the Old and New Testaments, in four years of study, in a comprehensive and structured manner. Whether your educational program has promotion in the summer or the fall, the six months of Old Testament lessons should be taught first, followed by six months of New Testament lessons. The Old and New Testament sections are further divided into groups of 13 lessons, respectively. The sections should be taught in the order of the numbers identifying each segment [Old Testament 1–2 (26 weeks of lessons) followed by New Testament 1–2, Old Testament 3–4, followed by New Testament 3–4, etc.]. With few exceptions, the suggestions for Wednesday night lessons are geared toward reinforcing Sunday morning lessons.

        It is recommended that a lesson not be printed too far in advance from the day the material will be presented, since revisions are constantly being made to lessons throughout the curriculum. It is further recommended, therefore, that each time the material for a lesson is presented again (e.g., four years later), it be re-printed at that time to ensure the latest version of the lesson.

Each Lesson Outline Includes:
  • Text Boxes: Throughout the lessons, text boxes with "Teacher's Notes," definitions, and/or "Historical Notes" are inserted to provide the teacher with additional information and insight as he or she prepares and presents the lesson.

  • Scripture References: These references are mainly for the teacher's personal study and lesson preparation. However, most can and should be read by older children in their classes.

  • Memory Work: Imbedding God's Word in young minds should be emphasized and re-emphasized in both the Sunday morning and Wednesday night classes. The NKJV Bible is used for Scripture references throughout the curriculum, unless otherwise noted.

  • Personal Application: Teaching Bible facts is essential. Imparting facts, however, without also providing insights and understanding of how to apply the facts, is only half the job of a teacher. Children must learn that the Bible is just as relevant to their daily lives as it was when it was first written.

  • Points to Emphasize: These are the basic facts to be taught in the lesson, though every point will not be taught to every group of children. The information will need to be adjusted and "sifted" to be age-appropriate, but do not underestimate what your students can learn. (You will not use every point for preschoolers, for example, nor the same wording for preschoolers that you would for fourth graders.)

  • Activities for Pre-session and/or Reinforcement: If your students come to Bible class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, and if they are on time for both class sessions, you only have about 90 minutes of teaching time per week! It behooves the teacher to make use of every teachable moment—from the moment the first child sets foot in the classroom until the final bell is rung.
      "Pre-session" refers to the time before the first bell rings, as well as the first few minutes of class when you are waiting for stragglers. "Reinforcement" games and activities are suggested for use after the Bible lesson is taught.
        In addition to the activities listed with each lesson, a few pages of supplemental ideas are provided that can be adapted for use with many different lessons.
        We do not encourage the use of crafts or coloring pages just for the sake of having them. If you use a worksheet or coloring sheet each week, we suggest having a folder or notebook for each child in which papers can be kept during a designated time period. Hopefully, sending home a folder, booklet, or notebook of each child's work will encourage his/her parents to go over the lessons repeatedly with the child at home.

  • Learning Centers: Learning Centers are individualized activities designed to introduce or reinforce material taught during a unit of lessons. You will find more information about how to use them, and make them, on this Web site. If you choose not to provide learning centers, please plan activities of some kind that will take advantage of every teachable moment. [Click here for more on Learning Centers]

  • Recommended Visuals: While a complete packet of visual aids is not part of this curriculum, we provide suggestions for teaching aids that can be purchased or made. This is a great opportunity to use "leftover" visuals (pictures, flannel graphs, table-top figures) from previously purchased visual aid packets. If you do not already have a Picture File, it would be a good idea to start one. This File should include pictures from old visual aid packets, and pictures from magazines and calendars, which are organized alphabetically or by subject. [NOTE: The Freed-Hardeman University Bookstore (bookstore.fhu.edu) has many of the Recommended Visuals available for purchase. Click here for a list of Web sites with craft ideas for Bible classes.]
                Using what you have, making additional visuals, and searching for others, requires teachers to use their ingenuity. It also provides teenagers, and those who are not teaching opportunities to serve. This curriculum isn't for the "faint of heart," or those who are satisfied with "just getting through one more class period." It takes some effort to put these lessons together the first time they are taught, but it is well worth it! [NOTE: The suggestions we make for those recommended visuals that are not Apologetics Press materials are not necessarily from brotherhood organizations. Please read the “DISCLAIMERS” that are sometimes included with various visual aid suggestions to make sure the sources are being used only as we intended.]

Acknowledgements

        This Bible class curriculum was originally written in the late 1990s by Rhonda Thompson and other ladies of the Eastern Meadows church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama for use in their educational program. After many requests for its publication, Rhonda and individuals from the Dalraida church of Christ in Montgomery took a leading role in rewriting this much-needed curriculum for public distribution. We were blessed to have these talented Christians bring to this project many years of teaching experience, both in Bible classes and in school settings. We also want to thank the Dalraida elders who were willing to allow major changes in the educational program and provide the funds for those changes to occur.

        We are grateful to Freed-Hardeman University for giving A.P. permission to use songs written by Lora Laycook and to Sarah Richie for giving permission to use songs and patterns from her books.

        Special thanks also to Rob Baker (curriculum layout and design; coordinating; audio recordings), George Pudzis (layout) and Justin Miller (layout; activities), Micah Lawrence (Web site design), Preston Phillips (artwork), Carol Leah Hatfield (review questions), Mallory Baker (Pinterest upkeep), Thomas and Debbie Tarpley for their significant contributions throughout the production process, and the rest of the A.P. staff for their contributions in editing, writing, and production preparations. Dr. Jeff Miller is the current editor of the A.P. Curriculum.