WHAT IS BIBLE QUEST?
Bible Quest is different from many other programs you’ve seen; it is different both in its intent and its approach.
First, Bible Quest includes both a plan and resources that equip parents and caring mentors to teach Biblical Truth to their students. In other words, the intent of Bible Quest is not to teach children the Bible. Instead, parents and caring mentors will have the tools they need not only to instruct children in the Word of God, but to teach students how to learn God’s Word on their own for the rest of their lives.
Second, Bible Quest does not aim to help a child ’discover’ knowledge, understanding, or wisdom. Instead, the program seeks to instill patterns of learning while giving the child vital pieces of information that are related together in their proper places. These pieces of information will become ‘pegs’ that will allow for the connections that will result in Biblical understanding and (eventually) Biblical wisdom later on.
The difference between a child ‘discovering’ knowledge and ‘giving’ a child knowledge is one of foundation: the discovery method relies on human intellect and reasoning (the child’s) to help a child ‘grasp’ a concept while the ’giving’ method relies on revelation from authority (ultimately God’s Word) and mastery of that information. While it is true that we as human beings can reason and gain knowledge through experience, God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. It is for this Biblical reason that we believe this is where a child’s understanding should begin.
Once a child has the knowledge (the information given through revelation), they must learn to use the knowledge rightly. The next phase in their journey is to begin to connect the pegs that they’ve already learned together into a much larger picture. Because they already have the facts, their comprehension of the material will be deeper and founded on God’s Word rather than their own opinions, feelings, or misunderstandings.
Finally, a student with the right information that is connected together rightly will have the tools they need in order to teach others truth and refute error.
This is the final goal: to empower parents to help their children use God's Word as a foundation for their thought process!
WHAT IS THE CLASSICAL MODEL?
The classical education model uses three stages of learning. These stages are Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.
Grammar is the first stage, characterized by repetitive learning. It is how we learn anything. You start with the vocabulary and basic information associated with any subject. This stage is easily seen in young children who love to read the same stories and sing the same songs over and over again! Repetition when done in a fun and engaging manner is LOVED by young children.
The second stage is the Dialectic stage. This is where a child may begin to ask why information is connected and how are ideas related to one another. This is usually seen in children around the ages of 10-13.
The final stage is the Rhetoric stage. This is when you are able to USE the information you have learned to change and improve the world around you. This is also when you gain the ability to solve problems correctly. This is done because you have a solid base of information that you have acquired through the earlier stages. This stage is seen among teens as they desire to express themselves and their ideas.
For centuries, parents have taught their children using MEMORIZED LANGUAGE, GUIDED DISCUSSION, and ADVENTUROUS APPLICATION. Scripturally, we are told to HIDE God’s Word in our hearts, DISCUSS the Bible with our children, and be DOERS of the Word. The classical model is an age-old approach to learning that is BIBLICAL, FUN, and EFFECTIVE!
CAN I USE BIBLE QUEST WITH OTHER CLASSICAL CURRICULUMS?
We are part of a classical community that meets once a week. It is particularly easy to add the Bible Quest Equip Phase into our weekly memory work. On the first day of our week we introduce the Bible memory work, which takes about 20-30 minutes, then during the week we reinforce the memory work by playing review games, listening to the verse songs, and talking about it as a family. During the week this takes roughly 15 minutes a day.
If your children are ready for Empower Phase (dialectic stage) work, then it may take 20-30 minutes a day during the week as they work on the activity and as they wrestle with some of the themes.
Expeditions take longer, and may take multiple weeks to complete. It's okay if you don't complete one for each week. We recommend no more than about 30 minutes of work per day on Expeditions.
WHAT AGES IS BIBLE QUEST
There are different parts of the program that work with each age group, and all of those elements are included. Bible Quest is divided into three distinct phases: the Equip Phase is very effective for younger children, Empower Phase works well for older kids and middle schoolers, Expedition Phase is more for highschool.
Because Bible Quest uses the classical method, the material is appropriate for anyone of any age: we all learn from memorizing knowledge, connecting that knowledge together for understanding, and then applying what we know (preferably under the guidance of a mentor!).
The Bible Quest program is designed to be used again and again for mastery while continually digging deeper each time the content is revisited. For more on how the classical model can work in discipleship and teaching God's Word, check out this article.
CAN STUDENTS FROM DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS BE IN THE SAME CLASSROOM?
Absolutely! Get some great tips on bridging age gaps with an article on older kids in the same classroom. Check out this article to see how Bible Quest can work with each stage of student development. For another article specifically on the subject of teaching older students with Bible Quest, click here.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO GET STARTED?
For an overview of how to disciple kids (with or without Bible Quest!), check out The Real Solution for Discipleship. We also have an article specifically for beginning Equip-level teachers and parents here. To take a look at our products, please go to our web store.
CAN I SEE ANY SAMPLES?
Yes! Go to this page to view two sample weeks, or fill out the form for four full weeks for free!
We have been in youth ministry in Kansas since 2003 and have ministered to many, many youth but a disturbing trend began to make itself known: teenagers were involved in church but had little Biblical knowledge or understanding and, while they could engage biblical ideas, they were relying on their own human-based reasoning for the vast majority of their spiritual thought. As a result, strange paradoxes would arise in their thinking, like rejecting God's goodness because they couldn't fathom how a good God allows pain or rejecting God's description of sin and holiness because they could not reconcile their belief that certain lifestyles were 'just fine' with the unflinching biblical stances on those lifestyles.
In short, youth would be involved in church, but many (not all) would leave the church upon graduation from high school, but because they had been trained to listen to their 'hearts' (which are deceitfully wicked, according to Scripture), to human wisdom (which is not equal with God's wisdom, according to Scripture), or to something else entirely, they didn't have a submission to God's Word. Since they didn't see God's Word as truly authoritative and since many of them likely had no relationship with Jesus Christ at all (partly because they didn't see fit to submit to the reality of their own need for salvation as sinners!), they left the Church and as of this writing approximately 70% are either out of touch with us or have not returned.
There was one ray of hope: parental discipleship. We did a study of our youth and found that of youth that had parental involvement in their discipleship, that had parents that required them to be involved in church, that were engaged themselves in the life of the church, 80% were still active in following Jesus. Of the remaining 20% of those students, 100% had some sort of crisis with their fathers (death or divorce) during their teen years. So, parental involvement in discipling their children and youth was VITAL. There is still a clear need to reach out to the youth of America that do not have parents that are actively discipling them, but we were beginning to consider how to help parents be more involved in the process.
We began home-schooling our own young children in 2010, and we quickly got involved with a community that advocated classical education (see the next FAQ entry, below). As a professionally-trained educator, Nathan was blown away with the implications... why had the public university never taught this approach? For crying out loud, why did we switch gears as a culture from the classical approach to the human-reason-centered approach we have today? Getting involved with our own children, we began to see the fruit of this approach: we saw the value of parents teaching their children using the classical model with results! At the same time, we were seeking ways to help parents get involved in teaching their children the Bible. In reading God’s Word, we came across James 3:1 where it says, “Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.” Interestingly, if children are given straight-Biblical information as in the classical model, the Word of God teaches them, and will teach them rightly! Obviously, parents must still teach their children, but they do so on a solid foundation that God Himself gives!
As we prayed about what to do and how best to reach kids and youth for Jesus, we realized that we should tutor the Bible verbatim as best as we could and let God teach people based on His own Word. This became the foundation for Bible Quest!
Since the beginning of Bible Quest, much has taken place. Perhaps most significantly, we have had our first boy, which changes everything. Nathan also now works for the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), and we released our third edition of Bible Quest in January of 2019.
Our story is not over. God is still working in our lives to make us more like Him, but we’re excited about the journey He has prepared for us! We’re also excited to hear how God uses this work in your life and the lives of your children... please e-mail us and tell us your stories, and thank you for letting us be a part of your family’s journey to be followers of Jesus!
DOES BIBLE QUEST SUPPORT A PARTICULAR DENOMINATION?
WHAT IS BIBLE QUEST'S
STATEMENT OF FAITH?
Bible Quest doesn't hit any particular denominational or doctrinal stance since it teaches the Bible directly in its grammar (no interpretation included). Some interpretation is necessary in the "WHY?" section of each week's material to try to help parents and caring mentors to answer questions their students have. We do our best to hold fast to Scripture in this section that is intended for adult leaders, not for kids. In no way should our (faithful, but still having the potential for flaw) attempt to help parents and caring mentors with discipleship of their students override Biblical Truth. However, because there is so much error and twisting of Scripture in the sinful world we live in, here is a statement of faith that we adhere to. If we discover that some of our wording unintentionally results in error, we will gladly edit it to better reflect the Truth of God's Word revealed:
We believe that Jesus is God, and that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Triune. He is the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator and Sustainer of all things.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is absolute Truth in what it reports. There is no appropriate response to Scripture aside from submission to it. God's Word is infallible and consists of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is thus a complete and continuous testament to God’s interaction with humanity. This interaction culminates in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is unique and is the absolute authority on all matters on which it speaks.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. (John 1:1) He is both God and man at the same time, born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14)
Jesus died by crucifixion for our sins and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Cor. 15:1-5)
He ascended into Heaven and is at God's Mighty Right Hand as our High Priest and Mediator. (Hebrews 6:20, 12:24)
We're all a bunch of sinners (Romans 3:23) and we deserve death (Romans 6:23).
But God loves us and made a way for us to be saved! (John 3:16)
If we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. (Romans 10:9-11) It is God that does this work in us, and it is God that justifies us in His sight. Salvation requires repentance from sin, not just intellectual assent to God's existence. We follow Him in baptism as He commanded. (Romans 6:3-5)
God gives His followers the Holy Spirit, who is also God, as a pledge, sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30) The Holy Spirit gifts us, empowers us, convicts us, instructs us, and draws us to Jesus.
Once we're followers of Jesus, we become a part of His Bride, the Church. We are united in Christ, and the Church can be seen in local congregations that follow Jesus with word and deed.
Jesus will come again to the earth as the disciples saw Him go in Acts 1 to judge the living and the dead and bring about the final parts of God's great redemptive story.
We are commanded to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded. (Matthew 28:20) Our lives are not ours, they are His. We should live by the Spirit, not by the flesh. We deny self and serve His Kingdom.
We have God's Holy Word, the Bible, and while we are saved by God's grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we were created to do good works, so we should do them! (Ephesians 2:10) Let's FOLLOW God's Word, not just read it or look at it! (James 1:22)
God's Word is transformative and useful in training, teaching, and fighting the flesh. (Hebrews 4:12, Psalms 119:9-11, 2 Timothy 3:16) Followers of Jesus should look more and more like Him, so let's get into His Word!
It might also be important to know if Bible Quest has any specific doctrinal teachings or biases.
God gave parents the role of discipling their kids and the Bible itself is transformative; Bible Quest should only be a resource, so we genuinely tried to avoid pushing doctrinal "positions" when we were putting the program together. However, it may be helpful to note that there are several intentional biases that show up in the curriculum's questions and answers that kids commit to memory:
Bible Quest takes a conservative view of creation, archaeology, and geography. You'll see this in the "Where?" and "When?" questions. For instance, the 1250 BC date proposed by liberal historians for the Exodus is false - we promote the approximately 1440 BC date. Likewise, we direct students (in the Bible Dig section) to examine the maps in their Bibles to see if they show the path of the Exodus crossing the Red Sea anywhere. (Unfortunately, they probably don't - it has to do with a theory proposed in liberal scholarship that the Hebrews crossed the shallow Reed Sea rather than the Red Sea - because the Hebrew word "Yom Suph" [Red Sea] sounds like the Egyptian word for "reed" - and Bible map-makers do not want to appear "unscholarly.") We take Genesis literally.
We adhere to the truth of certain orthodox doctrines (such as the Trinity) without backing them up exegetically. This would include the Atonement, Christ's humanity and divinity, etc.
God is smart and incapable of untruth, so we can trust that His Word says what He wants it to. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do exegetical work (as Peter said, some things Paul writes are difficult!), but it does mean that we can trust what the Bible says.
The real place these biases show up will be in Creation/Early-Earth/Exodus-related materials and perhaps in New Testament memorized content (in Revelation and the epistles more than the Gospels or Acts) and in the Bible Dig for each week, the optional Empower activity that highlights the material for each week.
Any unintentional bias in Bible Quest will likely be in the "Why?" section (intended for the parents, NOT the children - find them on the lower part of the left page of each lesson week in the sample lessons). Here's some of those questions that might be of particular interest from the New Testament:
Why should we repent?
Why did God send His Son?
Why is it important that Jesus didn’t sin?
Why should believers be baptized?
These are very important issues, to be sure, and the answers Bible Quest provides could certainly reveal a particular doctrinal slant. However, unless a teacher chooses to read those articles to students, those "Why?" articles aren't really part of the curriculum - they're intended for parents and caring mentors who need content that they can use to talk to their kids if and when these questions come up.
As an example, here's the actual "Why?" answer to "Why should believers be baptized?" in week 4 of the New Testament (page 26):
In three of the four Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, & Luke), Jesus’ ministry begins with His baptism (the Gospel of John’s also seems to imply it in John 1:32-33). Why did Jesus start His ministry with baptism and why should believers be baptized?
There are a lot of opinions about baptism, what it means, and why it matters. We need to be careful as we approach this subject, that we do not add anything to the conversation that isn’t in Scripture, but also that we do not take anything away from it. There are at least three reasons for believers to be baptized.
One reason to be baptized is because it follows Christ’s example. John the Baptist preached baptism and Christ indicated why He ought to get baptized in Matthew 3:15 when He remarked about His baptism, “...for this [his baptism] is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” We are to walk as Jesus walked, and so we ought to follow His example and get baptized.
A second reason to be baptized is the reassurance it provides for the believer. In Romans 6:4-5 it says, “We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection…” If we follow Christ in baptism, then as we follow Him as a believer we can always look back on that moment of our baptism and be reassured that we are born again.
A third reason that believers ought to be baptized is the fact that Jesus commands it. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it very clear that it is God’s grace through faith in Jesus that brings salvation and not anything we do; our actions do not make us righteous before God (see Romans 1:17). But, Jesus’ followers should pursue righteous actions and obey what Jesus commands. (Luke 6:46) Notice that the Scripture assumes that believers are baptized (Eph. 4:5, Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12). Believers in Christ obey Jesus when they get baptized.
While Bible Quest aims to equip parents and caring mentors to simply to teach the Bible directly to students, if you have further questions about particular doctrinal questions in Bible Quest, please feel free to contact us!
WHY DOES BIBLE QUEST USE THE W.E.B. VERSION OF THE BIBLE?
The World English Bible (also known as the WEB) is a free updated revision of the American Standard Version (1901). It is one of the few public domain, modern-English translations of the entire Bible, and it is freely distributed to the public using electronic formats.
KJV songs also automatically come in any Bible Quest kit as a digital download in mp3 format.
Any translation of the Bible could be easily adapted and used with Bible Quest, but we only have musical recordings of the KJV and WEB at this time.