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, and we have recently released our third edition of Bible Quest!
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!
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.
WHY THE CLASSICAL APPROACH?
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!
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 is a program that equips parents to teach Biblical Truth to their children. In other words, the intent of Bible Quest is not to teach students the Bible. Instead, parents will have the tools they need not only to instruct their children in the Word of God, but to teach their children how to learn God’s Word on their own for the rest of their lives.
Second, Bible Quest does not aim to help the 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 understanding and (eventually) 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 to easily teach others the truth or 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!
DO YOU HAVE ANY SAMPLES?
Yes! Go to this page to view two sample weeks, or fill out the form for four full weeks for free!
WHAT DO WE BELIEVE?
Our 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 answer questions their kids have. We do our best to hold fast to Scripture in this section that is intended for parents, not kids. In no way should our (faithful, but still having the potential for flaw) attempt to help parents with discipleship of their kids 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!
CAN I USE THIS WITH MY OTHER CLASSICAL CURRICULUM?
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.
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.