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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beauty in the Heart

This is a review.

We received an e-book Bible study from Doorposts, called Beauty in the Heart.  Beauty in the Heart is a Bible study designed by Pam Forster, for girls, ages 10-12 and up and focuses on Godly beauty.

I really wanted to try this out with both A-girl (13) and L-girl (11), because as all girls this age, they are becoming more and more interesed in the look that they are presenting to the world.  I am finding myself saying all those things my parents said to me about my looks:  You don't need to paint yourself up to look pretty.  Is that what you are going to wear?  Aren't those a little tight/short/lowcut?

We have talked about modesty.  We have talked about inner beauty.  And, I have gotten eyerolls.

So, when we got the chance at this Bible study that I could do with them and not just preach at them, I was excited.  I will be honest, they were not excited when I presented it to them.

We did this after our family Circle Time with just the three of us.  There are 10 Chapters:

1.  Beauty in Submission
2.  Beauty in the Heart
3.  Beauty in Trusting God
4.  Beauty in Humility
5.  Beauty in Modesty
6.  Beauty in Serving
7.  Beauty without Discretion
8.  Beauty in Crisis
9.  Beauty in the Gates
10. Beauty in Review
There is a little section at the end that has "alternate" questions for young men, but there is a Bible study that Doorposts has that is geared towards young men - that might be better suited to them.
Each study is divided in 7 day cycles for the Bible study assignments.  Some were easier than others, so we usually grouped 2 or 3 days together at a time.

This is not a shallow, breezy devotional or Bible study.  It is deep and intense.  It takes some real soul searching.  It takes deep reading of the Bible stories of Godly women, like Esther, Sarah,  and Ruth.

This Bible study clarified for me why my parents said the things they did to me....and why I am following in their footsteps in preaching it to my daughters.  It made me look closer at some familiar Bible stories.  Honestly, this study made me think a little differently about Abraham and the time he pretended that Sarah was his sister. (Genesis 12: 10-20)   

I have decided that it is really difficult to "review" a Bible study.  Because the information ends up being so personal and different for everyone that works through it.

This is one of those studies that probably ended up speaking more to me, at this point, than them.  I think to them, it ended up just being more of the stuff mom has been saying to them already....but they don't really want to hear it.  Their hearts aren't quite soft enough yet to really understand that Beauty in the Heart is really what will attract people to you.  But, I know that is planted seeds in their hearts.  I know it.

Although, at this point, I think the Introduction to the book was what was the most clear to them.  Its main points were:

Most women are interested in being pretty and there is nothing wrong with looking your best.  God is, in fact, the one who made he wants you to understand what true beauty is and where it comes from.   This study works to teach what God says about beauty in the midst of a beauty obsessed world.

The other thing I thought this study was good at was really creating a way to really study scripture.  The author does this by comparing scripture passages, encouraging the use of a concordance, studying the people in the Bible and their actions and choices.  It really encourages digging for the answers.  Even in some cases going back to the original Hebrew and Greek works and how they are used in different situations throughout the Bible.

The author suggested having Nave's Topical Bible and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance handy to use in conjunction with the study.  We did not have Nave's Topical Bible, but we do have Strong's Concordance, which has helpful.

Also, this study uses King James Version of the scriptures, but I am not a big fan of that so we looked up everything in the New International Version.  The author also suggests marking certain passages and verses in your Bible and even in some instances color coding them.  If you have an issue with writing in your Bible, you could skip these steps in the study.  My dad wrote all over his Bible and in almost every writing in ours wasn't a big deal. 

Some pages have little gray boxes with additional things to study, for example, in the chapter covering the themes in 1 Peter 2:11-3:9, she suggests studying the life of Jesus, especially his last day and how He responded to those who wronged him.  See?  Not a light, fluffy Bible study.  Another gray box suggested using an on-line parallel Bible to compare translations of the same verse.

Here are some sample pages from the book, so you can get a flavor of the information and the way it is presented.

I, personally liked this study (even though it was a lot deeper than I thought it was going to be) and hope that I at least planted seeds in my daughters of what true Godly beauty means.  That beauty is a good thing when it isn't taken to extremes like they are seeing in the world today.

The Beauty in the Heart Bible study is available in hard cover and e-book form.  If you hurry, you can use  the coupon "beautystudy" in your shopping cart to get a free instant-download PDF copy of the Bible study when you pre-order the paperback (Print books will ship by 8/29. Special ends 8/31).  The paperback is available for $14.00.

The TOS Reviewers also got a chance to review a Bible study for guys called Because You Are Strong.  Go take a look and see what the other TOS reviewers thought of the Bible studies