What makes Telling God’s Story different? (or, Why another Bible curriculum?)
There are many Bible curricula available, and some of them are quite good. But too often these programs treat the Bible as a collection of moral lessons (“Be brave like David was!”), as a series of disconnected stories, or as ammunition for the culture wars.
Telling God’s Story treats the Bible as a unified, exciting, true story with Jesus as the most important character.
Drawing on Well-Trained Mind Press’ years of experience with classical education, this curriculum shows parents how to introduce their children to the Bible in age-appropriate ways. The accompanying Activity Books provide exciting, historically accurate projects, games, coloring pages, and crafts which engage all the sense and a wide variety of learning styles.
What denominational beliefs does Telling God’s Story represent?
Telling God’s Story is designed to be used across Christian denominational lines. The curriculum teaches historic Christian orthodoxy (God’s loving mission to rescue his marred creation; the Incarnation and Virgin Birth; the sinless life, redemptive death, and real resurrection of God’s son Jesus Christ; our utter reliance on God’s grace to follow Jesus and to obey his difficult commands), but it does not push one single interpretation of those secondary issues (such as mode of baptism and church governance) on which sincere Christians differ.
Why does Telling God’s Story - 1 begin with the Gospels, instead of, say, Genesis?
Who Jesus is and what he did is central to the Christian faith. That is why this curriculum begins with teaching children about him. The Well-Trained Mind Press curriculum, targeted at grades 1-4, focuses on what the Bible as a whole focuses on: Jesus. The emphasis will be on getting to know him by looking at who he was and what he did, being careful to keep things at a level that will encourage children in their young Christian journeys.
Dr. Peter Enns offers guidance for Telling God's Story to the middle and upper grade students in the text, Telling God’s Story: A Parents’ Guide to Teaching the Bible. You can use this guidance to take your students through the Christian roots in the Old Testament, and more. Parents often choose a curriculum produced by their denomination or local assembly for the middle and upper grades.
What’s the difference between the various books? Which ones do I need?
The Parents’ Guide, Telling God’s Story: A Parents’ Guide to Teaching the Bible, is like a user’s manual for the whole curriculum (grades 1-12). It explains our unique approach and helps you to understand what the Bible is and how best to present its epic story to your children.
The Olive Branch Books curriculum covers grades 1-4 with these materials.
- The Instructor Text for each year contains every lesson for a full school year, along with the Scripture text on which each lesson is based, and the background information you’ll need in order to teach with confidence.
- The Activity Book for each year contains support material to accompany each lesson, including beautiful and accurate coloring pages, individual projects, group games, recipes, and crafts. These allow you and your children to dig deeper, reinforce what they’ve learned, and find out more about the world of the Bible.
Will Telling God’s Story tell my child all she needs to know about God?
No. At Olive Branch Books, we believe that the primary responsibility for religious instruction belongs with parents and religious communities. Telling God’s Story is intended as a tool to help parents and teachers in the task of teaching the Bible. We feel strongly that parents and the local church are ultimately responsible for instruction in Scripture and its implications for daily life. This curriculum is not intended to replace or supplant the teachings provided by the local church.
How much time will this curriculum require each day? How many books or lessons should I complete in a school year?
Expect to complete one lesson a week, taking a school year to complete each grade-level. To read more about the organization of the Instructor Texts and how you might use them with the Activity Books, see the Introduction to the Instructor Text for Year 1.
How adaptable is this curriculum for classroom settings?
Very! We’ve crafted the curriculum to be usable both by parents at home and Sunday school teachers in classrooms. The Activity Book includes group activities and reproducible coloring pages as well as one-on-one projects for each lesson. If you would like to learn more about licensing the Student Pages for your classrooms, you can read more here.
Who are the authors and what do they believe?
Peter Enns, professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, has taught the Bible in churches, universities, and seminaries for about 25 years, and has authored several books on Scripture, including a commentary on Exodus and a study guide to Genesis. He and his wife Susan live in Pennsylvania, where they have raised their three children. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard, and a Master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. To learn more about him, visit his website.
“My Christian faith is expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the historic expressions of Christian orthodoxy. I believe in the universal and humanly unalterable grip of both death and sin and the work of the Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in redeeming humanity from them by the deep love and mercy of the Father. The teachings of Scripture as a whole and Jesus in particular direct my life as a follower of Christ—as a husband, father, church-goer, scholar, and human being.” -- Peter Enns
Rachel Marie Stone is the author of the Year 3 Instructor Text, The Unexpected Way, and the Year 4 Instructor Text, The Story of God’s People Continues. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Tim and their sons. Her book Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food was published in 2013 by InterVarsity Press. Her book Birthing Hope was one of Library Journal's "Best Books of 2018." She has had articles and essays published in Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and Flourish magazine. She now teaches at the Stony Brook School. You can read more of her biography and her blog here.
I read on the internet that Telling God’s Story is about evolution. Is this true?
No. Our Telling God’s Story curriculum is about the Bible. In fact, the words “evolve” and “evolution” never appear. Years One-Three are about the life of Jesus, as depicted in the Four Gospels of the New Testament. The only references to origins are where Jesus (in his miracles) is shown to have his Father’s power over creation. Author Peter Enns describes God as the Creator of all things (pages 28-30, of Year 1, for example).
Likewise, in the “how-to” book which explains our overall curriculum to parents and instructors, Dr. Enns spends several pages talking about God’s role as Creator, and about the days of creation in Genesis 1. You can read samples from that book, including the chapter on Creation, on our website.
Unfortunately, some websites have published “reviews” of our books, or have “warned” parents about them, without first reading the books. We believe that such scare tactics serve no one. Our goal is to help parents and educators understand the Bible and the Author better, and to share its exciting, true story with their children and students.