God’s Great Covenant: A Bible Course for Children Old Testament Book 1 (Review Crew)

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Last spring I shared my excitement about Classical Academic Press’s God’s Great Covenant series with you when I had the opportunity to review the first New Testament volume. I absolutely love the approach this series takes to teaching all of Scripture as one big story of redemption! Those of you who have been around here for long know that’s a theme I return to again and again when I write about Biblical instruction. 

This time, I received the Old Testament Book 1 student text, the accompanying Teacher’s Edition, and an mp3 audio file. This volume covers Genesis through Ruth, and is written at a third grade level, although it’s adaptable for a much wider range than that. The text is divided into five units with a total of thirty-two chapters, with a recommended pace of a chapter per week. Each unit focuses on one aspect of God’s character, while moving chronologically through Scripture. 

From the product page:

Unit I: In the Beginning – God’s Power.  God, the mighty Elohim, demonstrated His power by speaking creation into existence. He barred sinful man from the garden and judged the wicked world with a catastrophic flood. At the same time the power of His mercy and His redemptive plan secured man’s future existence.
Unit II: By the Patriarchs – God’s Promises. The Lord God plucked Abram out of the city of Ur and sent him on a journey. Through the covenant the Lord gave Abram (later called Abraham) three promises: to give him a land, to make him the father of many nations, and to bless the world through him. These promises, and God’s faithfulness to keep them, form the foundation for the rest of God’s story.
Unit III: Out of Egypt – God’s Redemption. In God’s mind, rescuing Israel from Egypt was more than saving the Israelites from slavery. The Lord God was redeeming Israel from sin and renewing the covenant He had made with Abraham. Despite their sin the Lord desired to dwell with His people and bless them.
Unit IV: Through the Wilderness – God’s Provision. In the harshness of the Sinai wilderness the Lord God showed His people that His care for them was perfect. Even though they grumbled, complained, and refused to trust Him, God was completely trustworthy.
Unit V: In the Promised Land – God’s Faithfulness. After the glorious conquest of Canaan, Israel entered into the dark years when everyone did “what was right in his own eyes.” Even though Israel repeatedly turned from the Lord, He always heard their cries for mercy and delivered them from the oppression of their enemies.

Each chapter opens with a page containing the corresponding Biblical text reference, the theme of the chapter, a memory verse, a Key Facts chart, vocabulary, and thought-provoking “Who is God?” questions designed to encourage children to consider what they’re learning about Him and how to relate to Him in their own lives. The text is written in a readable, narrative style, and is fairly short (2-3 pages). Each chapter wraps up with a worksheet and chapter quiz, and each unit ends with a review chapter that recaps what was covered throughout that unit. There are also “Jesus in the OT” boxes scattered throughout the text pointing out how various events and objects in the Old Testament foreshadow Christ.

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The Teacher’s Edition is just a treasure trove of information! It contains a full reproduction of the student text, accompanied by answer keys and teacher’s notes, with additional factual information expanding upon the historical, geographical, cultural, and theological concepts introduced in the text. There’s also plenty of room in the margins for jotting your own notes, and each chapter is keyed to corresponding questions from the Catechism for Children when applicable (love that!!). 

The mp3 file contains two hours of recording featuring 27 stories from Genesis to Ruth engagingly read by Christopher Perrin, and is compatible with most popular music players like iTunes.

I am highly impressed with this series, even more so now that I’ve seen how it handles the Old Testament! There are some difficult subjects covered in the first several biblical books, and author Claire Larsen is able to use understandable language and bring it to the student’s level without watering it down. I love that God is the primary character throughout…instead of relating individual stories with a message or moral, the story is told from the perspective of God’s plan and how everything fits into it. 

And just as with the New Testament volume I reviewed, I am so appreciative of the thoroughness of the Teacher’s Edition! I find that most of my teacher’s guides just sit on the shelf, and many of them are little more than answer keys. Not so with God’s Great Covenant! This guide is completely comprehensive and chock full of additional relevant information. It’s definitely worth purchasing!

I chose to use this study with Karate Kid (11), even though he’s on the upper end of the age range. It goes right along with his history studies, and he’s able to do it independently, which he really likes. Since he’s a fluent reader and the chapters are short, he’s been doing two chapters a week. I read the corresponding notes in the teacher’s guide on my own, and then we discuss a couple of times a week. Armed with all the information provided, I’m able to really dig into what he’s read and have some great, meaningful conversations with him! The illustrations and maps are well done and fun to look at, and Karate Kid even enjoys the worksheets and quizzes! There’s plenty of variety (multiple choice, fill in the blank, charts, and puzzles) to keep his interest level up, and he likes to consider the closing “Think About This…” question on each worksheet and discuss it with me.

He hasn’t been enthusiastic about using the audio, since he’s able to easily read the text himself and do everything independently, but I can see that it would be quite useful with younger children as a supplement to, or occasionally a replacement for, reading along with them. The narrator’s voice is pleasant and his reading is lively! I think this will definitely get more use when I start my youngest two on this study in the near future! 

I also chose to purchase the timeline and map pack, but haven’t really incorporated it yet. They’re high quality and colorful, and will be a great way to reinforce and visualize the places and events covered.

We will definitely be purchasing the rest of the volumes in this series and working through them! They’re a wonderful, comprehensive resource to have in your discipleship toolbox!

God’s Great Covenant Old Testament Book 1 is available for $22.95, the Teacher’s Edition for $24.95, and the MP3 file for $9.95, or the entire set can be purchased as a bundle, including the timeline and map set, for $79.95 (the timeline and map set is also available individually for $36.95). 

You can read my thoughts on the New Testament Book 1 here.

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Comments

  1. A well written review! Does this book take a position on creation; young earth vs old earth?

    • Thia…it doesn't take a position one way or the other. The teacher's edition makes a brief mention in the notes that this text isn't the place to delve into the creation theories but that there are several undeniable facts we CAN know from it…that God made everything from nothing, what God spoke happened, mankind was made in the image of God, etc.

    • Thank you for your reply. I'm even more interested in this now!

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