Wednesday 21 August 2013

Beauty in the heart

The subject of true beauty is something that is relevant to all women so I was delighted to have the opportunity to review Beauty in the heart: a study of godly beauty for young women 

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published by Doorposts.

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The Bible Study is by Pam Forster and is recommended for girls aged 10-12 and older although it is said that it could be used by younger girls with the help of a parent. Alternative questions are provided for boys using the book.  My 17 year old daughter and I both studied beauty using this study.

Beauty in the heart looks at what the Bible has to say about true beauty and the attitudes of heart that characterise a woman who is beautiful in God's sight. It covers different types of Bible study and different Bible passages. The book is set out in chapters divided into days. There is sufficient material to use the book for 86 days doing one study per day. The book has spaces to fill in the answers to questions and links to on-line Bible study resources as well as boxes with interesting details such as how Matthew Henry's commentary on the Bible came to be written. 

The types of Bible study include book, chapter and verse studies, a character studies and a word and topical study. Passages studied include the books for Ruth and Esther, the account of Abigail and passages from 1 Peter, 1 Timothy and Proverbs.

My daughter has written about this study: 
It was encouraging to have a topic, that can potentially be so consuming in a negative sense to girls, dealt with in a godly way and it was good to be guided to the passages which deal with this topic so that a clear view of what the Bible says about beauty can be built up.
I love that it really slows down Bible reading so that you gain a full understanding of the context, aim and meaning of the text.
I enjoyed that it introduced you to devotional aids such a commentaries, which then gives you the confidence to take them and use them in your own Bible readings to gain fuller understanding.

What we liked about this book.
We both found the book useful. I liked the way that it introduced various types of Bible study in a systematic and logical way. Having to fill in answers helps prevent skim reading. 
Pointing out on-line resources is important in a study for younger people. I was pleased to see the way in which valued resources such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Matthew Henry's commentary are introduced.

What could be improved
These are relatively minor issues but some more application could be useful, possibly at least a point a day, or some question raised by the passage that can be taken away and thought about during the day. E.g in Day 1 of Study 1 there is quite a bit of reading, and then a few simple questions about the passage, but none that can be taken as a challenge for the day, or point of encouragement. I wonder if people would be tempted to do all the reading, answer the questions and not think any deeper that day.
Some of the studies were quite short and both my daughter and I managed more than one study a day. It might be worth noting that older readers may manage the study at a faster pace.

We had the book as an e-book. We made the choice not to print out 128 pages but to write pdf notes. We both felt that this is a book that would be better as a physical book rather than as an e-book.

This is a book that I recommend for girls aged 10-12 and over. It can also be usefully used by older women. Do try to buy the physical book, if possible.

Beauty in the heart is available from Doorposts for $14 as a paperback and for $10 as an e-book. The paperback is on preorder and will ship by 29th August. There is currently a special offer so that if the code "beautyshop" is used, then an instant free copy of the e-book is received when the paperback is ordered. This offer is valid until 31st August 2013.

My fellow crew members have been reviewing Beauty in the heart and Because you are strong, a Bible study for young men.

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  1. Is it possible to contact you via e-mail, Sarah Elizabeth? I have commented once before, on your blog and wish to ask your advice on a matter, but don't know how to go about it, apart from via comments.

    1. Susan-Anne, my e-mail is sarahelisdotjones65atgooglemaildotcom.