Posted by: alisonwalley | 23 August 2009

Explore: A review

I’ve talked about The Good Book Company’s Explore notes for adults in a previous blog. But as that was a comparative review, I want to look at Explore in a bit more depth.

exploreAs with many other Bible reading notes, Explore comes in an A5 format covering three months of Bible readings. The first page gives you a brief ‘In this issue’, talks about how to use Explore and gives a list of contributors (names only – a brief bio of each is on the back page). Their ‘How to use Explore’ lists finding a time and quiet place, asking God for help in understanding, reading carefully, studying the verses with Explore, and praying about what you’ve read. If you want more help than that, just turn the page to find additional, excellent advice on Bible reading.

Explore has a good balance between Old and New Testaments and may spend up to three weeks on one book. Often, the reading for Sunday is different, usually a Psalm or some Proverbs. The writers are not afraid to get you reading several chapters at once (usually from parts of the Old Testament) to get the sweep of a story.

The layout of Explore is interesting. Unlike the Scripture Union notes, it is much less rigid. Yes, the title for the day’s notes, the Bible passage and the date are always the same (plus ‘Bible in a year’ at the bottom), and the text is always in two columns, but there’s more use of subheadings and boxes, which I find quite helpful.

Usually, the notes start with a bit of introduction, before reading the text. And the notes tend to direct you to the particular verses. So, when reading Exodus 13:1–16 the notes tell you to read verses 1–2 and 11–16 first. Then there’s comment on that, followed by a ‘Time out’ box, before reading the middle section verses 3 to 10. Does that sound odd? If you read the passage, you’ll find that the middle section is about  commemorating the Passover as a remembrance of God’s deliverance, and the other verses are about consecration of the first-born to God. Finally, there’s an ‘apply’ box.

‘Time out’ boxes are to point the reader to further meditation; it’s pretty obvious what ‘pray through’ and ‘apply’ boxes are for! Explore is very good at asking questions which make readers look at the text more carefully, and of challenging readers to apply what they have read. One thing they frequently come back to is the need to make sure that the reader isn’t just reading mechanically. The notes emphasise the need for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and the need to keep that relationship central in all of our lives.

There are no extra articles in Explore. You will though find advertisements for some of the other Bible reading notes and Bible studies produced by the Good Book Company. And the last page of the notes has a flap which you can tear off and list points for prayer for different days of the week so that you can pray systematically for people and situations.

If you want to get a taster of Explore, visit the Good Book Company’s website and order their Time with God, which gives you a sample 28 days readings (there’s a five-page sampler on the website too.

Who is Explore for? Anyone who is serious about reading God’s word, who wants to get the Bible into their life and apply it. I thoroughly recommend it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: