Monday, June 6, 2011

LHP Review: What the Bible Teaches

Radkey, Tim and LeeAnn, Carl and Heidi Roth, Robert C. Baker. Marriage By God's Design (Complete Kit). St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. 1 Leader's Guide. 10 workbooks. 4 video DVDs. 1 Promotional Poster. $149.99.  (LHP)

My first reading of this material was all by myself. I was pleased with what I read and saw. And so I took it to work.

On Thursday evenings in February, our congregation used Marriage by God's Design as a marriage enrichment Bible study. The term was chosen carefully. That way, no couple had any excuse that they couldn't use "enrichment."

Overall, our participants were pleased as well. Take a look for yourself...

The Introduction for the Video Series:

The best video moments? They were when you could see the new President of Synod and his wife at their vulnerable, human, humorous best. I won't spoil the surprise, so listen to the DVDs for when the Harrisons say that they never contemplated divorce...

The Trailer for the Video Series:

Each of the four sessions has clear, Biblical, and achievable objectives. 

An icebreaker can be a way to start as couples trickle in or at the scheduled start time. Our participants weren't wild about the TV matching each week, but I could see how this would appeal to younger couples. I would recommend that downloadable alternate icebreakers be made available.

The Leader's Guide introduces video segments well. Videography and content is well-done. And participants may feel more willing to share once they've heard other couples on the DVD. I found myself coming up with alternate review questions for after the video to supplement those in the workbooks. This would be a natural place for the publisher to suggest additional questions to spur on discussion and sharing.

As a pastor, I loved the detail and insight given in the gray boxes that explained difficult passages and Hebrew or Greek words. They made my job easier.

We had planned for 90-minute sessions. Advertising 120 minute sessions would be more realistic, and we could have finished early every time. 

I had considered offering session 4 before session 3, but saw 4 as a more satisfying ending than 3. Our participants were sensitive to the unique life situations of our participants. Some singles attended. Nearly all our couples finished the course together. Some marrieds attended one or more sessions without their spouse. All showed respect and care for the widowed, childless, and single.

What the Bible Teaches about Marriage

Marriage by God’s Design is a four-session, DVD-based study that examines the Bible’s teachings on marriage. Perfect for large or small groups, this resource can also be used for marriage preparation classes, marriage renewal retreats, or for a congregation-wide study on marriage.

The Bible begins with a marriage—Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—and ends with a marriage—the marriage feast of Christ and His Bride, the Church. Throughout its pages, the Bible explains why God created His human creatures male and female and why He instituted marriage for them. Because Marriage by God’s Design focuses on the Bible, participants will learn and grow in the understanding and application of its teachings concerning married—and single—living.

Kit includes:

  • 1 Leader Guide
  • 10 Participant Workbooks
  • 4 DVDs
  • 1 Promotional Poster

Visit to purchase additional/replacement workbooks and leader guides and to download bulletin inserts and printable posters.

Our congregation plans to offer this study about twice a year. We are considering four evenings in a row from Sunday through Wednesday or Monday through Thursday with a date night on Thursday/Friday, four consecutive Sunday afternoons, as a four-week study during our regular Midweek Bible Class slots, or once a month over four months. It would also be a great addition to my current premarital preparation course. We plan to use a variety of days and times to reinforce what the Bible teaches about marriage by continuing to use Marriage by God's Design.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.