i have found this product just what i need for my bible study and those present also appreciate its clarity and ease to access the material. good discussion follows each lesson. i enjoy working with this.
Zondervan's "Deeper Connections" is an excellent resource for the church or any small group. Matt Williams, the general editor of the series, has gathered together a solid group of scholars who are experts in their fields, but who can also communicate to the church. The series contains a dvd and participant's guide (both purchased separately). The dvd and guide are designed to follow a three-part pattern: a close look at the original meaning of the biblical text, attention to the historical and cultural background, and an encouraging and challenging application of the text's meaning for today. Thus, each study is broken up into three short segments that take small groups deeper into various texts of the Gospels. Between each of these teaching segments, there is time for group discussion. Jarrett Stevens, the host, introduces each section from a different location in Israel which is always interesting and helpful.So far my small group has gone through the two dvds and it has produced a lot of valuable and fruitful conversations. The teachers have all shown a great balance of challenging us to understand the texts and applying them to our lives. The dvd allows room for discussion, and the participants guide is clear and practical as it helps initiate conversations with relevant and challenging questions. The participant's guide also has a section for five days of personal reflection that centers on the text that was just studied.Overall, Deeper Connections is a great Bible study series that challenges both our hearts and our minds and seeks to deepen our relationship with Jesus. It has definitely risen above my expectations. While I have often felt like other Bible studies (not all) try to transform lives through good concepts with a Bible quote here or there, this series is firmly rooted Scripture. As it stands, my small group plans on purchasing the other dvd studies.
Our group really enjoyed this series. It gives historical background in an interesting manor that makes you think about the story in a new light. A few in our group missed some sessions, and we are now passing it around so we can watch it again!
Our small group liked the format of this study. The Participant's Guide is designed to be used with the DVD. The DVD teaching averages about 30 minutes each session and is divided into several segments with questions for discussion in between. Each weeks session is designed to take 1 1/2 hours total. The format keeps it interesting. The teaching is well done and provides excellent insight into the culture and traditions of the day. The discussion questions lead you to look at the parables as a member of Jesus' original audience. The new insight you have gained allows you to understand the imagery Jesus is using and to extract deeper meaning from the parable. There is no advance preparation needed for this study. However, there are five days of application to do the following week. Reading these scriptures and answering the questions help you to apply the principle Jesus taught through the parable to your own life. This study is great for all groups regardless of their level of Biblical knowledge. It can be used effectively regardless of the commitment level of individual group members.