We are a sm. group watching this DVD. Everyone seems to be getting something out of it for all levels of learning. Some of the studies are so incredible that you have to share them with others. Easy to work with. It's been going house to house with the home owner leading. So it;'s easy.
Only marked the quality down because it is kind of weird that the speakers never look at the camera.
The idea behind the series is great, diving deeper into Jesus' parables and applying them to today. My problem with this series as with a number of otherwise good small group curriculum is the literary license some use to 'add' to the gospel. For example in the second topic, The Two Debtors, Dr. Burge does a great job giving insight into how societal custom and Jewish law played such a huge role in how the the woman was viewed and how that impacted not only the parable, but how those listening would understand it. The problem is he takes it too far, by adding conjecture and possibilities and passing them off as fact. Some of what he suggests might have happen, maybe even everything, but the fact is, it isn't recorded in scripture and since he wasn't there, he should qualify his additions as such. Nothing more than possibilities. Instead, what we get instead of the Gospel according to Luke, is the Gospel according to Dr. Burge. If this were a movie, he can have that license. Considering this is a small group series being viewed by many people with all types of biblical knowledge, he and everyone else should stick to what is written and known, not to what is thought and suspected.
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 small group liked the format of this study. The DVD teaching averages about 30 minutes each session and is divided into several segments with questions for discussion in between. 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 included 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.