Allegories have always been a popular way to teach. Jesus taught that way during his ministry and many Christian authors have used allegories to teach Christian truths throughout the ages. Lately, many of the classical allegorical books have become popular once again because of movies that have been based after them. Many people are catching the truths that these books taught, but, unfortunately, many people are still missing those Christian truths because they have never been taught how to see them. That is something that I have tried to teach to my children since they were very young. Some of the popular allegorical classics I read to my children when they were young and explained to them what was being taught.
I am going to be quite honest. I wasn’t looking for another Bible study curriculum to use with any of my children this summer. Not only because we have some Bible studies that we already love using, but because our summers are super busy. When I found out that we were going to review the Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and the Teen Prasso Homework Manual from Prasso Ministries I had mixed emotions. I thought it would be good for John Allen, my oldest, and he agreed but was hesitant as well. After spending a few weeks with it, however, we are very glad we were chosen.
The Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and Teen Prasso Homework Manual were written to be used with a group once a week with the group members doing homework throughout the week. We used them in a one-on-one setting, so, although I might touch on the group aspect a little, I will basically be reviewing this Bible study as we used them.
Prasso is a Greek word that means repeatedly, continually and habitually practice. That is really perfect name for this study. This is a Bible study that helps teens do just that. It doesn’t focus on any one book of the Bible or any theme, it focuses on the Christian life and living as a Christian. The 13 week Bible study (13 group meetings and 12 weeks of the homework journal) starts out talking about beginning your walk through life on the right path (God), using the right map (Bible), the bridge between us and God (Jesus), the difficult situations that we go through in life and why God allows us to go through them, the enemy that will try to lead us astray (Satan), some of the things that we might have to deal with on our journey (Lies, Pressures, Anger, Forgiveness, Pride & Selfishness), how we have to constantly refocus on God, and lastly, the journey ahead. I really, really like the progression of this study.
So, why did I open up this review talking about allegories? Because that is what makes this whole Bible study interesting. There is a story that continues from week to week that illustrates all of the themes that I wrote about above. It is basically about two teen brothers, Brandon and Derek, and their week long adventure hiking through a remote area of the Rocky Mountains. It begins with them getting several hours into their journey and, you guessed it, realizing that they forgot the map. You can probably see by the above paragraph where this is going. However, as I mentioned in my opening, allegories are a wonderful way to teach God’s word and this allegorical story is absolutely fantastic. I’m not going to reveal too much about it but it perfectly illustrates what the teens will have to face in their journey through life. It is not only the perfect illustration, but it really makes the student come back from week to week to find out what happens next. At least it did with John Allen.
Okay, I’ve talked about the themes of this study and about the story, now let me talk a little bit more about the study. Remember, this study was originally written to be used in a group setting, however, it can be easily adapted to be used one-on-one or in a homeschool setting. What I really like about it is that there is very little preparation involved. Everything is written out for the leader/teacher. Each weekly lesson has a key verse that can be used as the memory verse, and the lesson goal that tells you what the main objective of the lesson is. Usually the lesson begins with a short opening message/discussion, then you read a section of the allegorical story, another short message/discussion, another part of the story, etc. Each week is about three parts story and three parts message/discussion and always begins and ends in prayer. Obviously it is always best to read over the lesson ahead of time, but, realistically, this material is so well written and laid out that you could go from week to week without preparation – however, I repeat, that is not the way to do it – I just say that to illustrate how well done this study is written.
Lest you think that the allegorical story is the main part of this Bible study, remember, an allegory is a story that always has a deeper meaning. In this case, the deeper meaning is scriptural and the two or three short messages that are included in each week’s group session are full of scripture and Biblical stories that explain the deeper meaning in the story. Don’t worry, this is a definitely a Bible study, not a book club just discussing the story.
Which brings me to the Teen Prasso Homework Manual. There are five days of the manual/journal that the student is to complete during the week and then, on the sixth day he is to “rethink” what he has learned on the previous days. It took John Allen only a few minutes to do each day’s lesson. Each week deals with the theme of the previous group meeting, but is all scriptural. The student is guided to read several verses or a story from the Bible that deals with the theme of the week and then answer a few questions about what they read. Although the theme for the week is always the same as what was talked about in the continuing story and during the messages from the previous group meeting, the homework manual very rarely (if at all) refers back to the story. It is, however, just as well written on a teen level and asks great questions and has some great illustrations.
So, after using the Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and the Teen Prasso Homework Manual for several weeks what do we think now? We love it! I am so glad that we were chosen to review it. Since it can seem awkward discussing some of the things one-on-one that were meant to be discussed in a group, I rephrase some things and have loved sitting down with John Allen to discuss and read the story each week. Since there are some private things that the student is sometimes asked to write in the homework manual I didn’t delve into reading all of his answers to the questions when preparing to write this review, but by what he has said and what I did read, it looks like he has really enjoyed it.
I would heartily recommend the Teen Prasso Teacher’s Manual and the Teen Prasso Homework Manual to anyone looking for an excellent Bible study to do with their teens or with a group of teens. I am thinking about ways to use it in my ministry. There are a group of teen boys that I think this would be excellent for. To check out more about this Bible study and other materials from Prasso Ministries, just click on any of the highlighted links above. To read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought, click on the banner below.