I talked on the phone with a dear friend, recently. She was feeling frustrated because it seemed many of the new resources for teaching children about God’s Word are heavily marketed exclusively to homeschooling mothers.
With two children in public school, her afternoon and evenings hours are already filled with homework and meal prep. Coupled with ministry and church obligations, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on her list. She needed a sound and intentional resource on the Bible with no prep work.
The God Puzzle
So, when I received The God Puzzle by children’s ministry pro Valerie Ackermann I got excited. I could read the author’s heart right away – she had a passion for equipping parents to tell their own children the story of the gospel.
The God Puzzle: How the Bible fits together to reveal God as Your Greatest Treasure is a workbook about the Christian faith for kids ages 7-12.
What I liked:
It presents children with the whole story of the Bible! (You know how I love the Big Picture of God’s Word). Ackermann begins where all good Bible studies should – the beginning (creation) – and follows the redemptive thread of the biblical story of Christ through to the new creation (Revelation)!
It puts the parent in the driver seat. The God Puzzle gives parents the tools to fulfill their biblical responsibility to train up their child in God’s Word – without any prep work! The 36 lessons can be tailored to any schedule. I think my public school mom/friend would be happy to know the lessons can be done daily or weekly, in 30 minutes or 10.
It preps children for a robust faith. This workbook tackles some tough ideas like the meaning of the image of God and sin. It introduces and explains words like covenant, prophecy, and worship. All these theological terms are presented in fun and engaging ways. Plus, the child is encouraged to look up Scripture using their own Bibles (which I really appreciate).
What I didn’t like:
The author’s use of illustrations to explain the Trinity. On the chapter on the Trinity, the author uses an illustration of an egg and an apple to explain the three-in-one aspect of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
While they successfully avoid modalism found in the water/ice/vapor analogy (that God is made up of and reveals himself in different modes – Father, Son, and Spirit), I tend to think these types of illustrations are too simplistic. I agree with author Michael Reeves, who believes these types of impersonal sketches don’t do real justice to explaining the personal nature of our God, who eternally exists in community with Himself.
Who should buy this book?
Overall, there is much in this workbook to commend itself. Here’s who I think would benefit the most from it:
Busy moms. The God Puzzle would make a great tool for any mother who doesn’t have time for prep work!
Homeschool moms. Even though I specifically think my public-school mom/friend I mentioned earlier would love this resource, homeschooling parents would too! The lessons are easily configured into a 36-week Bible curriculum with daily activities and discussion questions.
The unconfident mom. For parents who feel ill-equipped to tackle big interpretative questions, The God Puzzle would be a great tool. It uses simple and fun ways to answer questions like: “What does my Work have to do with my Faith?” and “What do Old Testament stories teach about God’s Plan?” and “What are My Old Self and My New Self?”
The strategic mom. Any mom who wants to intentionally set aside time to teach her children the truth of the Bible would benefit from this book. The God Puzzle is a great tool for intentionally engaging children for an extended period of time with the seamless story of Scripture.
As a busy mom, what is your go-to tool for teaching your children about God’s Word? Leave your resources in the comments!
Special thanks to Litfuse for providing this copy for review. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here.