This Sunday marks the beginning of a new church calendar year. With this new year comes a new lesson plan for my Sunday School class. Way back in 1998 when I started teaching this class we followed the International Sunday School Lessons / Uniform Series, as do many classes across the world. However, in
1997 2007 we made a decision to start a series of lessons that revolved around what I wanted to teach and what the class voted to study.
Over the years we have studied men, women, Apostles, and Paul. We have learned about Daniel, Isaiah, Revelation, and Genesis. We then took some time to journey with Moses out of Egypt, wander around the desert for a while and then studied the kings of Judah. We watched and listened as others have explained angels and how to study the Bible, as well as reading some Psalms, learning about Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem, and learned what James teaches us about living a Christian life.
However, there comes a time when things start to get a little stale that it is best to get back to the basics. In the case of Sunday School, back to the basics means going back to the Bible. So I made the decision to return to a structured lesson plan this year based on the International Sunday School Lessons once again. To be fair, I did give the class the opportunity to object but since they chose to remain silent they are stuck with my decision until I decide to go in a different direction.
One of the good things about going back to a lesson plan based on the ISSL calendar is that I no longer have to worry about what I am going to be teaching and knowing the plan allows me to study more in advance. However, the biggest advantage is that there are plenty of resources available to help someone like me who isn’t too bright learn and teach these lessons. One of the resources that I have used for years and even continued to purchase and read even when we weren’t teaching on this schedule is Standard Publishing’s “Standard Lesson Commentary.”
This commentary is invaluable to me in my studies and preparation for teaching my lessons. But since I am geek, the really exciting part of the Standard Lesson Commentary is that options that I have available to access this material. Not only is the commentary available in regular and large print editions but there is also a regular print edition that comes with an eCommentary. This electronic version is supplied on a disk that will work on any PC and includes the full KJV and NIV versions of the commentary, a full KJV electronic Bible, a trial version of the NIV electronic Bible, maps, reproducible student pages, and PowerPoint presentations for each lesson.
I am a Mac user at home so the electronic edition does not replace my hard copy but I am able to extract the maps, student pages, and presentations from the disk. But there is plenty of love to go around for Mac users as well. If you don’t need the PowerPoint presentations (and I generally create my own anyway), then the complete commentary is also available for the Logos Bible Study program. With the Logos version you still have access to the maps and student pages, as well as the additional search and cross referencing capabilities of the Logos system. The Logos version is actually the one that I use the most in all of my lesson preparations.
This year there are also other options available to access this material. If you prefer to read and study on your mobile device or tablet, then Standard Publishing has you covered there as well. The Standard Lesson Commentary is now available in the Amazon kindle bookstore as well as in iBooks on your Apple device. (I prefer the kindle version simply because it can be read on any PC, Mac, Android or Apple device where the iBook version is limited right now to just your iOS devices.
Standard Publishing doesn’t just stop here though. They are in the process of developing a website to assist teachers who are using their materials. This member site will have two levels of access, free and paid. The member site has downloadable student pages as well as tips and a community forum in development.
The addition of these outlets allow you to access your commentary from anywhere. In just the past week, I have already found this extremely useful. I have been able to access the commentary, read, and study the lessons right from my phone when I found myself in waiting rooms or with a few spare minutes on my hand. I don’t think that I will be using the mobile versions to prepare the lessons but the opportunity to study anytime will certainly benefit me as a teacher and hopefully benefit my class as well.
There are certainly many different options available to us as teachers when it comes to deciding on a curriculum for our Sunday School classes. What works best for me and my class might not be the best choice for you. I would advise anyone looking for a lesson commentary to sample some of all that are available before making their decision. However, in today’s electronic world, all of the digital options that Standard Publishing has put together for their materials certainly makes them one to definitely consider.
Does your class or small group use published materials?
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