The philosophy behind CSI’s high school Bible curriculum is that the Church’s goal is to train believers for service in the Kingdom of God, and the Christian school’s goal is to train students for service in the world. They delineate between devotional and academic study of Scripture, affirming that students should be directed in both but that their curriculum focuses on the latter use.
CSI’s authors write from a traditional Reformed perspective, following the narrative structure and patterns of Scripture in their studies. In each text there is a balance of doctrinal and historical/contextual material that offers students a good foundational knowledge of their faith and the Book it is built on.
There are two options for high school students. God’s Unfolding Plan and Hope for the World (The Story of God and His People is the series title) are broadly intended for grades 9-12 and cover the entire Bible; The Ministry of Christ for grades 8-9 and The Kingdom of God for grades 10-12 together form a survey of the Old and New Testaments.
The Story of God and His People is a one-year course. There are two student texts and two teacher’s editions. Students read passages from the Bible and the textbook and answer in-text questions (the texts are non-consumable). The teacher’s guide contains blackline masters for student workpages, lesson plan outlines, answers to written exercises, and some supplemental information. The student texts are readable and illustrated with full-color photographs.
The Ministry of Christ and The Kingdom of God are each intended for use over one semester, though you could spread each over one year or longer, if desired. You could also reverse the order you use them in, so that kids study the Old before the New Testament. The student books are text-only with study questions; the teacher manuals (from Christian Liberty Press) are staplebound and only contain detailed answers to all written exercises. There is also a test packet/answer key for The Kingdom of God.
Each text takes a survey approach. The volumes are readable and in-depth, though The Story of God and His People is more visually engaging than the other series. Students will gain an understanding of the narrative of Scripture and revealed doctrine, all presented from a Reformed Covenant perspective.
The content of these texts is excellent, though it lacks some of the student accessibility of other Bible curricula like Explorer’s Bible Study. Since The Story of God and His People is largely teacher-intensive and The Ministry of Christ and The Kingdom of God are largely student-directed you can choose which approach to take. Neither course will take too much of your time or your students’ time, making this a good choice if you need to fit Bible instruction into a tight schedule. As far as content and how much your student will learn, this is really one of the better programs we’ve seen, though it’s far from the flashiest. The main problem with this series is simply availability and price. They're not available to bookstores, although they can be ordered directly from the publisher.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.