These booklets are a resource for those leading young people’s Bible study groups. They comprise a leader’s manual and accompanying student handbooks. It is a course based on an earlier book by Chris Richards and Liz Jones, published in 2014 and carrying the same title. The purpose is to provide Christian young people with a biblical foundation for courtship.
While the focus is on courtship, the study looks at its context and therefore covers a range of topics. There are studies on singleness, marriage, sex within marriage, honouring God in courtship, sexual temptation and complementarity. Other associated issues are dealt with, but not in the form of Bible studies. These include single ministry biographies, divorce, the legal redefinition of marriage, transgenderism, pornography, masturbation and homosexuality.
The notes in the leader’s book are succinct and sufficient for the level of teaching required. It might be helpful for a group leader to read the above-mentioned volume by the authors, but this should not be considered essential.
The student handbook has space for notes and comments. At certain points in the course web links are provided, which are intended for students to use as they prepare for the study sessions. These links take the form of conversations between Christian people on the relevant topics. It is estimated that the study of each chapter will take 40-60 minutes, including time for discussion.
The course assumes that the students are believers who are single. The authors also advise that it is suitable for those aged at least 14 years old.
I consider these booklets to be a valuable tool for youth workers and recommend their use in a church’s youth programme. Courtship is a matter in which parents have a particular responsibility toward their children. While these booklets are not designed for one-to-one use in the family setting, parents should also avail themselves of the leader’s handbook, if this course is being used within their church.
This delicate yet important material is presented in a sensitive and balanced way. It avoids the dangers of unnecessary detail and unhelpful personal opinions. Christian young people are subjected to worldly pressures and strong temptations and stand in need of sound teaching, in order that they do not tarnish their lives in early years. The use of these booklets will be a means to that end.