Brand New Biblical Worldview Book for 6th Graders

A brand new book I wrote this past year, Basics for a Biblical Worldview has just been released. It’s a sixth grade biblical worldview textbook for BJU Press. For this project I was privileged to rejoin as a freelancer the team I was on at BJU Press for nine years, the Biblical Worldview Team. I really need to underline that I didn’t write this book like I wrote Authorized; that book was an individual effort while this one was decidedly a team effort. For this new book I wrote according to a theological vision provided by the gifted friends and mentors I worked with and under at BJU Press. I wrote according to an outline and a set of careful lesson objectives that was already prepared by that experienced and excellent team. One insight they had that felt exactly right to me was that identity issues needed to get a lot more attention than they did a number of years back when we planned and produced a twelfth grade book on biblical worldview. In this new book we also spent some time talking through major world religions. This sixth grade book is not a reworking of our prior book; it is a completely fresh approach for middle schoolers. I’ll be having my oldest son go through it next year. That will be an experience! I think families with middle schoolers could use this book for family devotions. I worked very hard to make it engaging and accessible. It was a real delight to serve Christ’s body in this way.

The art is incredibly well conceived and executed; the art and design team at BJU Press is just excellent. It serves the message of the book well, which is that God is bringing glory to himself by restoring this fallen world by the work of Christ.

Here’s the outline of the book:

  1. What is a worldview? (avoids the trap of a merely intellectualist approach)
  2. What is the big story of the Bible? (relates creation-fall-redemption to the concept of worldview)
  3. Who is God? (sources truth, goodness, beauty, and love in God)
  4. Who am I? (identity issues)
  5. How should I spend my time? (education and culture)
  6. How should I relate to others? (gender, family, friendship)
  7. How should I fit into society? (community, individuality, govt.)
  8. How do I relate to other worldviews? (Islam, Buddhism, unbelief, secularism, moralistic therapeutic deism)

    Nerdy note: I wrote this whole book, 2,000 words a week for just over a year, often on the bus on my daily commute, in markdown in Ulysses, which I have through Setapp; I also wrote a script that converted that markdown to appropriate Word styles for use by BJU Press editorial. Markdown is the way to go for writers! So lightweight and powerful!

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

4 Comments

  1. OSchrock on September 16, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you for your work in this important topic! If my kids’ school is not using this curriculum, is the student edition presented in way that a young person (who loves to read) could read straight through it on their own?

    • Mark Ward on September 16, 2020 at 8:42 pm

      Absolutely, yes. Suitable for family devotions, too, possibly.

  2. Scott Youngman on September 19, 2020 at 10:55 am

    It’s interesting (and to me, disappointing) that the book uses KJV for scripture quotations. I would love to know what you think about that choice for 6th graders, Mark, and how you reconcile it with what you wrote in your book Authorized.

    • Mark Ward on September 19, 2020 at 9:00 pm

      Seven years ago I did successfully get permission from top BJU leadership, Stephen Jones at the time (a gracious friend), to use the ESV for Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption, our flagship, capstone twelfth grade book. Some customers of BJU Press complained vociferously: they insisted that if we used the ESV for this one book, they wouldn’t buy any BJU Press materials, even if those materials used the KJV. Money-making businesses/ministries like BJU Press are at the mercy of their markets. I had the unenviable task of producing a KJV version of the book. I insisted on taking the job, as a freelancer, because I wanted to make certain that no unintelligible speech from the KJV landed in my precious book. I sprinkled explanatory brackets liberally throughout the text. And at times, sadly, I elected not to quote Scripture at all because the necessary brackets were just too unwieldy. I *hated* doing that: I think it’s super important to quote the Bible as often as possible in Bible textbooks. It tells readers where the authority lies for the whole project.

      I don’t know what would actually happen to the bottom line if BJU Press went with the ESV, and I defer to them in decisions made on that basis. They need to pay salaries and printing and marketing and distribution costs; I get that 100%. I don’t have access to the financial data relevant to their decision, though I love and trust the key leaders I know well there. But I do know what would happen with their materials if they switched to the ESV: they would improve to exactly that degree that the ESV is more intelligible to today’s English speakers than is the KJV. One of the major reasons I’ve entered my labors in the last three years to help the church see the effects of language change on our ability to understand the KJV is to hasten the day when that vociferous minority will lack sufficient strength to scare BJU Press. It is an injustice: it isn’t right, it isn’t fair for people ignorantly promoting a false doctrine to hold ministries like BJU Press hostage and, more importantly, to deprive children around the world of Bible quotations—and memory verse lists and coloring pages and Bible crossword puzzles and countless other things that appear in textbooks—that they can readily understand. May God help us all.

      Please know I didn’t take this one lying down. I considered saying no to the project, as I did once to a tract design project that used the KJV. But I couldn’t pass up a chance to work with that excellent team again, to serve Christ and to do something good for those members of his church whom we call middleschoolers!

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