I Wish I Had This Bible Study When I Was in Middle School

What did you learn in Middle School Religion class?

What did you learn in Middle School Religion class?

Editor’s note: We thank Ascension Press for their sponsorship this month and encourage you to check out Encounter: Experiencing God in the Everyday. LMH

What did I learn in my Middle School religion class? Well, I can remember being sent to the principal’s office for yelling out “Peter!” (in a tongue-in-cheek way) to the question, “Who was the first Pope?” I can remember sitting in a circle on a cold, laminate floor and talking about which music is better, rap or rock. I can even remember Mrs. W. telling us about the time she was in a plane crash. What I don’t remember is ever reading the Bible.

That should not be surprising. Most adults find reading the Bible difficult. Most adults find teaching middle schoolers to be even more difficult. Combine the two, and you will quickly learn what it was like for St. Paul to preach in Lystra. (See Acts. 14:19-20. Let’s just say it was a “rocky” experience.)

Despite these difficulties, Bible study is vitally important. The Bible is not just a nice book of stories and songs. It is the written Word of God. It informs our teachings. It permeates our prayers and liturgies. It is central to our faith. It reveals God to us. If you don’t know the Bible, you don’t know Christ. And middle schoolers need to know Christ.


Mark Hart

So when Mark Hart set out to teach the Bible to Middle Schoolers he was hesitant.

“Don’t let them know this, but Middle Schoolers scare me. They are ‘that’ age group. I really didn’t want to teach them, but we don’t always get to do what we want. So I ended up teaching at our local Catholic school. It wasn’t easy. I made a lot of mistakes. I quickly learned what doesn’t work, and over the years I was able to learn what does work. Encounter is the result of that experience.”


Encounter: Experiencing God in the Everyday

Sometimes you have those moments that leave you thinking, “Aha! That’s good to know.” Encounter: Experiencing God in the Everyday is filled with “aha!” moments. You go through it and all of a sudden the Bible makes sense. The readings in Mass make sense. The Creed makes sense. The Sacraments make sense! Encounter is a one of those things that leaves you saying, “I wish I had that when I was a kid.”

Well, even though we didn’t have Encounter in middle school, our kids can. And when they go through it they will come away knowing God, knowing that he loves them, and knowing that he has a plan for each and every one of them.

I encourage you to talk to your school or parish about offering Encounter. You can learn more about the program and how it can be reviewed it risk-free here.

Editor’s note: We thank Ascension Press for their sponsorship this month and encourage you to check out Encounter: Experiencing God in the Everyday. LMH

John Harden, husband and father of four children, is the Brand Manager of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study Program. You can learn more about The Great Adventure at BibleStudyforCatholics.com.

Copyright 2013 John Harden


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  1. I am bewildered. Is this an honest assessment of this product, or a plug for a paying sponsor? I thought this was an honest review until I saw the sponsorship note. Don’t you think you ought to make it clear to people BEFORE they read the post?

    • Plug or not, I *DO* wish I had something like this as a “tween.” I went to Catholic grade schools and high school and I had no idea we believed what we believe until I was a sophomore in college. My experience with the Bible mirrors Mr. Harden’s almost exactly. Having experienced many of Ascension’s other studies, I think it’s very safe to assume that this study will also be brilliantly done. I can’t wait to break into it with my children!

    • I apologize for the fact that the endorsement comment was placed at the bottom of the article. I have placed it at the top now as well, so that our readers will clearly see it. Having personally reviewed this resource, I strongly recommend it and will be doing a personal review for our site. But yes, this article was provided by the publisher as an informational resource for our readers. I regret any inconvenience you were caused. Thanks for commenting.

  2. hi,
    i can say from experience in youth ministry that mark hart and the great adventure bible study was an amazing tool to present the richness of the holy bible to our youth and even young adults. Im sure if encounter is anything like the great adventure it will be another great tool to help us study the bible with the younger generation.
    Have a Blessed Holy Triduum! Holy Thursday = T-3.5 hours on the West Coast!

  3. RoodAwakening on

    How would this Bible study work for a NON-Catholic Christian, mid-school-aged boy? Is it “too” Catholic, in that it would scare his currently Baptist parents?

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