Have you ever been in a situation where you are just overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at you all at once? Have you ever thought, “I wish I would have had some prior knowledge of this subject before I got myself into this!” Many have told me this is true of jumping right into studying the great introduction to apologetics by William Lane Craig titled “On Guard.” Fortunately there is help for those who experience this with On Guard, namely the On Guard Study Guide.
The format of the study guide is very user friendly, as each chapter consists of the following sections:
- Before You Read Chapter (insert chapter number here)
This section gives you a brief bit of information to think about that will aid you as prepare to read through that specific chapter in the book, by asking questions to get you thinking, etc.
- Chapter Summary
This one is evident by the title, it gives you a brief chapter summary and this is important because you can be focused from the outset on the main thrust of the chapter.
- Reflections and Discussion (divided into three sections: Discussion, Reflection and Further Discussion)
This is the section that promotes free thinking on the issues involved in each chapter is gives you food for thought in reference to the material pertaining to each chapter.
This section identifies and defines key term associated with each chapter so you will be familiar with them as read through the chapter that contains them.
- Biographical Sketches
This is a feature I really enjoyed in the study guide, as Craig mentions many historical and contemporary figures throughout the book On Guard and this gives you brief descriptions of the persons relevant for each chapter.
This is an excellent resource for those who want more out of their studies. One can go to the resources listed for more information on the topics covered in each chapter. This is great as well for those who after they complete the reading/working through the book find that they resonate well with the material in a chapter or two. Then that person can simply go to the resource section at the end of that chapter in this study guide and have a place to start their growth in that area. Also, the advanced works are denoted by (*).
What this study guide does is literally “guide you” through the material giving you some pertinent background info as well as terminology and the goal of each chapter. This helps tremendously so you can focus on what you need to get from each chapter.
Who Will Benefit From the Study Guide?
All who plan on working through/reading On Guard will benefit, but in different ways. The leader of a group study should have this at hand o help with the course, as it provides thought provoking ideas that can be used during the discussion period. The regular attendee of the group study will benefit as well, because it preps you really well for the new material you are about to consume and will help you comprehend it better by the time you have the discussion portion of the group study. Of course the stand alone person who is just reading it on their own will find it really helpful as well, because it really gives you the background needed in the absence of a group leader, assuming you are new to apologetics. As someone who has worked through Reasonable Faith[ref]Reasonable Faith is the more academic work from which On Guard is based, although there are some notable differences in material and not just difficulty level.[/ref] on several occasions, I was experienced enough that I already had a firm grasp of the material in On Guard, but the study guide was a valuable resource when teaching a small group study on the book.
I give the On Guard Study Guide a 5 star review our of 5 stars for it’s organization, as well as its ability to help those with many backgrounds[ref]Like those who teach a small group study, attend a small group study or are a novice studying on their own.[/ref], etc. who want to learn the material in On Guard. I highly recommend it! Don’t forget to checkout my reviews of the On Guard book, DVD Companion as well as the On Guard Box Set which contains all of the items together in one package.