The philosophy of intergenerational ministry calls for one generation to pass on to the next the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. The desire to partake in such a ministry is visible in our churches. However, the steps of implementing and practicing intergenerational ministry can be a struggle. How can one generation intentionally pass on biblical wisdom to the up and coming generation? Maybe the greatest and longest-lasting avenue is by placing words on paper to give to the next generation. This is exactly what Champ Thornton does in his new work Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation.
Champ Thornton opens with a section on how to use this journal with its design in mind. The book, then, gives a bird’s-eye view of Proverbs, noting its structure and worldview, before guiding the journal’s owner through the 31 chapters found in Proverbs. Each chapter in Proverbs is introduced with an opening “Guided Tour” paragraph, noting observations of the passage and how they fit together. Following the paragraph, the “At-A-Glance” portion lists a brief and simple outline of the Proverbs chapter before having the owner read the biblical text, a particular English translation provided by Dr. Bruce Waltke. The most personal aspect of the journal follows with space for the first journal owner to write reflections of their reading, to answer questions to go deeper, to make connections to the gospel, to personalize the text into a prayer, and to share their own story as it pertains to the passage. This is all done with the intention of passing the resource on to someone in the next generation.
The vision of this journal is unique and encouraging. Thornton does not take verses of Proverbs and isolate them into their own clusters. Rather, he seeks to show the structure and outline of each chapter. To be fair, some Proverbs are more loosely connected together than others and Thornton is quick to admit that (Thornton 78). As a result, some of the journal entry questions are broader while some are more specific to the passages. Another unique feature is a section on how each chapter connects to the gospel. I found this to be one of the most encouraging elements of the journal. It is important to remember Proverbs is included in the grand narrative of Scripture, not isolated from it.
The vision goes further, though. The purpose is not to merely read Proverbs and apply it to your own life. You must do that, but that by itself is not enough. This journal is meant to be used with the intentions of giving it away and passing it on. The vision alone makes this journal commendable for any parent or grandparent. With so much to offer, one area of critique should be stated. As a pastor of youth, one of my great passions is to equip families to disciple their children to learn and grow in biblical wisdom. A resource like this would be ideal for me to journal and pass on to my youth. Yet, there are some questions throughout the journal entries that require someone twenty years my senior to answer (at least by how the question is stated). Restructuring such questions with more generality would have provided a greater range to give this resource out. Still, younger adults like myself as leaders in the church can use these journals to pass on God’s Word to students.
Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation by Champ Thornton is a gospel-centered, disciple-making resource for parents and grandparents alike. If you a godly parent or grandparent whose passion is to pass on the wisdom of God’s Word to the next generation, then start with this book. Be ready to read Proverbs, grow in your understanding and application of this book of the Bible, and to pass it on to see what God will do in the life of the next generation for His glory!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.