How to Use Joy of Living Materials
This unique Bible study series may be used by people who know nothing about the Bible, as well as by more knowledgeable Christians. Each person is nurtured and discipled in God’s Word, and many develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as they study.
Joy of Living is based on the idea that each person needs to open the Bible and let God speak to them by His Holy Spirit, applying the Scripture’s message to their needs and opportunities, their family, church, job, community, and the world at large.
Only a Bible is needed for this study series. While commentaries may be helpful, it is not recommended that people consult them as they work through the daily study questions. It is most important to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them through the Bible passage and apply it to their hearts and lives. If desired, additional commentaries may be consulted after answering the questions on a particular passage.
The first lesson of a series includes an introduction to the study, plus the first week’s daily study questions. Some questions are simple, and some are deeper for those who are more advanced. The individual works through the Bible passages each day, praying and asking God’s guidance in applying the truth to their own life. (The next lesson will contain the commentary on the Bible passage being covered in the study questions.)
To Use in a Group Setting:
After the daily personal study of the passage has been completed, the class gathers in a small group, where they pray together and discuss what they have written in response to the questions about the passage, clarifying problem areas and getting more insight into the passage. The small group/discussion leader helps the group focus on biblical truth, and not just on personal problems. The student is the only person who sees their own answers and shares only what they feel comfortable sharing.
After small groups meet for discussion and prayer, they often gather in a large group meeting where a teacher gives a brief lecture covering the essential teaching of the Bible passage which was studied during the prior week and discussed in the small groups. The teacher may clarify the passage and challenge class members to live a more committed daily life.
At home, the student begins the next lesson, containing commentary notes on the prior week’s passage and questions on a new Scripture passage.
Why do the Daily Study Questions Come Before the Commentary on the Bible Passage?
In Joy of Living studies, the daily study questions on a Bible passage come before the commentary on that same passage. You may find this confusing if you are used to other studies where you first read a commentary and then answer questions on it! The purpose is to have the student get into the Bible passage on their own, with the help of the Holy Spirit, before hearing what others have to say about it.
What Bible translation do you use?
Scriptures quoted in our studies are generally from the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise noted. The questions in our studies are based on NIV, although any Bible version may be used as you study.
Study Formats: Printed & Digital
Printed studies are 8 1/2 by 11 inches in size, and are spiral-bound, making it easy to write the answers to the daily study questions.
Our normal printed studies are in 10-point font (see sample).
We also offer large print studies in 18-point font (see sample)
Digital studies allow you to type your answers to the daily study questions on your computer or tablet. Adult digital studies are not reproducible. Each person must purchase their own copy of the study.
You may choose between two file formats:
•Adobe Reader (PDF) with Fillable Fields
All English, German and Spanish adult studies are available as PDF Files with Fillable Fields. The PDF files look exactly the same as the printed version. When you type your answers to the questions, there is limited space in the fillable field after each question, although the size of the text will shrink as you type to allow for a longer answer.
All English and German adult studies are available as Microsoft Word format files. The studies in this format do not look the same as the printed studies (single-column format instead of two columns on the commentary), however, they contain all of the same material. When you type your answers to the questions, there is unlimited space to type after each question.
Using Joy of Living Studies on a Tablet
To use PDF format studies with Fillable Fields:
- Download the Adobe Acrobat (formerly Adobe Reader) app (free) to your tablet.
- If you received the PDF file on CD, load the CD into your computer and email the PDF file to yourself.
- In the email app on your tablet, go to the email with the PDF file attached. Hold your finger or pointer on the PDF file icon until a dialog box opens. Choose “Open in Adobe Acrobat.” (This will allow you to type your answers in the fillable fields. If you just tap the file in the email, it will open in a read-only preview mode.)
To use Microsoft Word format studies:
The instructions below are for use with the Google Docs app, which is available on all platforms. If you have an iPad, you should be able to import Word documents into the Pages app.
- Download the Google Docs app (free) to your tablet.
- If you received the Microsoft Word files on CD, load the CD into your computer and email the files to yourself.
- Open Docs and tap Get Started. Sign in with your Google account email address and password. If you don’t have one, you can sign up using your regular email address at https://accounts.google.com/signupwithoutgmail.
- When you download a study from the Joy of Living website on your tablet, it will open in read-only mode in your browser. To type answers, open the file in Docs:
- In your browser view of the Word file, if you don’t see an “Open in…” link near the top, scroll down to the first white page of the document, tap the page, and the “Open in…” link should appear near the top. Tap the link and select “Open in Docs.”
- To type an answer to a question, scroll down and tap in the empty space below the question to insert the cursor, then type your answer.
- You may open a Bible app, then copy & paste Scripture passages from there to the lesson as part of your answer. Access the Select, Copy, and Paste functions in Docs by holding your pointer down until a dialog box appears.
- When finished, click Close button at top left. In dialog box, select “Save As,” then choose to save lesson on your tablet (or to a “cloud” option, such as your Google Drive).
- To find the file later, open Docs and the lesson will show in the list of files.
Wondering What to Study?
Occasionally we receive calls from individuals asking, “Where should I begin?” or, “What should I study now?”
2 Timothy 3:16,17 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. I remember hearing a story many years ago that illustrates this truth:
After I made many attempts to share my faith and issued countless invitations to church, my dear friend finally consented to attend a Sunday morning service with me. As our pastor began to read the Bible passage for the day my heart sank. Instead of some great portion of Scripture expounding the way of salvation he read Genesis 5. For the next few minutes we endured the droning voice of our pastor as he read the names of the genealogy of Noah, “…all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died…”
I heard very little of the service. My hope that my friend would accept Christ as his Savior that morning had been crushed. You can imagine my great surprise when at the end of the service my friend committed his life to the Lord.
Later that afternoon he shared with me that as the pastor read about the lives of those men, the children they begat, and how many years they lived, each entry ended with “…and he died.” Over and over as the list was read the words “…and he died” were drummed into his head and his heart, helping him realize his own mortality and his need for the Savior.
Still undecided? Here are some suggestions:
- For new believers, non-believers and those young in the faith, the study of Jesus’ life in either Mark or John will help them meet and get to know the One they have put their faith in. After completing one of these studies you may want to follow with the study of Genesis, the book of beginnings. It lays the foundation for understanding the rest of the Bible and for understanding God’s plan for our lives today.
- For the “seasoned saint” or the new believer, the studies of Romans and Ephesians are a must. Ephesians focuses on God’s eternal purpose and grace, while Romans deals with how God, through Jesus Christ, has enabled human beings to move from a place of condemnation and sin to a place of reconciliation and righteousness. These books will change your life, just as they have changed thousands of lives through the centuries
- Do you want a “bird’s eye” view of the Bible? Highlights of the Old Testament: History, Highlights of the Old Testament: Wisdom & Prophecy, and Highlights of the New Testament briefly look at each book in that particular portion of the Bible— its overall message, how it relates to the other books of the Bible, and what it reveals about God and His great plan.
- Prophecy in the Book of Daniel, together with the study of Revelation, marvelously unfolds future events as God has ordained them in the program of history. Neither book has yet been completely fulfilled. By and large, God does not unfold the future to us—certainly not in detail. But, what He does show us in the prophetic Scriptures is the general trend of events and where it will all end.
- For those who have never used Joy of Living studies and aren’t certain if their group would be willing to invest their time on a daily basis in the study of God’s Word, we suggest the four-week study, Psalms from the Heart. This study is available as a download, free of charge, on our website, or you may purchase either a single-sided master copy or individual spiral bound copies.
- Perhaps you’ve been using Joy of Living for years and have done all the courses currently in print. You may decide to begin again. God’s Word is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV) and reveals to us an infinite God. As those who study His Word know, He continually teaches you new truths, often from passages of Scripture you have read time and time again. A dear woman who has known the Lord for over 70 years once said, “I find the lessons God has been teaching me are often the ones I thought I already knew!”
There are Joy of Living studies that cover both the Old and New Testaments to select from, with new courses continually being written. Each study addresses the unique truths expressed in a specific book of the Bible and provides you with commentary and daily study questions. If you’re still not certain, give us a call. We’ll talk to you about what you are looking for, and we’ll pray with you and ask God for His guidance for you.
Just remember, all Joy of Living Bible Studies encourage personal application of the Word of God, and whichever course you choose to study, you just can’t go wrong with the Word of God!
Missionaries Outside the USA
Joy of Living offers special arrangements for missionaries outside the USA who wish to use our materials in their ministries.
If you are a missionary outside the USA, you may order a Master Copy (1 copy at the regular price) of the study you wish to use, and we will send you a letter of permission to duplicate the material for the use of your ministry only.
You may request that your study be sent by email to avoid costly postage charges and uncertain delivery times.
Please do not use the Internet Shopping Cart to place your order. Contact us by other order methods to make appropriate arrangements.
Another option is our Digital Bible Studies in Microsoft Word Format, which may be easily adapted on a computer for a sight-impaired or blind student.
• Type size can be magnified to the desired size for viewing on-screen and for printing.
• Screen reading software can read Microsoft Word format files. (We also offer Digital Bible Studies in Adobe Reader/PDF format, but these usually cannot be read by a screen-reader.)
Duplicating Joy of Living Materials
All Joy of Living materials are copyrighted and may not be reproduced by photocopying or digital duplication without the specific permission of the Joy of Living office.
We are a nonprofit ministry whose primary source of funds is through the sale of Bible study materials. Without this resource we would be unable to continue making studies available.
Returning Unused Materials
- Download a Joy of Living Returns Form (PDF format)
- Preparing your return
- Steps for packaging and shipping
- Where to send returns
- Returns credits and refunds
- Restrictions on returns
All unused materials in good condition (*see Restrictions below) may be returned for credit, within 2 years of original purchase. Please remember, if there is even a small amount of damage, we cannot resell the item, so we cannot credit you for it.
A 10% restocking fee will be deducted from the credit.
- Make certain the items are in good shape:
- No grease or ink stains
- No writing inside or outside
- No cover or page damage
- Complete a Returns Form:
- A copy was included with your shipment or you may download one.
- Make a copy of the original invoice or packing slip to include with the return.
- Items returned without this may be credited at a reduced rate.
- All credits issued in this manner are final and will not be increased if a copy of the invoice is received at a later date.
- Use a NEW, sturdy container of appropriate size.
- The US Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx handle millions of packages daily. The packages get tossed about and stacked. Re-used boxes may not be able to stand up to this treatment, allowing damage to book covers and corners. Don’t let your return become a casualty.
- View pictures of damaged returns sent in re-used or non-sturdy containers.
- Carefully package the studies.
- Protect spiral-bound book covers by alternating the direction of the studies so the spirals are not one on top of the other. Use a package wide enough so each book’s spirals do not rest on the book cover below it.
- Add enough filler, packed firmly into all empty spaces, to keep contents from shifting during transit.
- Don’t use newspaper as package filler unless you first wrap the materials with clean paper or plastic. Materials smudged with newsprint ink are not acceptable for credit.
- View pictures and step-by-step packaging instructions.
- Insure the package when you ship it.
- When you ship your returns, USPS Media Mail is often the least expensive method. Make certain you purchase enough insurance to guarantee reimbursement in the event your package is lost or damaged.
- Send returns to our street address:
Joy of Living Bible Studies
2500 Knoll Dr., Suite G
Ventura, CA 93003
- Do not send orders, payments, or correspondence in with your returns. Returns are not always processed on the day they are received.
- We will issue a credit to your Joy of Living account.
- If you won’t be ordering again soon and would like a refund by check, please enclose a request in each package.
- Refunds for orders placed on our website:
- If return is received within 60 days of the order date, the credit will be refunded to the payment method you used.
- Returns received after 60 days will be credited to your Joy of Living account. You may request a refund by check.
- Preschool Materials and Youth Studies may be returned within 30 days if unused and in good condition. Please contact us in advance for permission.
- Audio Lecture Series
Rental fee will be credited only if returned within 30 days (please contact us in advance for permission if you are requesting a credit of the rental fee).The charge for missing CDs is $3.00 each.
- Purchases on CD
Full price will be credited only if set is unused and returned within 30 days (please contact us in advance for permission).Returns after 30 days will be credited the difference between purchase and rental prices.
The charge for missing CDs is $3.00 each.
How to Download Audio Lectures directly to iPad or iPhone
Note: These instructions are for those who don’t have a computer. If you have a computer with iTunes on it, it is much easier to download the audio mp3 files all at once to your computer, save them in iTunes, and then sync them to the Music app on your iPhone or iPad. Click here for instructions.
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