What’s New with the Standard Lesson Commentary?

By Jon Underwood

It’s midsummer, but many people are already anticipating fall and the launch of a new year of church programs that come with it. That includes a new line of the Standard Lesson Commentaries and the new lineup of Standard Lesson Quarterly products.

08_Underwood_JNThe Standard Lesson Commentary is the best-selling lesson commentary on the Uniform Series (International Sunday School Lessons), a system of Bible study that has been around since 1872. Standard Publishing has been involved with the Uniform Series since very near the beginning. The company’s founder, and Christian Standard’s first editor, Isaac Errett, served on the Lesson Committee from 1884 until his death in 1888.

Both the Lesson Commentary and the Uniform Series have changed a good bit since then. The Uniform Series has adopted a thematic approach to its cycle planning. No longer is the goal simply to study the whole Bible in six years. Now the units of study are arranged in eight recurring themes. These themes include “God,” “hope,” “ worship,” “community,” “tradition,” “faith,” “creation,” and “justice.” These themes, coupled with the actual titles of each quarter’s study, provide an excellent means of promoting the class and its study each quarter.

The fall quarter kicks off with the “creation” theme with lessons from Psalm 104, Genesis, and Exodus. The concept of creation applies obviously to the origin of the universe, but it also applies to the beginning of a people, the beginning of a nation, and the beginning of traditions that point to Christ.

The winter quarter draws nine lessons from the Gospel of Luke, including the lesson for Christmas Day. The quarter concludes with four lessons from the book of James. The winter theme is “justice.”

The spring quarter brings the theme of “tradition,” and the lessons come from a wide variety of both New Testament and Old Testament texts. It’s one of the most eclectic quarters we’ve seen, with lesson texts coming from 14 different biblical books. It climaxes in May with a look at Jesus’ use of Scripture.

By next summer we’ll be studying a quarter with the theme of “community.” Most of the lessons are drawn from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.

This year we introduce a new edition of the Standard Lesson Commentary: the Deluxe Edition. This new lesson commentary combines the large-print edition with the Standard Lesson eCommentary edition, and adds a print version of the reproducible student activity pages. Formerly available only as a free Internet download or on the adult resources CD, these reproducible pages can be simply pulled out of the Deluxe Edition, photocopied, and distributed to class members. It’s the one item users told us they wanted, so we have responded with this new edition.

So kick off your fall program with the Standard Lesson Commentary. In fact, we’d like to help. Go to http://standardlesson.com/jon-underwood-contest/ and sign up for a chance to have me come and teach the Sunday school lesson on September 1. I’d like to come and share personally with your church from the Standard Lesson Commentary!


Jonathan Underwood is senior editor, Standard Lesson Commentary.

Learn more about the Standard Lesson Commentary and related curriculum by clicking here.

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