Preparation of the Bible Study Guides
From five to seven years before local church members receive their Sabbath School class study materials, members of the World Sabbath School Curriculum Committee meet, pray, and then brainstorm to determine the topics and authors for the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides.
The publication process is long and rigorous. Here are highlights of that process:
- The Administrative Committee of the General Conference (ADCOM) is the publisher of all Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides (ABSG) and oversees the development process. The Adult Sabbath School Curriculum Committee, which is a unit of the World Sabbath School Curriculum Committee, and made up of all world division Sabbath School directors, members of ADCOM, the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) and consultants from around the world, determines the topics and the authors for each quarter. The list of topics goes to ADCOM for approval, and is then turned over to the ABSG editorial team for production. A Sabbath School Publications Board is responsible for any changes in the curriculum and administrative details dealing with the production process. The ABSG team is currently composed of an editor, an associate editor, a publication manager, and an administrative assistant. Together with the Pacific Press Publishing Association (PPPA), these four individuals are responsible for creating the Sabbath School Bible Study Guides you study each week: The Standard Edition, the Teachers Edition, the Easy Reading Edition, and the Large Print Edition. There is also an abridgement of the Easy Reading Edition that is used by parts of the world that cannot afford to print an entire quarterly.
- As soon as the Standard Edition lessons are received from an author, they are formatted into a single manuscript. This phase of production, called technical formatting, is performed by the administrative assistant in Microsoft Word, and usually takes one week to process. The unedited version of the manuscript is then sent to be evaluated by the World Manuscript Evaluation Committee. The manuscript is uploaded to the ABSG Web site for the evaluators in the world field to review for 4-6 weeks before the Resident Manuscript Evaluation Committee meets to evaluate it.
- The Resident Manuscript Evaluation Committee and the World Manuscript Evaluation Committee, which are comprised of an average of 70 members combined, are the two basic committees involved in the manuscript evaluation process. The committee members are diverse in culture, gender, and background (BRI specialists in all areas, including Old and New Testament theology and prophecy), GC editors, and GC department heads, such as the Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department, religious educators, and experts from the Ellen G. White Estate. These members return their comments to the ABSG editorial office.
- The ABSG editor, currently Clifford Goldstein, presides at meetings of the GC Resident Manuscript Evaluation Committee. The administrative assistant, records comments that are later collated along with the comments from the world field.
- The committee closes the session with a motion to accept or reject the manuscript for publication.
- Using the compiled notes and the original manuscript, the editor does a comprehensive examination and revision.
- Then the edited individual lessons then are formatted by the administrative assistant into a single manuscript, which is mailed out to and reviewed by the GC Resident Manuscript Evaluation Committee in 4-6 weeks. The committee meets a final time to assess whether previous suggestions were implemented and may make more suggestions.
- Comments are collated from the committee and given to the editor for the final edit.
- The ABSG editor dedicates 2 weeks to this second edit and then passes the material on to the publication manager, who oversees scheduling as well copy editing, layout, and proofreading.
- The ABSG administrative assistant duplicates two copies: for two copy editors assigned by the publication manager.
- For 3 weeks the copy editors simultaneously edit the manuscript, verifying Ellen G. White's quotations and Bible quotations for content and reference listings. They correct grammar and assess language.
- The publication manager incorporates all editing into one manuscript and then discusses suggested edits with the ABSG editor. The publication manager enters all approved corrections. At this stage, the lessons are ready to be turned into a manuscript for translation around the world.
- The copy edited lessons are formatted by the administrative assistant into a final publication copy for translation. The finished manuscript is then uploaded to the ABSG Web site where it is downloaded in over 30 countries worldwide.
- At the same time the files are sent to the world field, the publication manager transmits the files to the PPPA by e-mail. The press formats the galleys, also called page proofs, and sends them to its proof room to be read and corrected before sending them back electronically to ABSG.
- Page proofs are read by ABSG staff and an outside proofreader to whom the publication manger contracts out the lessons.
- The publication manager discusses any suggested changes with the editor, incorporating the approved changes into the galleys. An electronic copy is sent back to the PPPA with the new corrections. This process takes 2 weeks.
- The PPPA takes 4-6 weeks to make changes with new proofreading marks and to turn over a new set of electronic galleys. These are then transmitted electronically to the ABSG.
- The galleys are again proofread by the same set of readers and returned to the PPPA.
- The PPPA provides forms proofs within 3 months from the second proof.
- Forms proofs are corrected. At this stage, changes are minor.
- The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides are published by the PPPA.