Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apologia Educational Ministries - Book Review

Apologia Review
We have had the honor of receiving three very interesting books to review as a family from Apologia Educational Ministries.  The books iWitness Biblical Archaeology, Old Testament iWitness, and New Testament iWitness are a real treasure and have been a wonderful addition to our history curriculum.  This iWitness trilogy is wonderfully written and holds the attention of children young and old.  I have personally found them very fascinating to read.

Since my children are well under the reading level of about 11 years and up, I was a little uncertain as to how they would respond to the material.  When I told Harmony, the resident nine-year-old, that it was time for me to write my review today she told me to make sure I mention that she loves the books!  Honestly, I was surprised.  Remember, I love the material and the way it is presented, but I wasn't sure what the kids really thought of it.  I mean it's like this.  I read, and they listen.  We discuss things here and there, and I explain words or ideas that they may be unfamiliar with, but I just wasn't sure what they thought of it.  The fact that they remain quiet in their activity while I read should have been a big clue, but it also could have simply been that they are such well behaved children.  (wink, wink)  The more likely reason, however, is due to the quality of the publication and its fun format.  The books resemble a scrapbook that one would put together after a cool vacation.  There are many tidbits to read, pictures to look at, and facts to find.

Apologia Review
To begin our journey of discovery of all things ancient we chose to start our reading with iWitness Biblical Archaeology.  Doug Powell does such a wonderful job of engaging the reader that when he told us to "...grab a Bible, a map, and a shovel..." Harmony asked if she should go get a shovel. Enter our first conversation of explanation.  The invitation was appropriate, though.  Mr. Powell does a wonderful job of transporting you through time all the way back to The Flood.  The pictures of the places traveled, the artifacts there, and the descriptions of the historical figures really draw a clear picture in your mind's eye as to the circumstances and historical events referenced within the Bible.  The value to history and the explanation of various perspectives completes the picture wonderfully.  You really do feel transported back in time.  From The Flood to The Exodus, through The Old Testament and into Jesus' World, within The New Testament and culminating with The Burial Shroud of Jesus, iWitness Biblical Archaeology pulls you in and takes you along on a fact finding journey of discovery.

Apologia ReviewTraveling on, we open the pages of Old Testament iWitness where Mr. Powell reveals the answer to many questions in regard to the origins of the Old Testament.  We learn about the manuscripts and the tedious process the Jewish scribes employed in the copying of scripture.  The detail of the specific criteria in which the content was required to meet in order to be included the Canon and exactly how the books were chosen for inclusion is fascinating and really brings the work of the Bible to life.  We also learn about the prophets and their importance in relation to the publication of the Bible.  Reading Old Testament iWitness really helps to take the Bible from being some abstract book that we read to a real piece of history with its own traceable history, real writers, and immeasurable significance.  This particular book and its implications excite me the most.  I remember really struggling with this aspect as a child, and my poor mother being at the brunt of my frustration.  I knew nothing of the history of the Bible or where it came from or who wrote it.  As far as I was concerned it could have just been some work of fiction that some random person wrote just to mess with all of humanity.  The facts and myths surrounding the Bible were never explained to me.  Oh the difference this book could have made for me during that personal struggle!

Apologia Review
Final destination, New Testament iWitness.  Here we learn further about The Canon and the criteria in which the writings faced before being included or dismissed as scripture.  I like that the topic of the books that were not included in scripture is covered along with the explanation as to why.  Having these materials on hand are a wonderful resource for answering questions as the children grow in their faith walk and discover more of their history as a member of the human race.  Knowing the origins in history, the scrupulous process of copying, and the time periods in history that these processes played out is a wonderful starting point for digging deeper and gaining an even stronger understanding of the origins of the Bible, the process in which it was written, and its importance in history.

I am thrilled to have these three books from the iWitness collection on our bookshelf, and I look forward to using them with my children for years to come.  It is easy to see them with their noses buried in the pages discovering things for themselves as it will surely have great appeal to them when they have reached the middle school age level.

To learn more about these books and how you can purchase them for $14.00 each, visit the Apologia website.  You can also find Apologia on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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