Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Apologia iWitness- TOS Review

Apologia Education Ministries is at it again!  This time with a new, AMAZING series that you are going to love!  Trust me on this!

We have had the pleasure of reading iWitness Biblical Archaeology ($14.00), Old Testament iWitness ($14.00) and New Testament iWitness ($14.00).  These little books, about 60 pages each,  pack a punch and are ideal for family reading as well as for children ages 11 and up if reading independently.  Our family has done a little of both.  Two of my kids grabbed the one they were most interested in and ran to their rooms with it.  Because we have nightly family devotions, we have also been able to read a few parts of them as a family as well as use them as a quick reference when a specific conversation came up during our nightly Bible reading.

Apologia Review

Where should you start?  Probably at the beginning, I would say.  Old Testament iWitness does just that.  This book covers topics like the Septuagint, the Torah, Major and Minor prophets, Dead Sea Scrolls and more.  There is some fascinating stuff packed into this little book!  Like did you know that when original Bible manuscripts were copied they made sure there were always 30 characters on each line, or that when a copy of the Hebrew Bible was damaged or replaced it was buried in a special ceremony?  Or that prophets could never be wrong when they foretold something or they would be stoned to death?

Apologia Review

Where to next?  How about the New Testament.  This portion of scripture is probably more familiar to most Christians, but there is still so much to learn.  Who was Athanasius?  Who was Eusebius?  What books were rejected from the New Testament and why?  And most importantly, how do we know these things?

Apologia Review

Often the world uses archaeology to argue against the Bible.  Sad, but true.  In  iWitness Biblical Archaeology, however, Doug Powell uses information about archaeology discoveries to show there are many reasons to trust the claims of scriptures.  Filled with beautiful photographs bound to capture the interest of any reader, Powell talks about the flood and search for Noah's Ark (our favorite part), Old Testament History and the artifacts found that support that history, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the New Testament and what the world was like during the time that Jesus walked the earth.  Fascinating info, I tell ya!

Our Thoughts-
We really have enjoyed these books a lot, but I found that we enjoyed them more when we read them individually rather than as a read aloud.  They are over the head of my 7 year old, even when he is just listening so the family time reading just did not happened as often as I had hoped it would.  They are filled with great information and I love that the author does not insert his opinion or other ramblings.  He simply presents the facts and where he got them from.  According  to my Bible- major daughter, they are scripturally sound and are not based off myths, legends or one man's sole opinion.  Because I like them so much, I am going to make them required reading for part of our Bible credit in school!  Though some information we may already be familiar with, there is a ton we were not.

Some of my favorite parts of the Old Testament and New Testament books were the sections that talked about how Bibles were copied.  The detail described reminds me of how it is nothing short of miraculous that we even have access to Bibles all over the world.  It also reminded me of how blessed we are to have had people that dedicated their lives to accurately copying the Bible so that we could have that access.  How thankful we should be.

My main complaint-
Though these books are lovely to look at when you first open them up, we found them quite difficult to read. The pages are laid out in a scrapbook form, which makes them visually distracting, in my opinion. Rather than written in a book form, there are multiple sections devoted to different subjects.  While I did not have a problem with those short snippets, as I find they hold younger children's attention more readily, what I did have a problem with was that each section was written in a different font. And fancy ones at that!   The fonts do seem to fit the time period in which you are reading about, but we found many of them cluttered and difficult to read.  One of my daughters noted that there was just not enough white space to make reading pleasurable.  My 12 year old had difficulty with it especially. For those that are visual learners I would be willing to bet this layout would be very distracting.  I would love to see Apologia clean up the pages a little as to not distract from such wonderful reads!

On a whole, we love Apologia's new iWitnness series and highly recommend it!  You can hear an interview with author, Doug Powell, that will give you a feel for his heart behind this new series. Two more books in the series are due out in 2015- iWitness World Religions and iWitness Heresies and Cults.

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