Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apologia Educational Ministries - iWitness Series Review

There's no doubt that Christians are faced with questions when it comes to the Bible. As a mother, there is also no doubt that my children are going to have a ton of questions as well. That is why I was ecstatic when I found out that I was going to be able to review iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness from Apologia Educational Ministries. I consider anything from Apologia to be a blessing and I was excited to be able to read through Christian books that would educate and inspire my three daughters and I.

The iWitness books were written by a gentleman named, Doug Powell.  Mr. Powell is the art director for Apologia. He holds a Masters degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University and is the author of many best-selling books. The Apologia blog has a wonderful article about Mr. Powell and the iWitness series. In reading the blog I learned that Mr Powell was asked "Who is the audience for these books?" and he responded, "I wrote these books for me! They’re books I wish I could’ve read when I was wanting the answers to these things." I was hooked right there. Answers to things? I knew my children and I wanted answers to certain things and just perhaps in reading the books we would discover them. Thank you Mr. Powell! 

 iWitness Biblical Archaeology gives very good up-to-date background information on current biblical archaeology. Archaeology is a new favorite topic of my daughters and I. So, we were pleased to be able to read about bible archaeology. My daughters and I were familiar with most of the biblical discoveries, but some where completely new to them. We were inspired to look more into those new topics on our own. We found the way the book was set up to be a pleasant surprise. It's not your average words in a row book. It's highly visual and presents each piece of information in a fun scrapbook kind of way. It is full of wonderful graphics that were very appealing to the eyes. I feel that the way it was laid out, made reading it more enjoyable. We were pleased that Mr. Powell provided many fun details such as dates, locations, date discovered, and the museum where the discoveries can be located. This information helped my daughters and I research the topics more in depth. 

Each book in the iWitness series is designed as stack of documents the reader has to make sense of as if they’re doing their own investigation and Old Testament iWitness was no exception. It is also set up in a fun scrapbook kind of way. Old Testament iWitness answers the questions How is the Old Testament different from the Hebrew Bible? Who wrote these ancient books? How were they collected? and Is it mythology or history? This book allowed my daughters to read each fact in an easy to understand way. For instance, the book has a few pages on major and minor prophets that were very interesting. These pages list the authors of the books, the dates, and the purposes of the books. We were very pleased to be able to read the information without having to read paragraph after paragraph. I loved how each page had just the right amount of information that gave us answers, yet also inspired us to want to find out more. I was also very pleased at all the new words my daughters were learning. We used a notebook specifically for writing down all the new words and their definitions. It was a great way for my daughters to learn the new words and put them into context with what we were reading.

New Testament iWitness is set up just like the other two. It's another highly visual and educational book. It lets you find the the answers to questions such as Who wrote the New Testament? How do we know? How was it handed down? How can we know we have the original text? Were there any books that could have been included but were left out? My daughters once again enjoyed being able to learn the new information. Again, I especially enjoyed the new vocabulary words my daughters were learning. For instance, in New Testament iWitness, they learned that synoptic means same eye. They also learned what lectionaries are. They thought that was very cool. I was pleased to learn a great deal of wonderful bible information right along side them. We learned that in the New Testament there are about 400 words of text that are not certain, but that none of them affect any major doctrine. That was very cool to learn. I felt that all in all the book was highly entertaining and actually a bit hard to put down. 

~Final Thoughts~

I highly recommend these books to everyone. While these are great books for many different ages, the reading level is going to be for ages 11 and up. I enjoyed reading them to my daughters. They are not hard to read and we actually moved through them fairly quickly. We learned a bunch of new information and were inspired to research more into our favorite topics.  They are wonderful books filled with wonderfully accurate content. I'm happy that we now have them, as they are a great addition to our home library. Once again, Apologia hasn't let us down. They are books that I didn't know I needed. I'm certain that we will be revisiting them a ton in the future. 

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