Apologia iWitness ~ Schoolhouse Review

I am a firm believer in our children having an education which is centered in Christ. I believe strongly in apologetics; I never want me children to be unable to “give an answer for the hope that is in them.” Sadly there are many things out there which shake the faith of believers and if we do not know what we believe and why, we are not going to be able to make it as His followers. We need not just the knowledge of God and His word but an understanding of what it means in our life. Its our testimony to share.  So, when I had the chance to review some materials from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was ecstatic! And not just for my children but myself too. 😀 Apologia Review I received three new books, a part of Apologia’s new iWitness series.  The books are: iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness.  Each book is $14.  These are excellent books too for use with children of a variety of ages.  If you use them for more independent reading, these are best for  ages 11 and up.  My oldest is 9 and he did some reading in these on his own but it was tough. I read the all three books to my three children, who are nine, five and three; there were moments that my oldest two were in total attention (they loved the images throughout) but for the most part I think these were more for me than for them. For now anyways.  We began with the Old Testament iWitness since we have been studying within those pages. Within these pages, Doug Powell speaks not just of but how the Old Testament was written and why it is the way it is today.  We see, as we read, how the Jewish people passed down Torah scrolls, who the Jews believe actually wrote the books of the Old Testament, and how scholars have historically these writings historically too.  He also speaks to those little known books, such as the apocrypha included within the Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments. There is clear explanation too regarding the reason that the Jewish scriptures are in order as they are; if you didn’t know their order is not our order. For those who are unaware, the Old Testament (“The Tanakh” or Hebrew “Canon”) consists of: The Books of Moses (the “Torah”), the Prophets (“The Neviim”), the “Psalms” ( 11 books referred to as “Ketuvi’im”). So much explained within these pages which, in my opinion, only adds to the value and the historical accuracy of the writings themselves. See as you read, the types and shadows throughout the Old Testament pointing us to Jesus Christ, the promised Lord and Savior. Jesus often speaks from the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew scriptures, teaching and showing how valuable it is for us, as Christians too, to study and understand, For truly He did not come to abolish this law but to fulfill it.

Apologia Review

The New Testament iWitness is another gem; speaking of the history of the New Testament itself. This one is very history heavy if you ask me; in fact I learned so much from reading this of how much I know and do not know myself.  It explains the criteria for how the books of the New Testament were chosen, the history of how and why certain books were included as well as why others were excluded.  Doug Powell also discusses the various methods used for copying the New Testament; he writes about the difference in copies as well as the “intentional errors” that are present within. Since we are all music lovers too we did enjoy the bit he wrote of the hymns and creeds and how these were created to make the teaching of the apostles easier to remember. How we love reading the teachings of the Apostles; the beginning of the church age! There was much within this book that really made me think; my list of items to review has grown a bit extensively now too. And while there were things within the pages I was not sure I agreed with I always encourage myself, my son too, to search the scriptures with me whenever we come across something that is not in line what we believe. This can only help us to grow, if we seek truth prayerfully and humbly. 🙂

Lastly there is (my favorite!):  iWitness Biblical Archaeology.  It starts out with The Epic of Gilgamesh (a Babylonian flood story). The iWitness Biblical Archaeology discusses “The Flood” in relation to the story of Gilgamesh. It also talks about the search for Noah’s Ark, the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, and has so much more archaeological evidence that only shows how true the Word of God really is. These specifically fit in so well with some videos we have been watching in reference to these very events and definitive scientific proof too! There is a section regarding the burial shroud, or as you may have heard it, the Shroud of Turin. There is a great discussion regarding the possibility of this being the very cloth Jesus was wrapped in. There are great images within the pages of this book (which my 5 year old son loved!) showing inscriptions from the house of David; a section that explains the Dead Sea Scrolls. All quite intriguing, surprisingly my oldest son’s had a good attention for much of this reading too.
 So often as I read, I felt like singing “Shema Israel for our Lord is one Lord, our God is one.”  So powerful. So much that shows us that our God is surely alive!

This really is a wonderful way to learn the Word of God in a way that makes it personal and alive. I really enjoy how all of the writings appear to be various, ancient scraps of paper with “handwritten” text throughout. Makes you feel a bit like an archeologist yourself.  Full of historical images and great details, all so very well organized., this helps some of the more complex issues to be more easily understood by most anyone. Each book is about 60 pages long too. Needless to say, I am quite excited too for the next two volumes, Resurrection and Jesus iWitness book, coming in 2015. These are definitely on my to-buy list!

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