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Oct 16, 2014

Review of Apologia's iWitness Book Series

I'm a big fan of Apologia Educational Ministries.  I'm also very interested in Biblical archaeology.  When Apologia very generously offered The Crew the chance to review three of their iWitness books, I literally begged for the opportunity!  I received iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness for review.

Musician and apologist author Doug Powell has written these three books as well as two others in the series, Jesus iWitness and Resurrection iWitness.  Mr. Powell wrote these books for people like himself, to answer the questions for which he once wanted answers.  He wishes to empower other Christians with a defense for their belief.  Learning to use Christian apologetics is a goal of mine for all of us. 

These engaging books are paperback, sized about 9x6 inches, with mostly sepia-toned pages giving them an old parchment kind of look.  Each book is jam-packed with information.  I don't know what it is, but kids really seem to like books that have the fun jumbles of information and illustrations like these books have.   Though these books are considered interactive, I tend to think interactive implies lift the flap, turn a dial, pat the bunny...  OK.  Maybe not the last one.  There is none of that here.

iWitness Biblical Archaeology
This was certainly my favorite title.  I pretty much expected it to be all along. I am SO interested in Biblical Archaeology. I love seeing proof of the truth of God's Word. I don't need the proof to have faith, but I love to see it!  I rarely see something about Biblical archaeology that is truly interested in showing the truth of the Bible. Too many times, I see something that is called Biblical and the articles have been misleading or downright blasphemy. It breaks my heart. I want my children to feel the truth of God and to see it in tangible ways when possible. I want their faith so deeply rooted, it can never be shaken.

This book was doubly fun (for me anyway!) because I could follow up by reading the Bible verses mentioned and easily enough search for more information on the various artifacts mentioned.  Some of these include Hezekiah's tunnel which was dug in Jerusalem to withstand a seige, various bullas and cylinders, the infamous Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.

New Testament iWitness
This title teaches the criteria used for all of the books in the Biblical canon, who determined the books qualified, why some books did not meet the qualifications, and how the New Testament was copied and handed down, among other things.  The details provided were listed "backward" timeline-wise in this one and I was confused, not by the information, but by the decision to present it this way.  That decision was actually explained in this author interview.  This was covered in the first half of the book.  The second half was the more technical aspects of getting the New Testament into print; copying manuscripts, dealing with differences in copies, choosing the most likely version to be closest to the original.  It was all very interesting and eye-opening.  There are three major text types, or manuscript families, used for NT writings.  We learned which current Bible versions are based on which text types.

Old Testament iWitness
Covered in this installment is, how does the Old Testament differ from the Hebrew Bible and how Jesus is revealed in that scripture.  We learned that the copying process for the Old and New Testaments are completely different.  Where the NT uses the oldest copies available because they're believed to be closest to the original, the OT uses the newest manuscript copies, then old or damaged copies are disposed of in a special burial ceremony.  This book also covers the Septuagint (which means 70), Torah, major and minor prophets, and the Apocrypha.

Two more iWitness books will be released, I believe, in 2015.  They're titled iWitness World Religions and iWitness Heresies & CultsThey're on my wish list, too.

Reading level is for age 11 and up.  You can certainly read these to or with younger children.  Personally, I feel tween to adult is about right.

$14 each

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