I am constantly amazed at the products available for teaching our children. I have a secret love-affair with the Apologia company. AH-mazing products that cover a variety of subjects. The newest product we have had the privilege of reviewing is part of the iWitness series from Doug Powell.
We were blessed to get Old Testament iWitness, New Testament iWitness, and iWitness Biblical Archeology from Apologia Educational Ministries recently and they are crammed full of Biblical facts. These fantastic and fact filled books are just what my 13 year old son, Isaiah, and I really enjoy!
With so many amazing products available for homeschoolers, it is still incredible for me to find something new.
The first thing you notice about these books is that the design is gorgeous! Each book is a beautiful glossy paperback with great detail. I love them! Inside each book it is designed to give the impression of a scrapbook, which makes it seem more personal. Which makes sense, due to the name of iWitness, and it works well and is a totally awesome idea.
Since there are three books, I would like to tell you about each one in some detail. All three were wonderful and each had specific qualities we enjoyed. Recommended age range for these books is 11 years or older. They are also nice for read aloud usage and discussion.
A bit about the author, Doug Powell. He has a Master of Arts in the field of Christian Apologetics. What a fascinating field of study. (Honestly, I had no idea this was even a field of study…how cool is that?) He also holds awards for his graphic designs, has written each of the books in the iWitness series, is an app creator, and a musician. He sounds incredibly blessed and from these works, amazing talented.
The Old Testament iWitness ($14.00) book is based on the written works of the Bible. Everything having to do with all of the books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi. In the book, Doug breaks down why we have these particular books in the Bible as well as how they made it into the Bible. He also talks about how some books are still used to this day by The Roman Catholic Church yet the Protestant Church chooses not to.
Interesting details include the fact that there was detailed criteria for a written book to even be considered to be a part of the Scriptures. One such criteria was there was an unbroken chain of prophets, so no writing after the time of Malachi could be included, because there was no prophet to write under the power of inspiration. (How knew? Amazing fact!)
Also, a lot of the Old Testament is indeed an account of the history of the children of God. The kings were listed, most of the judges were listed, the prophets were listed, and most books included specific breakdowns of family history too. A very important detail because of the direct correlation between King David and Jesus.
In this Old Testament iWitness book there was also places referenced in “school” history books that are directly referenced in the books of the Old Testament. There are places, times, and even dates that show the Bible is an incredibly accurate timeline of our past.
The New Testament iWitness ($14.00) book continues on with the historic timeline. This book also speaks about some of the written works that did not make it into the Bible. Due to amazingly small details some important works may have been left out of the New Testament.
Or that was what I was led to believe until I read more from Doug Powell. The books chosen still had to follow certain rules (or criteria) to be considered for Scripture. The “canon” (Greek for “measure” or “rule”) is what is defined as the teaching that we as Christians should measure our lives. Any book that held that teaching is considered to be inspired by God and it became part of the Scripture.
An interesting fact we learned was that the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) had very little variances between them. Incredibly small nuances include the minute details about the man’s life (the one writing the particular book) but more than 55% of these three books include the exact same words, stories, and historic details that speak about Christ and his life. Many scholars think that Matthew and Luke might have actually used Mark as their reference source when they wrote.
My favorite fact is the sheer number of copies of the original manuscript of the New Testament than any other ancient writings. In relative comparison there are 5,813 copies of the New Testament versus 1,757 copies of Homer’s Illiad…Amazing!
The iWitness Biblical Archeology ($14.00) book was totally fascinating to read. It was full of real life photos of archeological digs showing the artifacts that were found on site. There are Biblical references that talks about an item and then to see the photos of said item…incredible. Just one more link in the chain of truth of the Bible.
This book shows pictures of places specifically mentioned in the Bible. Some of these places are still physically able to be seen today. There are also numerous historical events that coincide with artifacts and writings. One such artifact is the Taylor Prism. This prism was discovered in Nineveh (modern Nebi Yunus, Iraq) that speaks of a battle of King Hezekiah, King of Judah, and the siege of Jerusalem. This battle was also recorded in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and the book of Isaiah.
With all of the pictures and the museums that these artifacts are located stirs in me a desire to travel and see these amazing items myself. I am so pleased to be able to be given an opportunity to learn more about the Bible thorough this book.
Apologia does it again with this iWitness series. It is fact based, full of incredible detail, and an enjoyable read. Fun facts that we can count towards History class or Biblical Studies class.
Our only issue is that some of the fonts used were a bit hard to read. Other than that, we both enjoyed reading these and discussing what we learned. Also, it was entirely too cool that we were able to open our Bibles and see for ourselves where certain items were talked about and written.
There are more iWitness books coming soon from Doug Powell and Apologia and we are looking forward to them.
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I hope you enjoyed our latest review and you stop back soon for our next product!
In His Grace.
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