Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Lifeway Christian Stores

In the past year my Schnickelfritz has stepped up to the task of running the sound for the children's ministry.   This is no small task.  In addition to staying for both services once a month, he has had to commit to daily prayer and Bible study.  We've been reading our way through the Old Testament in school this year.  Recently we received an excellent study tool from Lifeway Christian Stores -- The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids.  This 212 page hardback book is chock full of maps, charts, definitions, pronunciation guides and beautiful color photographs of Biblical sites and artifacts.  In cases where photos aren't available (wouldn't we all like to see how short Zacchaeus really was or the beauty of Queen Esther), a vivid color illustration is provided.

At the time, we were in the book of Judges.  We turned to the J entries to learn the judges were the leaders between Joshua's death and the annointing of Saul.  The was even a map showing the general area in which each judge lived (my cartophile son's favorite part).   In our Bible we read that Gideon made an ephod from the gold captured from the Mideonites (Judges 9:27).  I will confess that in my past 30 years of Bible study I just assumed from the context that this was some sort of statue or idol.  Looking up "ephod" in our new dictionary we learned that it was an apron-like piece of clothing usually worn by the priests.  When the Israelites worshiped it, it was probably being worn by someone--Gideon himself perhaps?  No wonder the Bible says it became a trap for Gideon and his family.  No wonder his son wanted to kill all his sibling rivals and be on the receiving end of all that worship.

Some of the definitions may seem superficial in an adults eyes.  Angels  are listed as "Created beings whose only job is to serve and worship God. In Bible times, angels spoke messages from God to people."  There is no reference to the different types of angels, cherubim for example, or even the names of some angels or the mention of fallen angels.   If you're reading the Bible with your child, you may want to see what upcoming words are listed in the dictionary.  Fritz and I were interested in the false god Baal, but there was no reference in the book.  For the target audience, I'd say elementary age kids, this is an excellent starting point for Bible study.

Some of our favorite entries were the various charts.  You can see the Weights and Measures sample above.   Others include the Names of God and Jesus,  the Parables of Jesus, the divisions of the Old and New Testament.  There are also multi-page spreads with photos of animals, plants, and food of the bible.  If you'd like to see more sample pages, you can download the Introduction to Parents and Teachers and all the A entries at Lifeway Christian Stores' website.   This is also where you can purchase the book for $14.99--a bargain for a quality kid's Bible study tool.

You can see what others on the Homeschool Crew think of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids by clicking here.
Disclaimer:  i received a free book from Lifeway Christian stores for the purposes of completing this review.  There was no further compensation for my honest opinion.

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