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Balancing the Sword Review by Dawn KingAllen B. Wolfe
Balancing the Sword
Every Christian homeschooler needs to have a good Bible survey class before graduating high school (in my humble opinion). In my household, this is the one my high schoolers will use! I have to say, I am so impressed with Balancing the Sword, that I will gush when I describe it!
Balancing the Sword is a set of two books, software, and Web support that will help you and your children go chapter by chapter through the Bible. There are thousands of thought-provoking, objective questions. Each book contains questions for each of the 1,189 chapters of the Bible. That's a question for every 2.7 verses! And each book has different questions for each chapter, no duplicates. The Balancing the Sword books also contain many cross references for each question, study helps, quotes, illustrations, charts, and maps. The questions are objective and non-denominational. The goal here is to learn what the Scriptures actually say and then interpret them with the Holy Spirit's help.
So how do you use these amazing books? You can use one volume at a time or both together, depending on what you want to do. The choice is up to you. Read the chapter you wish to study and then turn to the questions for that chapter. Answer as many questions as you can from memory; then read the chapter again to finish the rest of the answers. If you get stuck on a question or want to know more, look up the cross references. As a last resort, look up the answers in the back of the book. You should be able to complete a book in a year with about 30 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of answering questions. The author does not recommend skipping around and doing chapters here and there, but rather studying a whole book of the Bible before moving on to another book.
The Balancing the Sword set also comes with the best Bible reading planning software I've ever seen. No kidding. This software tool allows you to plan a customized Bible reading plan that will actually fit your life. First, if you like, you can test your reading speed so it can tell how much to assign you per day (according to the time limit you specify later on in the process). You can also specify days to skip (like weekends or holidays) and divide your readings into one, two, or three sessions. You can also decide which books of the Bible you want to read or which sections. It is amazingly versatile. Honestly, it's worth buying the set just to get this software.
Balancing the Sword should not be strictly relegated to high schoolers; it could also work well for family devotions. The Bible chapters could be read aloud to the whole family and the questions answered orally as a group. You could make a game of looking up the cross references and reading them aloud. This could be used in a church setting as a Bible survey course n or just for your personal study. It is so flexible. It is for everyone!
At approximately $70, this program is well worth the money. You'll get two to four years' worth of Bible survey for your high schooler, plus the Reading Planner software. It's a bargain!
As I said before, I am very impressed with Mr. Wolfe's work, and I believe every Christian homeschool family needs to own and use this set!
Product Review by Dawn King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2007