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Forging the Sword Review by Jennifer King

Eleanor Hamilton
Autumn Light Publications

I have a boy who is fascinated with the written word; one of his learning goals right now is to know the history of the written word. Forging the Sword was designed for 4th - 6th graders but can easily be adapted to use with older students and even some enthusiastic younger ones. The book includes 15 lessons, all activity based, experiencing every stage of the development of the Bible. There is a CD included which has all the supplementary material such as instructional pages, timeline cards, memory verse posters, tests, and quizzes as well as additional resources for special projects and ongoing research. While this book began as a course for a youth group, the message of how our Bible grew, as the inspired word of God and the price paid is one every one of us should be familiar with. 

This course is broken up into four parts. Each part begins with an overview of terms used, instruction points and activities, a memory verse, and a list of supplemental pages required to proceed through the lessons. 

We begin with the Gathering of the Word where we learn how writing began, from the Sumerians to the development of the papyrus in Egypt. Since we sometimes have clay laying around there was the opportunity to experience creating our own ancient writings. We also learned quite a bit about “forging” a sword. What an amazing experience; we were able to explore the development of the process from long ago to today. There was even a template to print out and design, or cover, using aluminum foil although my son chose to use the printout to carve his own sword out of wood. We then explored Ephesians and the Sword of the Spirit, to see how forging a sword was like the Bible being developed. 

The second part of this course involves Fire on the Mountain. This was great because my son had watched a video not long ago about the discovery of Mt Sinai. In this part, we learn about the Ten Commandments given while also exploring the many hands which penned the pages of our Bible. We had the opportunity to sketch a map of Canaan and Egypt while also creating our very own mezuzah to attach to our door frames. 

The third part, Changing Languages of the Bible, was lots of fun for my language loving kids since we explored the different languages of the Bible. As we completed each unit there was also a great deal of emphasis on the chronology of the Bible. With plenty of scripture, we were able to use and create our timeline as we went along. It can be so fun to explore the different languages that were a part of the development of the Bible that we have today. There were even puzzles and games and mazes to complete so we could learn and love our Lord while also having so much fun!

The final part covers Rediscovering the Written Word. The historical background within this part was just so amazing. We spent quite a bit of time looking up extra information about the oldest copy of the Bible found. There were opportunities for us to pretend to be textual analysts and try to identify manuscripts from long ago. As deep lovers of archeology and how it proves so much of the Bible to be true, we thoroughly enjoyed the many activities that related to the scriptures. 

The many activities within this book are so unique and so highly creative. There were a great many things that I learned myself as we began to dig in and explore the Bible differently. While Bible study itself is a daily activity we all engage in, the many resources taught within the pages of this course are just invaluable. We all know that the Bible was written to each of us, a letter of love from our God, but knowing all work, the trials and the tribulations that are a part of the book we hold close today, knowing these things, experiencing them in this way, really helps us to love and cherish this book of truth all the more. Our children need to know these things so they can see for themselves that while the grass withers and the flowers fade, the word of our God stands forever. 

-Product review by Jennifer King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2020