Marty Machowski is definitely on a roll at the moment with his production of quality material for children and families. The author of The Gospel Story Bible and devotionals Long Story Short and Old Story New, has now written a theology book for children, essentially a doctrine book for 6-12 year olds. We all enjoyed this one – it was simple enough for Miss 8 to grasp and understand, yet not so simplistic that Mr 13 was bored. Each reading only took a few minutes, but often kick-started further discussion, so it can be simplified or extended as appropriate. As an extra treat, the illustrations are beautiful. I was sent this by New Growth Press as a pdf file, but liked the look of it so much we bought a hard copy.
There are some excellent family devotional materials available these days. However, the limitation for us is that many are too long. We are unlikely to stay with one resource for longer than a few months, so anything designed to last a year or more, we're unlikely to finish. We like variety but also have other material for certain times of the year (Easter, Christmas) that we prioritise. The Ology has 71 readings, so if done daily it would take under three months. In truth, it took us close to a year, so we didn’t feel like we got into a rhythm with it, and the way it’s written that certainly would have been a benefit.
We want to look at the big themes of the bible. In our children’s own bible reading, as well as any input at church, almost everything is bible passages. This is essential for growth and understanding, but we like to sometimes cover the larger concepts and themes, essentially doctrine. This fills a gap that might not otherwise be taught.
Therefore, The Ology therefore is excellent as both a shorter resource and for teaching doctrine. It is divided into sections including God, people, sin, promise and the law, Christ, the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family, the church, the end times and God’s word.
As with anything like this, there are some areas an author will emphasise that we might not, eg. quite as much on the end times, or some vague references to angels at points. Overall it’s very good, both clear and biblically sound, and written with explanations and illustrations that children understand (and non-American parents can quickly adapt on the spot to make even more relevant!). Machowski continues to help families teach their children the truths of God, something parents like us are very thankful for.