Today, I’m venturing where I’ve never gone before. I’m going to recommend a children’s book to you. Since my kids were born, we’ve looked for good Bible story books to read to them. There are dozens of them in print. Dozens. Some are better than others.
Up till now, there is one really old school book I like, Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, first published in 1939. We have a copy from the 1960’s. It’s still in print, which is a testament to how good it is. I like this book because it is a good paraphrase of the stories. While lots of kids’ books skip over the unpleasant Bible stories, this one talks about many of them in terms appropriate for kids. I’ve never liked “sanitized” Bibles. I think they set a bad precedent for kids as we teach them how to read the Bible.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife was reading a mommy blog, and heard about The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers his name. She noted that it got rave reviews by several bloggers and the authors of the parenting book Give Them Grace (this is another book I recommend).
Here’s the funny thing…we’ve owned this book for several years. I think someone gave it to us. It looked kind of cartoony to me, and it somehow found itself in the pile children’s bible storybooks. Once we dug it out and actually read it, I discovered that I really like this book. As the subtitle indicates, its purpose is to show how every story foreshadows Christ. The book tells the stories in terms of theology. That is, the author doesn’t just give us the bare facts and words of the stories, but the meaning behind them.
Let me give you some excerpts so you can get a feel for it. I’m going to highlight a couple of lines I think are particularly good.
From the first chapter…
Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.
From the Creation…
So God breathed life into Adam and Eve. When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God’s face. And when God saw them he was like a new dad. “You look like me,” he said. “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!”
God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.
And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness, and nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.
There’s some good theology in this work. If you have young kids, give this book a look.