Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story Book. Written by Starr Meade. Illustrated by Tim O'Connor. 2010. Crossway. 288 pages.
Even though the Bible is made up of sixty-six different books with many different authors, written over a period of centuries, it tells one main story. That story is the story of God planning, creating, redeeming, and perfecting people who would be his own special people. The main character of the Bible story is God. In smaller story after smaller story, he is the one who plans, who promises, who keeps his promises, who saves, who blesses, and who judges. Each story shows us God at work.
What should you expect from Mighty Acts of God? Stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Each story is several pages long. This book focuses more on text than illustrations. So perhaps it's for an older audience, or a family audience with a blend of ages. (It is not as simple as it could be, as it should be for the very young.)
Within each story words are defined (as needed) and doctrinal statements are made. These declarations appear in a different color. (Old Testament is red; New Testament in green.) What kinds of declarations? Well, from the first story, "The Story of Creation" readers learn "God is eternal," "God alone is completely independent," and "God's word is so powerful that he commands things that don't exist to exist, and they obey." From the second story, "Adam and Eve Sin" readers learn, "Because God made us, he is our Lord and our Master. He makes the rules and gives the orders and we must obey," and "God didn't make the world as it is. Everything he created was good. Sin damaged God's creation and brought in all that is ugly." Here is how sin is defined, by the way, "Sin is doing what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do." (21) And here is how grace is defined, "Grace is the giving of blessings and good things to people who do not deserve them." (25)
Each story concludes with discussion questions. (Some of these discussion questions are tough. I'm not sure how easy it would be as a child to answer some of these. Though I suppose that is where the family part comes in. Still, I think a few of these (not all of these) might even challenge adults. Especially if the adults are new to the faith.)
What did I like about Mighty Acts of God? I liked the theology. I really liked the complexity of it. Some children's bible books are simple--really simple. And that does serve a purpose. I think with really young ones especially. This book offers a more challenging--and yes in some ways more biblical--approach to the concept of a bible story book. It doesn't stay away from doctrine, from theology, from defining faith essentials. It has a way of making you think--which in my opinion is a good thing. It is much more than a story.
This one is best read (I think) in small doses. A story or two at a time. Anything more than that, and I think it becomes a bit too much.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible