Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: ESV Seek and Find Bible

ESV Seek and Find Bible. Crossway Publishing. 2010. 1888 pages.

The ESV Seek and Find Bible is designed to help children transition from Bible story books to the Bible itself. It offers readers the best of both.

On the one hand, it offers 130 illustrations and stories. Each story being three to four pages in length. Each consists of a full-page color illustration, a summary/story, and a seek and find section. Each 'seek-and-find' section consists of "where to find the story", "key bible verse," "three key questions," and "related Bible readings." These stories can be read and enjoyed on their own. (Though, of course, reading the stories from the Bible itself, would be a good thing. Something to encourage.)

On the other hand, it offers readers the complete text of the ESV Bible. Each book of the Bible is properly introduced. Readers can find out more about each book including a concise summary, the author and date, the key people, the central themes, the main purpose, and suggested memory verses. Throughout the Bible, there are character profiles--each character profile has a color illustration. All of this is done in a reader-friendly way. Nothing overwhelming. Everything is straight-forward.

For those readers who find books with 'too many words' and 'not enough pictures' intimidating (like Alice from Alice in Wonderland), the illustrations serve a good purpose. They can be visually appealing.  They help make this one more reader-friendly.

The back matter includes an Index of Stories, Index of Profiles and Illustrations, a Dictionary, and eight color maps. (And a very abbreviated introduction to the ESV text.)

What I liked about this one: I liked the design and layout. I liked the illustrations. I liked the symbols. I found them easy to understand and follow. I liked the size of the font. I liked the use of color. (They did NOT make Bibles like this when I was a kid.) I liked the fact that it was black letter. I liked the key questions, for the most part. I thought they were well written, well chosen. And, of course, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the ESV translation. I think this Bible could be used within the family or within a Sunday School room to great benefit.

I would recommend this one for home and church use. I would recommend it for adults working closely with children. Sunday School teachers, for example, might find this one of interest. They might want to incorporate some of these stories or questions into their lessons. I would recommend it to parents who enjoy reading the Bible and praying with their children. Reading it together, discussing it together. That could be a very good thing. I would recommend this one to children who are comfortable reading books on their own. Each child is different. So that might be, for one family, a third grader. For another family, it might be a fourth or fifth grader. Readers might be ready for the Bible stories before they are ready to read the text of the Bible itself. But this one offers both, so, it can "grow" as your child does.

I love the Bible, I do. I just LOVE it. And I think parents should not only be reading the Bible for themselves, but encouraging their children to read it as well.

Stories from Genesis: God Creates the World, God Creates Adam and Eve, Sin Enters the World, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, God Calls Abram, Abram Rescues Lot, God's Covenant with Abram, Abraham's Visitors from Heaven, Abraham and Sarah Isaac and Ishmael, Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Jacob's Dream, Jacob's Family, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and His Brothers, Joseph's Troubles, Joseph Saves People from Famine, and Joseph Forgives.

Stories from Matthew: An Angel Visits Joseph, The Visit of the Wise Men, John the Baptist Prepares the Way, The Baptism of Jesus, The Temptation of Jesus, Jesus Calls the First Disciples, Jesus Teaches How To Be Blessed, Why We Never Need to Worry, Jesus Walks on Water, The Transfiguration, The Triumphal Entry, The Passion of Jesus, The Resurrection of Jesus.

Examples of Key Questions:

From Noah and the Flood: How does God feel about sin? What did God provide so Noah's family and some of the animals could be protected from His judgment on the world? What has God provided so His people can be safe from His judgment on sin?

From Jesus Calls the First Disciples: What did Peter and Andrew do when Jesus called out to them, saying, "Follow Me"? What does it mean to be "fishers of men"? How can we learn to follow Jesus today?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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