Sunday, November 3, 2013

Giving Thanks #3 Children's Story Bibles

I have had the opportunity to review several story bible collections for Operation Actually Read Bible. Some I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE; some I love; some I really like; and a few leave me indifferent or even asking why. What I have discovered is that each story collection offers something different. Some may be geared towards reaching three and four years olds. Some might be geared towards reaching those eight or nine year olds. There is rarely one perfect book that meets every single need for every single child in every family! I have also learned something else: ADULTS MIGHT BENEFIT from reading these books.

I have TWO books that I love and adore. The first is Sally Lloyd-Jones' JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE. So what makes this one special? I think what makes this one work--really work--is how Sally Lloyd-Jones has every story whisper His name. Her ability to connect each story with the Big Story, keeps everything in perspective, keeps everything connected and relevant. It also helps that she's a good storyteller! She has a definite way with words! She keeps the stories on a child's level, but yet, the stories are beautifully and compellingly told. I could almost pick out a passage to highlight from each and every story because the book is really just thatgood. One of my favorite, favorite stories is "Operation 'No More Tears!'" which draws from Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 50, 53, 55, and 60. Isaiah has always, always been a favorite book of mine. And to see it so wonderfully, so artistically translated into a story that little ones can understand, well, it does my heart good! The story may be concise, but it's faithful to the spirit of the message.

From the first story,

God wrote, "I love you" -- he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror -- to show us what he is like, to help us to know him, to make our hearts sing.
The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.
And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called "the Bible."
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
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. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle -- the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day -- but wait. Our story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning...

The second book that I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is David Helm's Big Picture Story Bible. It has fewer words per page than the Jesus Storybook Bible. I think it is just the right proportion of text to illustration. I think the stories are written in a kid-friendly way making this one a great choice for parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles, Sunday School teachers, etc.) to read aloud. But it's profound enough, evangelical enough, that it may just move adult readers to think about the gospel too. I LOVE that you really, truly can get the BIG PICTURE of the whole Bible just by sitting down to read this 'simple' storybook.

From the first story:
The Bible is God's story, and it begins with these big words: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Do you know how God created everything? Simply by speaking words. Imagine, making the world with words! Strong words. Powerful words. With words God created everything! He made the stars, the sun, and the moon. He made the animals, the fish, the trees, and flowers too. Everything! And then after all these things, God created... People!
Can you see Adam and Eve? God put his people in the Garden of Eden. They were made in the image of God. They were to be the rulers of God's place.
Adam and Eve were very special to God. Did you know that you are also very special to God? You are special because you are made in his image too! Being created in the image of God must have made Adam and Eve very, very happy. God was happy too. He was pleased with his world and his people because he saw that they were very good. Nothing was wrong. Nothing was bad. Nobody disobeyed God. In the very beginning, everything and everyone knew how good God was. God gave Adam and Eve good words to obey. He told them not to eat from a special tree. You see, God was teaching Adam and Eve that he was their king, that people were to obey God's word. God also said that if Adam and Eve disobeyed his word, they would surely die. So God's people, Adam and Eve, lived in God's place, the Garden of Eden. And they ruled God's world by obeying his good word. Do you know what happened next?
Do you have a favorite Bible Story Book?! I'd love to hear your recommendations!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: