Monday, May 27, 2019

Book Review: The Big Picture Story Bible

The Big Picture Story Bible. David R. Helm. Illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker. 2004. Crossway Books. 451 pages. [Source: Borrowed]

First sentence from the Old Testament section: 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!

First sentence from the New Testament section: Years passed without a single word from God. And the years turned into many years, and the many years turned into hundreds of years. And the great promises of God seemed to fade away. Israel became less important in the world. Other nations became great--strong nations, powerful nations, whose kings ruled over God's people. One such king...was Caesar Augustus.

The Big Picture Story Bible is one of my favorite bible story books. Why? Because it presents the Bible not as a series of entertaining, informational, educational, inspirational stories but as a unified story. The Bible does in fact have a big picture. If you miss the big picture, you miss the point. By understanding--grasping, appreciating--the big picture, you are enabling yourself to appreciate the smaller as well because you can see how everything fits, everything belongs.

The Big Picture Story Bible has twenty-six illustrated stories. Together they tell one big story. These stories build upon one another. They are interconnected. Everything is building up to the big climax--the appearance of Jesus Christ. The first eleven stories cover the Old Testament. The remaining fifteen stories cover the New Testament.

The Bible is for believers young and old. The story it tells is grand, glorious, but above all TRUE and TRUSTWORTHY. Yet people of all ages can struggle to read the Word for themselves. Perhaps because it seems so strange and otherworldly. Perhaps because it is intimidating. Perhaps because they don't know where to begin. A familiarity with the BIG PICTURE of the Bible could be the very boost one needs to begin to ACTUALLY read the Bible.

The Big Picture Story Bible gives readers of all ages the orientation they need to grasp not only the story but the theology behind the story. It covers the basics of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not so thorough and comprehensive that it would ever--could ever--take the place of the Word itself. That would be silly. But by showing you the structure of the Word, how everything fits together, how every story belongs to the whole, it can be a considerable help.

I think this one is for readers of all ages. I definitely think parents with children should have this one in their homes. (Christian parents and grandparents). Parents have an awesome responsibility to teach and instruct their children in the faith. It isn't anyone else's responsibility to do so for you. It is a great task, but it isn't an impossible one. It's never too early. It's never too late. You might feel overwhelmed, but you can learn alongside your children. You can go on this glorious, wonderful journey together.

But I also think adults without children could benefit from this one as well. There are a million excuses why believers don't read the Bible. Grasping the big picture and holding onto the big picture could be a great stepping stone into actually reading the Bible and tasting for yourself the sweetness of the Lord.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: