May 1, 2009
I am so excited about this. It just came in the mail from Amazon, and I have been bringing it with me everywhere I go like show-and-tell because I am that pumped about it. Here’s the thing; I started thinking about my first-graders and how I’d love to simply read a chapter book to them from week to week rather than individual stories. That got me to wondering if such a thing existed: a chapter-book version of the Bible. In my search, I stumbled across The Jesus Storybook Bible, which is pretty close. I love the byline: “Every story whispers his name.” Every story in the Bible (even the Old Testament ones) whisper the name of Jesus.
Listen to this excerpt from the introduction: read it out loud; it was meant to be read aloud:
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.
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…
I’m impressed by the style and the quality of the writing and the art in this Bible. I’m impressed by the author’s use of punctuation and parallelism and alliteration to make the story come to life. I’m impressed by the way she introduces ideas like God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” ideas like Home (and ontology), Good and Evil, and the Creation-Fall-Redemption narrative. Sally Lloyd-Jones acknowledges Tim Keller for giving her this “vocabulary of faith.” I’m impressed by that too. It sounds a bit high-falutin’ when it’s described by how it has impressed me; but I promise you, it is not. It’s a children’s book that young children can read themselves and enjoy. But like any good children’s literature, it’s a good read for adults too.
Literally every story in this Bible from Genesis to Revelation hints at Jesus, speaks to the Logos, the Center of God’s Story (and ours). This children’s Bible is creative; it’s fresh; it’s intellectually ingenuous. It’s what we’ve been waiting for.
The Jesus Storybook Bible isn’t a replacement for your Children’s NIV, but it’s a good place to start, and a good supplement — for your personal Bible reading as well as your children’s.
Check it out here where you can also enjoy video segments where the reading is done by the masterful David Suchet!
This blog post originally appeared at reneamac.com/2009/05/01/the-jesus-storybook-bible/