When I first became a Christian I was so daunted by the size of the bible and particularly the Old Testament that I decided to buy a children’s version to get a quick overview. While it did help me a bit with the bare bones of some of the main events, like many children’s bible stories it was heavily sanitised plus I was left with the feeling that it was just a collection of unconnected faintly moralising stories without much of a plot running through them.
More recently, having actually read the OT for real, I was looking for a version for my children to read. They had three or four versions already but they all suffered from the same problems that I had encountered before. It was never obvious reading about Abraham, David, or Jonah what the point of the stories was. If someone loves Jesus and has decided to follow him why wade through the OT? Jazzing it up in colourful language and pictures may keep a child’s attention but what’s the point if it doesn’t tell them about Jesus? Recently a friend recommended “The Jesus Storybook Bible : Every story whispers his name”, and we have so far listened to/read the first third. I have to say it’s absolutely brilliant. It is written soooooo well, it’s exciting, funny and interesting but also very insightful and Jesus focused. Each story clearly points to Jesus in ways that even I hadn’t fully appreciated before. I really cannot sing it’s praises enough.
Here’s the introduction:
The heavens are singing
about how great God is;
and the skies are shouting it out, “see what God has made!”
Day after day … night after night …
they are speaking to us.
Psalm 19:1 — 2 (paraphrase)
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 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.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get a afraid, run away. At time are downright mean.
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 fairytales 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 centre of this story there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like a missing piece of the 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 were all good stories start right at the beginning …
It really is the best Children’s’ bible I have ever come across. The author is Sally Lloyd-Jones. Is she related to “the Lloyd Jones?” I’ll let her answer that from her blog:
When you’re such a fan, of such a great man, of course you’d love to be able to say you’re related or connected somehow. You wish you had met him. And been able to hear him preach. Or had him as your great Uncle. You sometimes even wish (inappropriately) you could tell all manner of lies to make it a better story–you remember him singing welsh hymns to you, he took you riding on his horse–in short, you wish you could say anything other than, “no”. Which for some reason I can’t help but follow with “sorry”. (I feel it is such a let down and I’m rather let down by the whole thing myself.)
I don’t think she needs to feel sorry at all. The truth is, asking the question is a massive compliment because given her amazing gift of writing and insight into truth being related to the late great Lloyd-Jones is a very plausible possibility. Another recognisable name that cropped up was Tim Keller. Sally says he had some input into the book and a little research confirms it is indeed “the Tim Keller”.
If you have young children and you’re looking for a great bible story book then this is the one to get. It’s also a good one to listen too (the Deluxe version has a great set of CD’s with it) if you have just become a Christian and want to get a quick feel for the whole bible story. Not only will it inspire you to read the “real thing” it will help you listen for the whispers of Jesus in every story.