There are quite a number of children bibles in our home. However, this “Big Picture Story Bible” is by far my all-time favourite version.
It has this amazing way of getting what’s most important, right. Apart from being breathtakingly well-illustrated, it conveys the “Big Picture” – the unified story of God’s intent and grace as it runs through the Old and New Testaments.
Being very much of the Graeme Goldsworthy persuasion (i.e. kingdom theology of “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule”), this book helps me tell the story in simple language that a four year old can easily understand. We have worked through half the thick tome so far, and the themes come out so clearly, and difficult subjects are not glossed over, but explained biblically.
For instance, Eden was described this way:
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.
And the fall:
Adam and Eve chose to doubt God’s goodness. They chose to disobey God’s word. They did not let God be king over them. They ate some fruit from the tree. They listened to the voice of Satan instead of the word of God.
The prophets’ main themes are also summarized in one simple sentence each:
Even though God’s people were far from home, God still spoke to them. God sent more prophets. They spoke all his words and wrote them down in God’s holy book.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote that one day God would raise up the temple and give his people new hearts.
Isaiah reminded them that God’s forever king would come from the family of David.
I guess too many times, our sunday school teaching, and our children’s biblical literature at home, fall too much into the trap of moralising from scripture. For instance, how the story of David and Goliath is sometimes taught. Goliath signifies various childhood sins (lying, disobedience to parents, etc) and David slings stones listed as “obedience, prayer, bible reading etc” to defeat the giant. Urm, not quite what that story was supposed to be about.
So I guess this book by Helms and Goldsworthy’s books, constantly challenge me to interpret and apply the bible properly. And few things are more important than imparting truth faithfully to our children.
As one review put it, “If there were only one children’s bible I could pick to read to my children, this would be it. This book is pure gold.” I wholeheartedly agree.