On Wednesday's edition of "Ask Anything Wednesday" on The Albert Mohler Program I was asked about good Bible story books for children. I appreciated the question because I am concerned that many Bible story books treat the stories as nothing more than disconnected morality tales.
Children need to be told about the "big story" of the Bible -- of God's purpose to save His people from their sins through the atonement of Christ. They need to learn to understand the individual stories of the Bible within the big picture and to know that these stories are not disconnected, but part of a pattern of promise and fulfillment.
Two good resources for parents are The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm and The Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The Jesus Story Book Bible is subtitled, 'Every Story Whispers His Name." As Zondervan describes the book, "The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David--every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle--the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God's great story of salvation--and at the center of their Story too."
The Big Picture Story Bible also presents the Bible as a unified story -- and this is so important, even when children are quite young. Children have keen narrative minds and active imaginations. They need to have those capacities respected and developed through hearing the stories of the Bible over and over again. At the same time, parents who read and tell these stories should help children to connect the dots and to learn of God's love and saving purpose from one story to the next.
Children taught to see the big picture and to know the big story are in a good position to see that knowledge matured through deeper Bible study in years ahead. These books are great gifts for children and young families.