On Tuesday, I wrote about the Read and Learn Bible. It's good for exposing children to many Bible stories and characters, but it doesn't tie all those stories together into one cohesive story.
We have also been reading another children's Bible lately called The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm. This is a fabulous children's (or adult's!) introduction to biblical theology. It's what Ken calls a "Thematic Bible"--It's a retelling of the Bible in such a way as to emphasize central themes. You cannot read this Bible without catching these two messages:
1. God is the ruler over all, and
2. Jesus is the Forever King.
The Big Picture Story Bible highlights God in every narrative. Instead of looking at the people of the Bible, their characteristics, virtues and vices, it looks at God. It answers questions such as, "What is God doing in this story?" "Why?" and "What is God's plan?" It tells the story of how God has acted through history.
Throughout its pages, this beautifully illustrated book traces God's hand through creation, the fall of man, God's promise of a coming King who will crush sin and death, and the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises in Jesus Christ.
My favorite part of this book is pages 400-411. Jesus has been raised from the dead and is teaching the disciples how all of Scripture points to him. It says, "In [God's holy book] were many word pictures that proved he must die to pay the penalty for sin." The illustrations on these pages are mini drawings from previous stories...A ram being sacrificed on an altar in place of Isaac...the Israelites painting blood over their doors at the first Passover in Egypt...the articles of the temple...the temple destroyed and rebuilt. All these are word pictures that point to Jesus!
The book is engaging for preschool children (Calvin said last night, "Let's read the whole thing tonight!"), and I would guess children through elementary school would enjoy it as well.
By the way, if this sounds familiar to readers of Graeme Goldsworthy (one of Ken's favorite theologians), it should. The acknowledgments at the front of the book say, "We are indebted to Graeme Goldsworthy, who first helped us grasp the Bible along the lines of 'God's people in God's place under God's rule.'"
What a great way to introduce children to the Kingdom of God, to his plan and his rule!
Another theologically rich children's Bible is The Jesus Storybook Bible. See our blog entry here.