Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Great Children's Bible

I have to admit that when my children first received this Bible as a gift from their grandparents, it found a place on the nightstand beside my bed for almost two weeks.  I read a story each night before going to sleep and couldn’t part with it until I had read all the way through.  The Jesus Storybook Bible, called the Gott hat dich lieb Bibel in German, is without question my favorite children’s Bible.

The English language version
The German version

The text, by Sally Lloyd-Jones is real literature.  It playfully and tenderly tells the story of God and his family.  This is also the first children’s Bible that I have seen that is Christocentric, meaning that it weaves the connection between the Old and New Testaments through parallels and references to the Messiah in the Old Testament.  After reading the introduction and first story, I thought, “She has to be connected to Timothy Keller in some way.”  Sure enough, in the acknowledgements, he is the first person she thanks.

The illustrations by Jago are also real works of art.  Unfortunately, a lot of children’s Bibles have comic book-like or uninteresting artwork.  Both my children and I have spent lots of time staring at the picture below of Jesus at the Last Supper.  This is how I’ve always pictured him:  with a kind, loving and slightly mischievous face!

Jago's illustration of Jesus at the Last Supper

My kids have also spontaneously sat down to draw pictures out of the book, as if to visually and kinesthetically absorb the information containted inside them. 

My daughter's Jago-inspired drawing of Jesus with a child.
The German version is equally stunning.  I gave a copy to the daughter of family friends for Christmas and they have also reported her fascination with it.

My only criticism of this Bible would be a lack of stories about key female figures such as Esther, Deborah or Dorcas.  (There is, however, an excellent story in which Leah is the prominent figure.)  As a children’s pastor, I find these stories important in order to avoid subtly communicating to little girls that God is not interested in them.  One can only hope that Sally is saving them for Volume 2!

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