What Should I Look For When Buying A Bible Storybook For My Children?
I probably get asked this question and ones like it more often than any other question.
When I first started developing Bibles for children it was in response to the frustration I experienced over the years when trying to find Bibles that I could use with my own children.
At first the publishers I went to with my ideas responded by telling me the market was already glutted with Bible Storybooks.
They were shocked to hear me tell them that unfortunately many of them are useless when it comes to teaching children the Bible.
Let me pass on to you what we should be looking for in a Bible for our kids and why.
I think the first thing we need to ask is what is God’s purpose for the Bible. In a nutshell, the Bible reveals God’s story and plan for humankind, it focuses on God’s salvation plan and brings us to Jesus and it teaches us how to live as Christians.
Should a Bible Storybook for children have the same purpose? Of course, however many are merely a collection of Bible stories that are not linked together to reveal God’s big picture story. They tell stories about Jesus but say nothing about what that means to us and they include very little of the New Testament books that teach us how God wants us to live.
It is probable that the first Bible Storybooks were published in response to the popularity of books that contained collections of stories and/or fables for children. So a clever someone put a bunch of the best stories ever told (the ones in the Bible) together and the cash register has been ringing ever since. Unfortunately we have come to refer to these as Bibles for children instead of what they are, a mere collection of stories from the Bible.
The idea of a Bible Storybook is great and very beneficial but it just needs to be more than just a collection of stories if you truly want your children to learn God’s Word.
So let’s get to it. Here is what to look for.
· Read the ending of several stories and the beginning of the ones that follow. Check to see that the stories are linked together into God’s big story from creation to the second coming.
· Look for the Gospel message. It is great if it has a prayer to pray but it should (like our Bibles do in Romans) explain what Jesus did means to us.
· Look at the table of contents and see where the stories stop. The ones that make an effort to present the Apostles teaching will have stories about the Apostles missionary journeys and the letters they wrote to churches.
· Next it is helpful if the Bible includes a prayer suggestion, a lesson and/or a question or conversation starter after each story that will help you turn story-time into your child’s devotional time.
· Also if you are satisfied with the above move on to check if it is appropriate for your child’s age and attention span. (Less text and more pictures are needed for our younger children and the opposite is needed as our children grow older.)
· Finally, if you are willing to put the least important thing last and you have found a couple of good choices, choose the one with the artwork and packaging that you think will appeal to your child.
I am happy to report that many others and myself have been working hard to write and create Bible Storybooks that are truly Bibles for children and there are some good choices out there.
Here are a few.
I would highly recommend that you get your children started listening to The Singing Bible. Children love it (ages 1 – 8 ) and it was designed to teach them God’s Big Story, the Gospel and how God wants us to live. It is a great plug and play supplement to your Bible Storybook.
THE SINGING BIBLE (Currently selling with a 5th CD of Your Child & the Bible)
For Toddlers (ages 1 – 3)
I should note that some of the above is not as important if you are looking for a Bible for your young toddler so I would recommend:
For Preschoolers (ages 3 – 5).
For ages 4 – 8.
BEDTIME BIBLE (Focus on The Family)
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)