Storybook Bibles


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Have any of you heard of The Jesus Storybook Bible?  Silly me, I'm sure you've heard of it.  It's the most popular storybook bible in blogland.

And for good reason. A few months after Wyatt was born I bought it for him, and Derek and I started reading it to him for Bible time at night, even though he was too little to understand it.

I loved it!  I love how the author relates each story back to Jesus, and so many of the stories made me want to cry.  There is a lot of biblical truth in this storybook, and as Wyatt got older he loved looking at the colorful illustrations too.


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Last year though, something started to bother me, and I wasn't quite sure what it was.  But after a few nights of stories, I figured it out.

The Jesus Storybook does a wonderful job of explaining God's love and Jesus sacrifice, which are so important for little ones to understand.  But I feel like they drop the ball a bit on one thing.

I couldn't find a single story that satisfactorily explained how to be saved.

It's important for children to realize that God loves us.  He loves us enough to die for us.  The book explains that He had to die for us because we have sinned.

But then it just kind of stops.  What do we do from there?  It doesn't really go over that we need to believe that Jesus is God, and that He died for our sins and was raised from the dead - and that's critical to being saved.

I think this bothers me because of the "love wins" philosophy that has started to creep into the church.  Yes, God is love.  His love is what drove Him to die for us in the first place.  

But you know what?  God is also holy.  He is also just.  Because of what Jesus did, God's justice was satisfied.  Because of Jesus, God looks at those of us who believe in Him and sees His Son's holiness.  The Bible is very clear that we must confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved.  

You can't be saved by default because "God is love".  Because God is more than that.  And the Bible is very clear that we need to believe in Jesus in order to be saved.  

You can't believe anything you want and still end up going to Heaven.  There is one Way, one Truth, one Life.  His name is Jesus. He is the only key.

I still like The Jesus Storybook Bible, and I will keep it because it's so beautiful, and I still like how each story points back to Jesus. But I also know that I want to be there to read it to Wyatt,  because I need to add my own explanation of how we need to believe in Jesus to be saved.  

It's important for him to understand that.  And I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed that I have to worry about adding an explanation, because I think something so critical as salvation should have been covered in detail, even in a children's Bible.

I went out and bought another Bible storybook that explains better what we need to do to be saved.  If Wyatt wants to read his Bible storybook by himself as he gets older, I want to make sure he has one that covers that.  Otherwise, what's the point?


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Note:  Not saying I don't like The Jesus Storybook Bible"at all, because I do, but I am disappointed that it wasn't more clear on that critical question of "What must we do to be saved?"  

The new Bible I bought for Wyatt is The Beginner's Bible - very straightforward and accurate, with cute pictures too, and I felt it explained things well for young minds.

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Also, I strongly recommend Arch books!  We love them!  They tell individual Bible stories in a poem format, with beautiful illustrations, and they cost about $2.50 each.  Wyatt really likes the "Jesus Blesses The Children" one.  I'm always catching him reading it after his nap.  Check Amazon or your local Christian bookstore.

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Heather @ Mrs Southern Bride said...

I grew up reading the Beginner's Bible. I loved it even as a child.

Jenni Lynn said...

I love the Jesus story book bible for the same reason you pointed out,everything points back to Jesus, but you make a good point about it not teaching about salvation. I think any children's bible is going to be missing some critical points bc it's just simply not the real thing, so we have several children's bibles that we have read through with our girls, they all have different little takes and its a fun change for the girls.

Stephanie said...

You make an interesting point, Callie. I bought that book a few years ago for my nieces but didn't read it myself thoroughly.

Do some of the stories talk about sin, and how Jesus' death on the cross made a way for us to be forgiven? I wonder if the author was partly trying to avoid the simplistic "just repeat this prayer and you will be saved" route. I remember hearing that in Sunday school a lot as a child and it makes me a little uncomfortable because I think it can push a child before he or she is really ready and has a full understanding. I do believe in the importance of sharing the gospel clearly with children though.

Sally Lloyd Jones has another book out for children called "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing", have you heard of it? I bought it and try to read a section to my six month old each morning for our "devotional time". It teaches different Christian truths in a way that is simple enough for children to understand but also very impacting for us adults! I've found it so encouraging and highly recommend it! :)

Callie said...

That is a point, Stephanie! Maybe that was the author's thought process. It does explain why Jesus had to die, and that He died because He loves us and wanted to save us, but it doesn't really explain anything beyond that - it mostly bothered me because there is that philosophy that because God is love, somehow Jesus's death will cover everyone in the end (which isn't biblical) - I'm not necessarily saying that was the author's philosophy, but that's why I wished she had emphasized that we need to follow Jesus! Yes, He died to save us, and He does love us, but I felt it needed to take it a step further and explain that we must believe in Him to be saved. Does that make sense? I still like the book, I just feel like it requires a little additional explanation! I'll have to check out that other book, it sounds good!

Callie said...

I agree, Jenni, only the real thing will really cover it all, which is why its probably good to have several children's bibles around! They'll work with each other on all the important points.

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for the info! I have a couple of toddler bible books but will definitely look into The Beginner's Bible!

Lauren said...

We bought the Beginner's Bible for Elyse and love all the stories and the colorful pictures...she even asks for her Bibee! However, I did receive another Bible that actually completely leaves out the story of the crucifixion, but goes straight into the resurrection...not sure what happened there!

Kate Craig said...

I love the Beginner's Bible too, for the same reasons - accurate and straight forward. I don't feel like it adds anything to the stories, and I the parent can do the explaining!

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