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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « A day in the life of George Whitefield | Main | In a former generation it was said... »

    Book Review: The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

    Book Review: The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones by Nathan Pitchford at Monergism.com.

    Synopsis: “Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules....Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes...”, begins Sally Lloyd Jones, in The Jesus Storybook Bible; “but the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing,” she continues: “It's about God and what he has done”. This refreshing God-centeredness continues throughout the book. To Sally Lloyd-Jones, the bible is not primarily a book full of stories which contain moral lessons or instructions to follow (although it does contain those as well); it is a book about a Hero who leaves everything and does something unthinkable, to rescue those whom he loves. And while the Bible does in fact have many stories to tell, they can never be understood until this Hero is seen. Because, when you really have the ears to hear, “every Story in the Bible whispers his name”.

    In John 5:39, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their blindness and hardness of heart because, although they knew the scriptures inside and out, they did not understand that they all spoke of him, and so they did not use the bible to come to him for life. If this misuse of the scriptures is so worthy of rebuke, then we would do well to examine our own lives: Do we always use the scriptures to come to Christ? Do we teach our children to do the same? And, more to the point, Do the books and story bibles we buy for our children always teach and encourage them to turn to Christ? Sadly, the vast majority of Sunday School curricula, children's bibles, and so on, use the stories of the Old Testament to teach moralism, and rarely, if ever, teach the truths about Jesus which those stories were designed to convey. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a very refreshing exception to this general tendency.

    Sally Lloyd-Jones does tell all the stories of the scriptures that would typically be found in a children's bible. The story-telling is attention-grabbing, often slightly-humorous, and always well-designed to make key theological points in memorable and understandable ways. The illustration, done by Jago, is sure to capture the attention of children, and accurately reinforces the story's message. But these features are not what sets this story bible apart.

    What makes this bible unique is the ending of every Old Testament story: after her re-telling of each of the well-known stories of the bible, Lloyd-Jones then jumps ahead to a later time, when the truths and promises and deliverances just seen would be accomplished in a much greater and more eternal fashion. These stories do not just teach great truths about God, they also teach about the essential inadequacy of every good and gracious thing that he did before his last and greatest act of grace. The ark-rescue was good – but it was not enough. The law was good – but people could not obey it. The promised land was good – but Israel would eventually be driven out. When would all the good things that were foreshadowed and promised be given forever? When would the perfect Hero finally come, and accomplish his perfect rescue?

    And so, when the New Testament finally brings its message of the greatest Hero and the greatest story ever told, the Old Testament has already done its work of preparing for him, and directing hearts to seek him, long for him, and come to him for life. In short, the scriptures, which ought to lead us all to Christ alone for life, are made to do just that. They all testify of him, and they all teach us our desperate need of what he alone has to offer. That is what The Jesus Storybook Bible consistently tries to get across. And as we have seen, that is just what Jesus would say the bible is for.

    Available at a discount at Monergism Books

    Posted by John on February 4, 2008 11:41 AM

    Comments

    Thanks for mentioning my illustrations, glad you liked them.

    Jago

    We bought this book for our nearly 3 year old son for Christmas...it is fantastic! Children love the "stories" of the Old Testament, and to tie in the message of Christ so easily with the tremendous tales of Jonah or David and Goliath is wonderful. In addition, the physical book itself is beautiful and very well made, the pictures are fantastic. Easily the best children's Bible I've ever seen!

    I have the Storybook Bible for my 3 and 5 year old daughters. My only concern is how the author takes liberty to state what the Old Testament people were thinking or feeling or conversations they had that are not supported by the text. I realize this is by no means a literal translation. However, superimposing what we think people were feeling or thinking onto the text is always a slippery slope.

    Nathan, nice review. We use the book regularly. . . thought it would be a good book to give to new members (both for the parents and their children)!

    Is this available in other languages? Thanks.

    My Christian women's book club is presently reviewing the Storybook Bible. I have just begun reading it today, and while I do love the way the author connects the Old Testament stories to God's plan of salvation through Christ, I also have some concerns about some omissions and the author's interpretation of what the Bible actually says. For example, the creation story is told in the order it's told in the Bible, yet there is no mention of the six days with God resting on the seventh. I wonder why this was left out. In the story of Adam and Eve, the author states that the terrible lie that came into the world is "God doesn't love me". I think this misses the whole point that Adam and Eve were tricked into believing that God should not rule over their lives and instead chose to rebel against His authority. The rebellion of mankind is not even mentioned here as the reason sin entered the world. In the story of the flood, it is stated that God promised, "I won't ever destroy the world again." The Bible states God promised to never destroy the earth with a flood--not that He will never destroy the earth again (Gen. 9:11). It is stated in the book that Joseph was a dream expert, and that Pharoah was so pleased by Joseph's skill, with no mention that Joseph, and later Pharoah, gave credit to God for giving Joseph the ability to interpret his dream (Gen. 41). While I think children's Bibles need to be simplified and all the details of the Bible text cannot be included, I would expect that every statement and summary would be an accurate depiction of what the Bible actually says.

    Hi Gayle,

    I think you do have a legitimate point about the inadequacy of framing Eve's sin exclusively in terms of believing the lie "God doesn't love me". As with everything, read with discernment, and be willing to discuss potential errors with your children. However, I think that the overarching tenor of the book, in always tying each bible story to what it foreshadows and teaches of Christ, is very helpful and refreshing. The Jesus Storybook Bible may not be perfect, but I think you might find much in it that is valuable nonetheless.

    Blessings,
    Nathan

    Hey there, you’ve blogged about The Jesus Storybook Bible in the past and we want to give you the exciting opportunity to help us celebrate the release of the Deluxe Edition this October! All throughout September we’ll be sending updates about ways you can win copies of the Deluxe Edition (which features the entire Jesus Storybook Bible read by award-winning British actor, David Suchet) and free resources you can share with others! To register for these updates and exclusive information, visit http://fs18.formsite.com/zondervan/form475219780/ and sign up!
    Sincerely,
    Zonderkidz Marketing

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