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: â€œNow, some people think the Bible is a book of rules....Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes...â€, begins Sally Lloyd Jones, in The Jesus Storybook Bible; â€œbut the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing,â€ she continues: â€œIt's about God and what he has doneâ€. 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, â€œevery Story in the Bible whispers his nameâ€.
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 â€“ but it was not enough. The law was good â€“ but people could not obey it. The promised land was good â€“ 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.