Tag: children’s bible

ESV Seek and Find Bible

I have reviewed a few different story Bibles here, and I have written about why it’s important to read directly from Scripture with our kids. But our family is now moving into the season where our daughters are ready to begin laying bricks on the foundation prepared by story bibles with readings from Scripture itself, and in preparation for that, I rummaged around in Amazon’s recommended titles for full-length children’s Bibles.

I wanted one that offers the full ESV text with just the right amount of maps and things. The illustrations didn’t have to be amazing, but they couldn’t be cheesy. The theology in the extra-Biblical portions had to be sound (obviously).

ESV Seek and Find Bible (Ruth) | Little Book, Big Story

There aren’t many Bibles out there that meet those qualifications, actually, so I’m thankful that we found one that fits the bill as precisely as the ESV Seek and Find Bible does. The extra material is presented in such a way that it sets kids up for very basic Bible study skills by quietly teaching them how to cross-reference and compare texts, identify key verses, and ask questions about the text that will help them understand it more completely.

ESV Seek and Find Bible | Little Book, Big Story

This Bible also contains paraphrased versions of the most familiar Bible stories. While the language in these is a little basic, they provide a great overview of the stories for kids who might find them helpful to read alongside the longer text (which is referenced at the end of the story). Best of all, they point each story forward (or backward) to Christ.

This approach roots each story in the gospel: in that light, Samson is not merely an action hero whose life culminates in an act of brutal revenge, but is a broken man made champion by God, who brought us the perfect champion in Christ. Isaac is the son promised to Abraham and Sarah, but he is also the forefather of the Son promised to the world.

These connections prepare our children to read Scripture with the big picture in mind, looking for evidence of God’s work in the stories where he seems most absent and rejoicing in his faithfulness through chapter after chapter of his word. They join the stories of Scripture beautifully, like (to quote Marty Machowski), beads on the silk thread of the gospel.

ESV Seek and Find Bible | Little Book, Big Story


ESV Seek and Find Bible
Crossway (2010)

The Big Picture Story Bible | David Helm

After six consecutive nights spent awake and in the company of a congested baby, you start to forget important things like why you normally leave your glasses on the bookshelf near the door and not on the floor for the baby to find, or that you were going to mention to your husband the fact that a bolt is missing from the rear wheel of the car, or, incredibly, how to pronounce your own first name (please tell me that has happened to you, too).

Or you panic for a moment, while on a walk with the children, because you don’t see the baby—where is she?—before realizing that she is in the stroller that you are pushing right in front of you as you walk, kicking her feet happily as her sisters drop fallen leaves in her lap.

The Big Picture Story Bible | Little Book, Big Story

You also forget things like why you wanted to write a blog post about David Helm’s The Big Picture Story Bible. The post is there, at the top of your list of drafts, but you find yourself sitting on the couch at 5:57 am, drinking a rapidly cooling cup of Earl Grey tea and thinking about that missing bolt.

The Big Picture Story Bible | Little Book, Big Story

However, there is a light pinging way back in the back of my mind, reminding me that the ladies at Aslan’s Library wrote a beautiful review of not only The Big Picture Story Bible, but also of the accompanying audio CDs. Not only that, but they linked to this excellent presentation by David Helm on how to teach your children the whole story of the Bible (I watched that and it was so good, great for watching while folding laundry, knitting, or staring off into space). So today, I will refer you to Aslan’s Library and go back to nursing my now lukewarm tea and savoring the final chapters of Lila, by Marilynne Robinson.

Notice the heavily worn binding of our book—evidence, surely of a book worth reading again and again and again:

The Big Picture Story Bible | Little Book, Big Story


The Big Picture Story Bible
David R. Helm, Gail Schoonmaker (2004)

Tomie de Paola’s Book of Bible Stories

There is a spectrum of Bibles available for kids: at one end sits the actual Bible; at the other, the lovely picture books that give a faithful retelling of a single Bible story, many of which have appeared on this blog. In the middle sit the quality story Bibles like The Jesus Story Book Bible or The Gospel Story Bible. (I have banished from the spectrum books that are vacuous and cute, and reduce stories like “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” to a moral tale told in rhymed couplets from the spectrum. I’m a snobby book blogger. I can do that sort of thing.)

Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories sits just inside the spectrum, spine to spine with the actual Bible. It doesn’t point each story back to Jesus, but trusts that its readers have grown past the need for that and tells the stories in slightly adapted passages from the NIV translation, framed by dePaola’s gorgeous, full-page illustrations.

Tomie dePaola's Book of Bible Stories | Little Book, Big Story

If your child is ready to move past story Bibles and into the realm of Scripture itself, Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories serves as a great bridge: though we prefer the ESV for our family readings, the NIV makes a nice introduction to the language of the Bible for kids that find the ESV too ponderous at first. It is also a great reference for tackling specific stories as they come up in conversation. (Not only that, but it is somewhat of a classic, so it’s easy to find secondhand.)

Tomie dePaola's Book of Bible Stories | Little Book, Big Story


Tomie de Paola’s Book of Bible Stories
Tomie de Paola