Tag: Scripture

Love is Patient, Love is Kind | Naoko Stoop

And just like that, she turned one.

Josephine, who yesterday was swaddled like a fleece burrito and cuddled into the crook of my arm, who chuckled in her sleep and spent her days with me in the corner of our bedroom, where we’d tucked the glider and a stash of books and chocolate—she turned one.

Josephine | Little Book, Big Story

I used to think that at some point, my children’s birthdays would grow less shocking. But they haven’t. Every one catches me off guard: I look at the baby who is clearly a one-year-old now and I do the math and I know that a year has passed. She army crawls around the room, adores her sisters, and hasn’t spent a day napping in my arms in months, but I’m still bewildered. I make plans for her birthday and still I wonder: When did that happen?

(I anticipate a similar sense of befuddlement in May, when Lydia turns nine. Nine. The single digits! Where are they going!)

Love is Patient, Love is Kind, by Naoko Stoop (review) | Little Book, Big Story

I think, though, that that confusion is part of what I love about celebrating my daughters’ birthdays. For a moment, I am brought up sharp and reminded that time is passing, and what seems like an repeated loop of breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleep is a loop that rolls us steadily forward. This is a season to be savored because it will not last, and because we move through it closer to the day when Jesus returns.

Love is Patient, Love is Kind, by Naoko Stoop (review) | Little Book, Big Story

Another thing I love about their birthdays: buying them books. My quest for a book that suits them right now, at this particular birthday, but that will also grow with them over the course of the coming year, is one I delight in. I start months before their birthday, checking books out potential candidates from the library, reading Amazon reviews, weighing the pros and cons of this board book over that one, before I land on what seems like the perfect birthday book.

Love is Patient, Love is Kind, by Naoko Stoop (review) | Little Book, Big Story

For Josie, that perfect birthday book is Love is Patient, Love is Kind, a sweet rendering of that passage in 1 Corinthians 13—you know the one. We so often hear it quoted at weddings, but it’s a beautiful picture of life in the body of the church that translates readily to life in the heart of a family, as the youngest of four sisters. Naoko Stoop’s illustrations are charming, and the board book format makes it a just-right first birthday book for our littlest daughter.

Josephine | Little Book, Big Story

Because, really: One? When did that happen?


Love is Patient, Love is Kind
Naoko Stoop (2017)

My ABC Bible Verses From the Psalms | Susan and Richie Hunt

Lydia and Sarah curled up on the floor, listening or coloring as I read from My ABC Bible Verses From the Psalms. It was winter and we were well-pajamaed; outside, it was probably raining. I had just finished our reading for that day and moved to pick up our book of fairy tales when Sarah spoke over the squeak of her markers and said, “I like this book because it helps me see how to behave.”

My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms, by Susan and Richie Hunt | Little Book, Big Story

I was struck by her insight: after all, that’s exactly what I like about this book, too. Susan and Richie Hunt collected twenty-six verses from the Psalms, fit them all to a letter of the alphabet, and wrote stories about a particular family to fit each one. There are stories about disobedience and service; stories about conversion and loving those that are hard to love. They all illustrate different qualities that we’d love to see our children take to heart, but they press past that, pointing toward our dependence upon God in a way that keeps this book from reading like a blue print for good works without faith.

My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms, by Susan and Richie Hunt | Little Book, Big Story

For a five-year-old who is told daily to put others before herself but struggles to understand how that ought to look, it must be helpful to see a family live out that sort of love in the pages of a book. I know it’s helpful for me as a mother to watch the way the parents in the book answer their children’s questions, honor their own parents, and weave Scripture into their interactions with their children. Though the family may seem a little too perfect in places, the book is rich in grace and I’m thankful for that.

It’s easy to forget, as a grown-up, how hard it can be for a child to see how to behave, and so I was grateful for Sarah’s reminder that we do need to see it, parents and children alike: we can’t just be told, but we need to see those around us living out their faith. And while a good book is no replacement for a real, live example, it can certainly be a help.

My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms, by Susan and Richie Hunt | Little Book, Big Story


My ABC Bible Verses From the Psalms
Susan Hunt, Richie Hunt (2013)

The Candle of Prophecy | Deeply Rooted

Advent usually sneaks up on me, stealthy in its own way, but this year I got the jump on it. I have a writing deadline to thank for that.

Some writers work well under pressure, but I don’t. I am a slow and steady sort of girl, a write and rewrite and rewrite and tinker and put it down for a few weeks and then come back and rewrite some more sort of girl. I am the sort of girl who can spend a year (yes, a year) on one article. I know that now.

But Lindsay Cournia and I are taking turns looking into each of the candles on the Advent wreath as part of a series for the Deeply Rooted blog, and researching a post on the Old Testament prophecies of Christ, it turns out, is a lovely way to prepare for the season. The first post, “The Candle of Prophecy,” went up this week, with more to follow throughout Advent.

Jesus’ birth in the manger was not a sudden impulse of God’s. He did not decide, on a whim, to send his Son to earth, but laid the ground for his coming painstakingly, over the course of thousands of years. Like a skilled author, God foreshadowed Christ’s coming through promises, covenants, and prophets, so those with eyes to see might recognize, in that one small child, the beginning of the end of God’s enemy—the first stitches in the mending of our broken world. As we light the first candle of Advent, we look back at the long history between the Lord and his people, the Israelites, as he prepared them for the coming of his Son. . . .

I hope you enjoy the series and that the posts feed you half as much good, Old Testament food as they did me as I prepared to write them.


Also, the new issue of Deeply Rooted is on sale now! I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Plumb for this issue, as well as writing a giant article on parenting philosophies and Scripture (that’s the one that took a year to nail down). I don’t have my copy yet or I’d share photos, but I know that Jen Wilkin has a beautiful piece in it (but then, her writing just is beautiful), and that the issue is filled, as ever, with articles rich in theology and practical help. Also, copies of Deeply Rooted make great Christmas gifts . . .


The Candle of Prophecy
Théa Rosenburg, Deeply Rooted blog (Nov. 2015)

Deeply Rooted Magazine
Issue 8: Love (Winter 2015)

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 Creation Story | Norman Messenger

I never tire of hearing the creation story. How exuberant life must have been then, as the world burst into being, perfect and new—a place where moments might be savored without the bitter knowledge that they would not last, and work was done with delight. That world slips away from us after the third chapter of the Bible, but those first three chapters hint at what might have been.

The Creation Story | Little Book, Big Story

Picture books are a lovely medium for capturing that exuberance and joy. I have come across many that capture it well—in fact, I have drafted posts of two others for you, but each one has been replaced by a version I liked better than the last, until I finally came across Norman Messenger’s The Creation Story and realized that it just couldn’t get much better than this. Norman Messenger captures the the newborn world in illustrations that manage to look as thought they’ve burst onto the page, despite the fact that they must have taken a long time and a lot of patience to complete (colored pencil is not a medium for the impatient).

The illustrations alone make this a book that the littlest readers can enjoy—it is fun to examine the detailed drawings of plants and animals and admire the depth and creativity of God’s work with them, as Messenger skillfully piles the images on top of one another, creating a picture that ought to feel crowded but instead feels exciting and new every time we read the book.

The Creation Story | Little Book, Big Story

Messenger tells the story itself through passages pulled from the New Living Translation which, though not usually my translation of choice, works well here because the story moves along swiftly without the hindrance of the dated (though lovely) language of the King James used in many of the other versions I’ve read, gaining momentum before dropping smoothly into that seventh day of rest. How refreshing it is to end on that day of rest and to forget for a moment what came after it!

The Creation Story | Little Book, Big Story


The Creation Story
Norman Messenger (2009)

Reading the Bible as a Family

I have already reviewed a number of story Bibles and Bible stories here, but before we move much further down this road together, I’d like to pause and say something important: story Bibles are great. But the Bible itself is better.

Scripture is true and it is beautifully written (remember the image of Noah riding the waves over the tops of the submerged mountains?), but as adults we can grow a thick skin toward the language of the Bible. We begin to skim the stories that we know by heart, and as we do we lose sight of the shocking beauty of the story being told.

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

But our children are hearing these things for the first time, and at some point they need to turn those onion-skin pages themselves and know that the words they’re hearing weren’t composed in a home office but in the heart of God himself. They were put to paper in prisons and deserts, written in grief and joy. Men died so we could hold them, leather bound and translated, in our own hands. This is a book unlike any other, and children need to know that from a young age.

Story Bibles are a wonderful aid when introducing kids to the whole of the Bible—especially when children are young and wiggly and love illustrations—but they are tools, meant to lead them on to the Word itself. If we stop at the paraphrase and consider our job done, we’ve merely fed them milk and failed to wean them onto solid food.

But that raises the question: how do you transition from reading story Bibles to reading the Bible itself with your children?

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

This is not a rhetorical question.

My children are young enough that we’re just beginning to move in this direction, so I am no authority. But I am a compulsive reader and an over-thinker of everything, so I have, of course, compiled a list of theoretical options. For those of you with experience reading the Bible with your children, please comment below and share any words of wisdom with the rest of us!

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

Sharing Scripture with Your Kids

– Gladys Hunt, in Honey For a Child’s Heart, shares what is probably my favorite approach: read a passage together after a meal. Then everyone, parents included, must ask a question about the passage and answer a question about the passage. Gladys Hunt writes:

This method requires that everyone think through what the passage is saying . . .We experience a great thing:  the joy of discovery. What is discovered for one’s self is always more meaningful than what is told to us by someone else.

– Marty Machowski’s excellent devotionals Long Story Short and Old Story New take families through the Old and New Testaments respectively, with chunks of reading straight from Scripture followed by solid questions. We’ve done Long Story Short off and on, and are continually surprised by what our girls pick up as we read.

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

– I know of one family that has read through the classic devotional Daily Light on the Daily Path for years. This is an old book, recently released in the ESV translation, that offers carefully curated readings pulled straight from Scripture—the verses aren’t in their immediate context, but are fitted together into a bigger context that follows a larger theme for the day. It’s hard to explain, really, but the way the verses work together is lovely.

– The one thing I do actively implement is surprisingly simple: I share what I’m reading with my girls. I love M’Cheyne’s reading plan (though I may not finish every reading every day), and when the girls see me reading my Bible they often ask me to read to them—and so we’ve read Psalms together here and there, or passages from James. I read aloud until they wander off, and then go on reading to myself. It’s simple, but they seem to enjoy being drawn into my time with Scripture.

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

So, those are my ideas. What about you? How do you read the Bible with your kids? If your kids are older, I’d especially love to hear any insights you might have from your vantage point.