Tag: bible (page 1 of 7)

A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible

Just as I don’t know what I think until I write it down or say it out loud, I often don’t truly grasp an idea until I see it spread out in front of me. And so I love resources, like Tim Challies’s A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible, that deepen our family’s understanding of Scripture by allowing us to explore the themes and structure of Scripture in a visual way.

This book is meant as an introduction to the big picture of the Bible—how all 66 books fit together, for example, or how the Old Testament relates with the new, and so much more. The book isn’t all graphics, but it does contain a lot of graphics, and each one explores some aspect of Scripture in a way that helps readers envision key elements of our faith. Some, like the intricate image interweaving Old Testament prophecies with the stories of Jesus fulfilling each one, are so beautiful they elicit a sense of awe. Others are clean and simple, and illustrate the truths of the faith with the foam skimmed off so we can see into its depths more clearly.

Though this book isn’t specifically intended for families, my teen daughters read and enjoyed it, and I could see it serving as a great devotional resource for families with older children (or homeschooling families! This would be a great spine for a Bible curriculum). Or read A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible for yourself and allow it to deepen your own understanding of the Bible’s beauty, complexity, and simplicity.

A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible: Seeing and Knowing God’s Word
Tim Challies; Josh Byers (2019)

All About Bible Animals

Our nine-year-old is all about animals. I joke that she is our Gerald Durrell, not just because she loves the fuzzy, purring, cuddling animals, but the many-legged and wriggling ones, too. (She does make a pronounced and emphatic exception for bees. And honestly, bees, if you’d stop stinging her, I feel confident that she’d love you, too!) She’s the one who materializes next to me with a pet snail named Cucumber; the one to name the spider nesting in the end of our garden bed Rosie; the one busily rescuing earthworms from The Evil Garden Fork of Doom.

She is the reason I picked up a copy of this book.

All About Bible Animals, by Simona Piscioneri | Little Book, Big Story

All About Bible Animals is part nature reference book, part Bible story book. In it, author Simona Piscioneri introduces readers to the animals mentioned in Scripture, investigating both the animals themselves and the stories that feature them. This might seem like a sort of unnecessary thing to do—why focus on the animals in these passages? But I love it: Scripture is full of incredibly rich images, with meanings layered artfully over some of the smallest details. So I love the idea of exploring some of these subtle connections in Scripture with kids.

For example, in the page about bees, Piscioneri answers that question we all secretly ask: What does it mean for a land to be “flowing with milk and honey”? And why would that be a good thing? Or on the page about deer: What’s the deal with that thirsty deer in the psalms? By learning more about the animals, she gives readers a chance to sit with and examine some of the more interesting images in Scripture.

All About Bible Animals, by Simona Piscioneri | Little Book, Big Story

But she doesn’t stop there: this book is full of information not just about deer in general, but about the specific kinds of deer David might have seen back in his psalm-writing days. Or about the sheep Jesus might have seen on the hillsides of Israel. Or about locusts . . . and who else besides John the Baptist might still consider them a suitable lunch.

All About Bible Animals is the sort of book that brings the Bible to life for readers, and from an unexpected angle. And I’m always grateful for books that do that.

All About Bible Animals: Over 100 Amazing Facts About the Animals of the Bible
Simona Piscioneri (2023)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review it or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It

“Why?” is a question I hear a lot these days. Sometimes, yes, my girls use it as a stalling tactic. But often my daughters genuinely want to know: why did the caterpillar, lovingly housed in an old sour-cream container and doted on oh-so-much, have to die? Why is the sermon so long? Why did that best friend have to move? Why are there swimming lessons?

I answer a lot of these questions on the fly, with my fingers crossed. In my best moments and for the biggest questions, I send out a desperate plea for wisdom (Why, God, are we having this conversation right now? Oh help!). Or I reach for a book, of which we have many, and for precisely this reason. As a classic overexplainer, I am so grateful for picture books like Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It, that answer some of these big questions simply and cleanly (and, in this case, rhymingly).

Read it, See it, Say it, Sing it, by Hunter Beless | Little Book, Big Story

Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It looks at the question “Why do we read the Bible?” and helps readers understand that the Bible is not just any book: it is one we take to heart and are transformed by. Hunter Beless’s sweet text invites readers to love God’s word and worship him as we hear it read, read it for ourselves, memorize or discuss it with others, and sing his word with others. Better still, Beless weaves passages of Scripture as well as short references into the book, so we’re encouraged to look to God’s word even as we close her book.

I may not have the answers to all the “Why” questions I’m asked, but I’m grateful for such a solid (and sweetly illustrated) answer to this one.

Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible
Hunter Beless; Hsulynn Pang (2022)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review it or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

ESV Kid’s Bible

We stand on the brink of a new Parenting Era—the one strangers were always warning me about in the grocery store, back when strangers made small talk while shopping:


But I’m not scared. These girls are thoughtful, conversational, and occasionally profound. Emotional, sometimes, yes. Every now and then: very loud. But several times this summer I’ve found myself in conversation with one of our two older girls—talking about a book, or a show, or a global pandemic—and they’ll offer some insight I’d missed, something rich and nuanced that gives me great hope for the women they’ll become.

ESV Kid's Bible | Little Book, Big Story

We still have two daughters in the illustrated story Bible stage, and that’s relief—I kind of don’t ever want to stop reading story bibles. I suppose I’ll just have to read story bibles alone when they all outgrow them. But now we have two that are reading the real thing, so what I want to share today is the Bible I found for them after lots of wonderfully nerdy research.

I have, in the past, reviewed a few full-text Bibles for kids in the 5-8 range, with illustrations and additional material intended to appeal to younger readers. The ESV Kid’s Bible has less of that and looks a little more grownup—but it still has some content helpful for kids still getting their bearings in Scripture.

ESV Kid's Bible | Little Book, Big Story

A few maps, a couple of timelines, a reading plan, a dictionary—the extra materials in here aren’t cute, and they aren’t trying too hard to sell Scripture. This Bible’s design is clearly meant to help kids learn to engage with Scripture while letting Scripture do the talking. Also, it isn’t going to embarrass anyone who brings it to youth group by looking “too little-kid,” so I guess that’s a win.

ESV Kid's Bible | Little Book, Big Story

Of course, the content itself is nothing new—it is, in fact, very old. And yet it is such a firm foundation for kids at this age to stand on when so many other things in their lives (even excluding the pandemic) is changing. Scripture is the truest of true words; it brings the best of news. The ESV Kid’s Bible may be thoughtfully packaged, but the words on the pages themselves matter more than the packaging, and the One the words point to matters most of all.

May this Bible be just another opportunity for our growing readers to know him more deeply.

ESV Kid’s Bible
Crossway (2019)

The Promises of God Storybook Bible

From our house sometimes we can smell the ocean. We can’t see it—it’s a few blocks, a bluff, some train tracks, and a smattering of industrial buildings away—but when the wind hits the water just right, that salty, seaweedy smell whisks up the bluff to us. Whoever smells it first turns into the wind, smiling. The rest of us know what that means.

Those moments lift the roof off our little world and remind us that right over there, behind those houses, is an ocean. While the girls ride shrieking down the street on their bikes, and I wrestle with a stubborn weed and wish I had a sunhat and maybe a hacksaw, the ocean ebbs and flows out there, just beyond the bluff. I may not like swimming in it, but I have gone out of my way several times during quarantine to go park somewhere and just watch the water. I like to be reminded that it’s there.

The Promises of God Storybook Bible, by Jennifer Lyell | Little Book, Big Story

So it is with a good story bible: sometimes a good one zooms out to just the right distance, allowing us to enjoy a single Bible story while still whisking in that breath of salty, sea air and reminding us that God always works at something bigger even in the smallest stories.

The Promises of God Storybook Bible is just such a story bible. Jennifer Lyell has taught preschool kids for decades and knows how to tell a Bible story winsomely. But she also links each one to the promises God made his people and traces, throughout the book, the big story of God’s plan for our redemption. She arranges God’s promises like plot points and shows how God answers those promises throughout Scripture (curious, though, that his covenant with David didn’t make the cut. I wonder why?).

The Promises of God Storybook Bible, by Jennifer Lyell | Little Book, Big Story

We gave this book to Josie, our youngest, but when we read it aloud to all four girls we found that the tone was perfect for our six- and four year olds, but the discussion questions seemed to fit everybody. I was so grateful for this book during those first months of quarantine, when we needed more than ever to be reminded that God is still keeping his promises, whatever it looks like from our vantage point, in this moment. He is still present, even when we can’t see him, and sometimes he sends us small reminders and we lean into the wind, smiling.

The Promises of God Storybook Bible
Jennifer Lyell; Thanos Tsilis (2019)