Last night I was talking with my wife about a children’s devotional book for Easter that I had picked up, and our conversation eventually moved from that particular book to the topic of children’s Bibles in general. In the midst of our discussion, I was reminded again of how much I love The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
The Bible story books that I grew up on–as well as many of the ones that my wife and I had for our children when they were young–were usually just a collection of the “typical kids’ stories” in the Bible (i.e. Noah & the ark, David & Goliath, Jonah & the whale, Jesus loves the children, etc.). And many of those books were like a Christianized version of Aesop’s fables: larger-than-life stories with a good moral at the end. From them I learned to be a good little boy so that God would love me and my parents would be happy with me.
But in those Bible story books there was no mention of a unifying Biblical theology–there was no Big Story of God’s redemptive plan that tied all the stories together. So I grew up seeing the Bible as just a collection of stories about various people, and the story of Jesus was just one of those stories. It wasn’t until much later in my life that God opened my eyes to see that Grand Story that all of Scripture is pointing toward…but wow, what a difference that perspective makes!!
So when I first discovered Sally Lloyd-Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible and read it to our youngest child, I was blown away by how deeply I was moved by her re-telling of The Story. On more than one occasion (and not just on the first time reading through it), I had to pause in my reading because I was getting choked up and teary-eyed at the beauty and the wonder of what God has done to rescue His people (my son probably wondered what my problem was!).
My kids are getting older and I don’t get to read Bible stories with them as regularly as before. But every once in awhile (when no one is looking!) I pull The Jesus Storybook Bible off the shelf and just read some of my favorite sections, and my heart is moved again by the simple truths of the Gospel and the wonder of God’s amazing grace toward sinners like me.