June 12th, 2009
Vos, Catherine. The Child’s Story Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1935, 6th ed. 2003. 384 pp. $27.50. Purchase at Westminster Books.
Catherine Vos was the wife of the great theologian and exegete, Dr. Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949) of Princeton Theological Seminary. The revised edition were finished by her daughter Marianne Catherine Vos Radius. Marianne shares in the preface that she can remember her mom searching bookstores for a storybook Bible that would show the excitement and warmth of the stories found in the Bible. What began as a search in the stores ended up as a life-long project for Catherine which was originally published in 3 volumes. Whenever the Bible is quoted directly, the King James Version is used.
Unlike most storybook Bibles for children, The Child’s Storybook Bible (TCSB) is breathtaking in its scope and clarity of the Holy Word of God. Most children’s Bibles touch upon the highest of peaks when looking at the Bible. You get creation, maybe the fall and then some beloved stories of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s Den and the birth of Jesus. Sometimes you get lucky and the storybook Bible will talk of the fall of man and the crucifixion of Christ.
Not so with TCSB. You start with Creation and end with Revelation and cover everything in between. Your child will learn about Sodom and Gomorrah and the Golden Calf, and the judges that ruled Israel early on. You will learn the prophets by name and the exile of the Israelites because of their disobedience to God.
The New Testament will take you through the gospels in great detail from the birth of Christ, to why He came, to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. You then move into the founding of the early church and the spread of Christianity through the proclamation of the Gospel. You become intimately acquainted with the Apostle Paul and enjoy seeing what the apostle John saw in a vision while exiled on Patmos.
As my family began reading this Bible for family devotions in January, my wife noted that the stories sounded as though a grandmother who had lived and long life of faith to Christ was sharing her joy in Christ with her grandchildren. My wife did not know who had wrote this book let alone the story behind it.
Whenever I read this Bible to my three sons–5, 3, and 1–I picture Ms. Catherine sitting in a rocking chair looking at her children and later her grandchildren hoping that this would be the day that the Lord would save their souls. After they were born-again, I can see Ms. Catherine, with a gleam in her eye, sharing the joys of her savior with her new brothers and sisters in Christ. I can also see Ms. Catherine spending countless hours on her knees praying for her children and grandchildren.
Like more recent noteworthy children’s story Bibles, The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones and The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm, TCSB points the children, as well as the parent reading these stories, to Christ at every opportunity. My three sons (and soon, I pray, my first daughter) sit willingly each night to listen and learn what happened next in God’s great plan of redemption.
This storybook Bible is an excellent resource for children 5 and older though it can be read, as my family is doing, to children younger than 5. With 110 stories from the Old Testament and 92 from the New, this Bible will take about a year to read through as a family if you read a little bit each evening. What is more, you and your children will be the better for it both spiritually and emotionally. There is nothing greater than coming together at the end of your busy day and taking time out to read about God and His grace and mercy to sinners before bed.
This children’s Bible makes a great gift for a child who is professing faith or for a father or mother seeking to teach their children more about God through His revealed Word.