April 28th, 2009
Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Grand Rapids: Zonderkidz, a trademark of Zondervan, 2007. 351 pp. $17.99. Purchase at Westminster.
Sally Lloyd-Jones is known for her children’s books. With The Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB), she has elevated her status to an entirely new level. Her ability to engage the imagination of children is on of her greatest writing attributes. From the first story to the final story, Sally offers a Christocentric children’s Bible that is much needed in the home today.
Unlike most other children’s Bibles JSB does not spend the majority of the time in the Old Testament. With twenty-one stories from the Old Testament and twenty-three from the New, Lloyd-Jones gives an even approach to both testaments—a quality rarely found in others. Most of the children’s Bibles I am familiar with tell of Creation, of Abraham, of David and of Daniel as well as many of the other beloved OT stories like Jericho and Jonah. Many of these then tell that Jesus was born and lived and resurrected while most leave out His death.
At the end of every story, as the subtitle claims, Lloyd-Jones explains how it is a foreshadow of Who is to come. She has no problem writing about death and the blood that is required of God for the atonement of sins which most children’s Bibles do not touch. In so doing, she builds the biblical theology of sacrificial atonement to the crescendo of the cross. After the crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ, she shows how the New Testament builds upon the Old as well as how we as believers today eagerly await the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior.
With all that is excellent about this book, there are a couple of subtle issues that drive me insane as a Christian, as a father, and as a children’s minister. None of these subtleties scream out heresy, but they do tend to contradict other parts of the story.
For example, when Samuel anoints David as king, she puts the following words into the mouth of God: “’Saul can’t help me with my plan,’ God said.” (p. 116). Just two pages before, she writes, “But God’s plan was still working.” (p. 114). The quote on page 116 seems to contradict what she writes on page 114.
Even though there is a touch of inconsistency in this children’s story book, it is still one of the best children’s Bibles I have ever found and used. JSB book is so solid and Christocentric that it only makes sense that it would be the inspiration for a forthcoming children’s church curriculum. Even with the ever so subtle changes, this book is one worth using for your younger children during family worship which I do every night. If you are in the children’s ministry, this book would certainly be worth adding to your library or be used as a give-away Bible for the special occasions in your church.