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Choosing the Right Storybook Bible: A Guide for Families to Nurture Faith in Young Children

How do you pick the right storybook Bible for your children? What storybook Bible is ideal for family devotions? Here are some considerations for parents and grandparents when selecting a first Bible for younger children. 

What was your favourite Bible story when you were younger? Was it David beating the giant, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Moses parting the Red Sea, Peter walking on water, Esther saving her people or another story?

When we read Bible stories as children, we often imagine the characters as heroes. We also see the Bible as a collection of individual stories about heroes. As we mature, we understand that all Bible stories are connected and part of one big Story that demonstrates how God is at work. Furthermore, we realize these “heroes” are flawed people who only succeed when serving God.

Sharing Bible stories with our children is essential. Storybook Bibles are especially helpful because they offer engaging illustrations and easy-to-understand retellings. We recommend storybook Bibles for children younger than 6.

Don’t just choose a storybook Bible because you saw it on sale at Walmart or because the illustrations are cute. The stories we read with our children will influence how they understand God and the Bible – so be intentional.

 

Tiny Truths Illustrated Storybook Bible

Here are some things to consider when picking a storybook Bible for children.

 

Who is the hero?

 

When picking a Storybook Bible, avoid books that present each Bible character as a hero. God is the Bible’s hero, so look for God-centered storybook Bibles.

Pick a storybook Bible that focuses on how God is at work or who He is – rather than one that looks at the characters and celebrates their qualities/actions.

Storybook Bibles that emphasize moral lessons are not ideal—the goal should be to help children see who God is and how He works through people.

The Jesus Bible Storybook is highly recommended because it demonstrates how God is at work throughout each Bible story and regularly finds ways to point to Jesus (even in the Old Testament!). Children’s pastors and ministry leaders regularly recommend this Bible because it is Jesus-centered.

Pick a storybook Bible that focuses on how God is at work or who He is

Is it a big story or a collection of little stories?

 

This one might be hard to identify, but as you read through the storybook, you’ll quickly determine whether the author is trying to help readers see the Bible as one big story or if they’ve just assembled various stories that are fun to retell.

The Bible is one big story full of stories. It is a “Story of redemption, restoration and renewal through Jesus.” – Dr. Lawson Murray.

It can be challenging to help children see the Bible as one big Story if we’re not intentional. Here are a few ways you can help your children with this:

  • Context: Before you read the story, help your children understand whether this story happened before or after Jesus came to earth. Help them place it in the context of other stories (A Bible timeline can help! We like how the Bible App for Kids places the stories on a visual timeline so they can see what happens before and after).
  • Make Connections: Help children see connections between Bible stories. For example, you can read about David and tell your children that David was Jesus’ great great great (times a lot) grandfather.
  • Point to God: Ask children to reflect on how God is involved in the story. Together, reflect on why this might be happening and what God might be up to. Help them see that God is present and active from the beginning to the end of the Bible!

For younger children: The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible is written with the view that the Bible is one big Story. It shows how each Bible story (33 from the Old and New Testament) fits together to tell one unique Story about God and His incredible love for us. We appreciate how it also helps children see they are a part of God’s big Story! For younger children:

For older children: Family Quest is a pack of cards that helps families read the Bible together. It’s designed to help your family see the Bible as one big story and journey through the whole Bible. It has five themes, from creation to new creation, to help your entire family better understand the story narrative. Big Bible Challenge is a Bible guide for children that allows them to read through 100 Bible stories (straight from the Bible). It’s excellent for helping children understand the Bible as one big story and giving children an understanding of the whole Bible.

Does it stay faithful to the Bible?

 

Storybooks are ideal for children because they are written at their age level. The story should stay true to the original text, so select storybook Bibles that do not add much detail to the original text.

It may use fun literary devices to help tell the story, like repeating key phrases, highlighting main themes, or using rhyme, rhythm, or humour. However, it should still be a genuine retelling of the Bible story.

Great Bible storybooks often have the Scripture reference under each story to help you compare it if needed. The Scripture reference is also helpful for your family if you’re doing devotions – the parents or older children should read the Scripture version aloud.

Suitable illustrations

 

Illustrations are a big part of how younger children engage with a story.

Look for images illuminating key Bible themes that spark your children’s imagination and help them dig deeper into the story.

Younger children will likely spend time flipping through a storybook Bible themselves, so the illustrations ideally will help them understand the story.

Fun tip: Encourage your littles to “read” the story to you by flipping through the pages. Help them fill in the blanks as necessary – it will be memorable for them.

Little Bible Storybooks are ideal for children to flip through. Each page has illustrations that will help children understand most of the story. We also appreciate the visual diversity found in The Tiny Truth’s Illustrated Bible. 

Bible illustrations usually aim to show the characters in the style of clothing and homes they wore in Bible times. Point this out to your children and use it as an opportunity to help them realize that the stories in the Bible (except for the parables) are true stories that happened to men, women and children who lived long ago! It’s helpful for children to see the Bible not just as stories but as God at work in the lives of real people – who just happened to live a long time ago and in a different part of the world.

 

Jesus Storybook Bible

Tip for reading a storybook Bible

One final tip. Don’t rely on storybooks to teach everything. Start Bible engagement early – help your children connect with the story by asking them open-ended questions.

– How did this story make you feel?
– What did you learn about God in this story? Did God care when Daniel went into the lion’s den?
– How do you think Peter felt when he walked on water?
– Have you ever had a similar experience?

 

Visit our bookstore for a great selection of Bibles, Bible reading guides and family resources to help you share your faith with your children.

 

Related Posts: How Do I Pick a Bible For My Child? What is the best Bible translation?

 

 

© Scripture Union Canada, 2021

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