We and the children of our church need to know we’re loved first. Rules dont’ have the power to change your heart, but God’s love will. When our hearts are changed then we will fulfill the law of love to God and our neighbors. Our children come into this world in sin and spend all their time malfunctioning as image bearers. But when their humanity is changed by the love of God in Christ, then their lives function by faith in Christ walking in love to God and others.
We need to trust God to get his love into the hearts of our children. God demonstrates his love in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we need to use resources in sharing the good news of God with our children that will bring them before the love of God in Christ. I think one of the best resources to use with our children is the The Jesus Storybook Bible.
This book celebrates it’s 10th anniversary in print this March. It was written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. She said she was inspired to write the stories for The Storybook Bible by two important figures of our past, German reformer, Martin Luther and C.S. Lewis. When Luther began translating the Bible into his native German tongue he believed he should use language that mimicked a mother talking to her children. Lloyd-Jones inspired by this tale decided to narrate as a mother talking to her children. And to bring art into her storytelling she asked, “How would C.S. Lewis tell this story?” She said this sparked her imagination and caused her to work hard and dig deep at retelling the Bible’s stories artistically.
The Storybook Bible is not a Bible and should not substitute for one as we disciple our children. Every child should learn to feed themselves on God’s Word written in their own language. Yet this book is an essential tool to use in teaching the story of the Bible to our children. I presently use it in teaching my grandson. He knows where this book is on the shelf and will take it down and bring it to me to read. We typically only get through a page together, but I am always riveted by and exposed to God’s “never ending, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”, in it’s pages.
Our children are born into this world believing the lies of sin, ‘we don’t have to be saved’, or ‘I can save myself.’ Their lives will progress through stages and seasons under the cloud of this lie. Therefore, in the early seasons of childhood I agree with Donald Guthrie when he says, “we want them to understand the bigness of God, and the wonder of his love, and to start getting a taste of the idea that God loves me and I’m part of a huge story. I don’t think many kids get that.” The Jesus Storybook Bible delivers to this end. As parents and church leaders we need to take every opportunity to teach our children of the love of God in Christ, which we trust they will never be separated from.
The following is an excerpt from the Introduction that I hope will lead to you purchase the book, or to take the one you have off the shelf to take up and read with your children, grandchildren or the church’s children.
“Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean.
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
It takes the whole Bible to tell this story. And at the center of the story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
Pastor Jim Wilkerson