The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
by Sally Lloyd Jones
Published 2007 by Zondervan 

The Jesus Storybook Bible"Some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn't do....Other people think the bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy..." begins Sally Lloyd Jones, in The Jesus Storybook Bible; "but the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing.  It's about God and what he has done."  This God-centered focus continues throughout the book.  So much of what passes for Bible-based children's literature is merely rehashed, moralistic principles that could be just as easily found in Aesop's Fables.  This is excitedly not the case in Sally Lloyd Jones' book.  While it does contain moral lessons and principles, that is not the focus of the book.  The book focuses on a Hero who forsakes everything to come and rescue the people He loves.  Each of the stories in this book serves to point to the great Rescuer, Jesus.  As the subtitle of the book so aptly states it, "every story whispers his name."

Sally Lloyd Jones' book includes all of the standard stories from the Scriptures that would be typically included in a children's Bible.  Her writing style is captivating, humorous when appropriate, and always theologically sound.  She has a special ability to summarize the stories in a way that is easily accessible to young children without doing damage to the text of Scripture.  The illustrations, done by Jago, are colorful and are sure to catch the eyes of young readers.  But this is not what sets this children's book apart from the others.

What makes this work unique among its counterparts is the ending of every Old Testament story.  She ends each of the Old Testament stories by jumping ahead to a future time, when the truths, promises, and deliverances would be realized in a more complete and eternal way.  When she tells the story of Noah, her focus isn't on Noah's faith and God's judgment, but on the fact that Noah's ark-rescue was good-but it wasn't good enough.  Abraham's willing sacrifice of Isaac was noble-but it doesn't accomplish anything.  Joseph's rescuing of his hate-filled brothers was good-but it wasn't enough.  The Promised Land was wonderful-but it wouldn't last.  The law was good-but men couldn't keep it.  Every story points to Christ.  Every story whispers his name.

The Old Testament stories are so well recounted and taught that the stories of the New Testament flow naturally from them.  The New Testament is shown to be the story of the greatest Hero that ever lived.  Jesus is shown to be the kind and compassionate Servant-King that the Old Testament Promised.  Sally Lloyd Jones focuses on the great need for rescue that everyone has, and clearly identifies Jesus as that Rescuer.  The final story of the book is John's receiving the book of Revelation on the Isle of Patmos.  This story ends with John not writing "The End" but writing "Come quickly, Jesus!" Which, perhaps, is really just another way of be continued."

I would highly recommend that you purchase this book and read it to your children.  It is such a gospel-centered, Christ-focused work that it will be of immense value as you teach your children the truths of Scripture.  I think it will also serve the purpose of teaching you, as a parent of a young child, how to teach your children that all of Scripture is about Jesus Christ.  It will stymie you from falling into the unfortunate mire of turning every biblical story into a moral lesson for the day.  It will show how all of Scripture points to Christ and his work for us.  It will teach us that "every story whispers his name."


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