A Very Grown-up Children's Bible
I couldn't. I had to bowdlerize the Bible to make it accessible and acceptable to kids. At what age would they be ready to hear the story unexpurgated? More importantly, at what age would I be able to tell the story in its full Christological significance? The truth is, the Bible is an adult book. Of necessity, we must distort it to teach it to children.
But, every story whispers Jesus' name. Samson's story may be a uniquely hard case, and I notice Sally Lloyd-Jones doesn't tell it. But she manages to show again and again the presence of Christ in all the Old Testament Scriptures, and the presence of the Old Testament Scriptures in the life of Christ.
Sometimes she does this with startling insight: Her take on the story of Leah and Rachel is an ancient reading of the text that points straight to the gospel and the doctrine of election. Her telling of the woman's anointing of Jesus in Simon's home in Luke 7 connects her act of adoration with Samuel's anointing of David in 1 Samuel.
Lloyd-Jones tells us at the beginning of the book that the story of the Bible is a story that could have ended abruptly with the Fall, but didn't, because God loved his children too much to let that happen. She ends with John in exile on Patmos, writing down his vision, struggling to cram all that he saw into one book. So when he came to the end of his book, he didn't write "The End."
Because, of course, that's how stories finish. (And this one's not over yet)
So instead, he wrote: "Come quickly, Jesus!"
Which, perhaps, is really just another way of saying To be continued
What follows is a paraphrase of John 1:1113, and an invitation to say yes to Jesus and receive his wonderful gift.
Because, you see, the most wonderful thing about this Story isit's your story, too!
I'm hoping to invite my adult friends over for an evening with the Story. It will help some of us (well, me) to retool our theology a bit. We'll pass The Jesus Storybook Bible around and read it aloud, taking time to look at the pictures. I think it can be done, but even if we don't finish, it will be okay, because the story is still unfolding anyway.
Ben Patterson is campus pastor at Westmont College and a contributing editor to Christianity Today.
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The Jesus Storybook Bible is available from ChristianBook.com and other retailers.
USA Today featured The Jesus Storybook Bible in its article on children's' Bibles.