If I could pick only one story Bible for my children, The Big Picture Story Bible would be the one.
Other Bible story books turn Old Testament stories into moralistic lessons. Joseph? Share your toys. Daniel? Stand up for Jesus. David? Be courageous. If these moralisms are your idea of a children’s Bible, you probably won’t like The Big Picture Story Bible.
But if you are like me and you have long hoped for a book that teaches children the biblical story from Creation to New Creation – a book that anticipates Jesus in the Old Testament and makes his crucifixion and resurrection the proper climax of the New Testament - then this book is for you.
This book is pure gold. Even the illustrations convey a message. The artist thoughtfully and strategically places a “star” upon God’s chosen representative, from Abraham to Isaac, from Jacob to David and Solomon. There are future glimpses of Jesus throughout the Old Testament.
The story itself contains one central plot aim: ”God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule.” This theme provides direction for every story in the book.
The Bible stories are told creatively. Take for instance the preface to Jesus’ birth:
Caesar, the Roman ruler, the king of the whole Roman world, began counting all his people to show everyone how great he was. What Caesar did not know was that… God, the world’s true ruler, the king of the universe, was getting ready to show everyone how great he was. And do you know how God was going to do this? Not like Caesar… not proudly, by counting all his people, but humbly, by becoming one of his people.
Some stories might be more abbreviated than you expect. (David and Goliath receives two pages within a longer passage about how God keeps his promises to his people. The prophet Daniel is only mentioned in the context of his prayers for the Messiah.) But whereas some of the excitement of individual stories gets left out, the growing anticipation of God’s people being under God’s rule more than compensates.
The Big Picture Story Bible does not shy away from theology. Of course, theological concepts are kept simple for children, but the author takes great care in pointing to Jesus through the Exodus, the kings, the prophets - reaching back to past events to fill in the meaning of the atonement. All of the stories ultimately point ahead to Jesus.
I fully expect that The Big Picture Story Bible will one day be considered a classic Storybook for children. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Our son loves it, and we do too. It has been a tremendous addition to our library.