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The Gospel Story Bible – Review

December 8, 2011

Marty Machowski, a long-time big wig in children’s ministry circles has put out a great resource for parents and pastors. The Gospel Story Bible came out earlier this month and I received my copy shortly thereafter. I have loved using The Jesus Storybook Bible in the past, but find it lacking in some areas. There is a big gap in children’s ministry in regards to theological soundness. I, for one, have been thrilled to see many authors taking note of this and writing theologically sound children’s books. The Gospel Story Bible looks to be another one in this vein. It is a helpful resource, but not without its drawbacks.

Pros

  • Probably the most substantial “story bible” out there. There are 78 stories from the OT and 78 from the NT. This is waaaayyy more than the Jesus Storybook Bible. At over 300 pages, you will not be lacking for content for a while.
  • The illustrations are great. Not as great as the Jesus Storybook Bible, but they are still very good and add to the comprehension of the story.
  • After each story, there are three discussion questions. This makes is a great resource for family devotionals with no prep time. You can also easily use this with Marty’s other book, Long Story Short, for devotionals.
  • There is a clear (and maybe at times contrived) Christ-centered focus. Every story is connected to fulfillment in Christ.
  • One of the biggest critiques of the Jesus Storybook Bible is that it is light on God’s wrath. Not a problem here. God is loving, caring, and also angry at sin.
  • Hardcover – always a good thing when a book will live amongst children.

Cons

  • The stories are lengthy (which can also be a pro) and the reading level a bit too high for my liking. I would imagine most beginning 2nd graders would struggle to read this on their own. By third grade, this would be a perfect book. However, usually by 4th grade they are heading into a “big kid Bible.” So, the window of time where a child would truly “own” this book is relatively short.
  •  The book is big. Bigger than the Bible I carry to church. It would be a tough travel companion.
  • The font is too small for developing readers. Perhaps the goal of the book is to give parents a resource to read to their children. If that is the case…job well done.

Overall, I am glad it is on my shelf. It may not get used as much as the Jesus Storybook Bible, but I can certainly see the point to owning both.

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