I love Bible story books. They are usually a child’s first introduction to God, to Jesus, and to the Bible. Young children enjoy reading them with their parents and older brothers and sisters. And authors have to be discerning over how much story to include and what to omit before the storybook gets published, to keep the story on a child’s level of understanding .
Sadly, enthusiasm for Bible stories begins to wane once the child gets beyond preschool. Perhaps it is the plethora of other literature available, distractions through TV, the Internet, and the world in general drown out this time for learning about the Bible. I fear this has happened over multiple generations to the point that the only thing many young parents know about the Bible is what was in the Bible storybooks they read as a child.
We need to make connections between the Bible storybooks we share with our children and the actual accounts as they are recorded in Scripture. If parents, teachers, and caregivers would read the full scriptural background for the stories, they would be better prepared to answer questions that might arise as well as give additional information as the child matures. In this way, the storybooks can become stepping stones into the Scriptures, and not simply a bypass of them.
Children pick up on the enthusiasm they see in their parents. When the parents love the story enough to learn more about it, the child is more likely to take an interest in learning more as well. The earlier a child is ready to read or listen to the story directly out of the Bible the better. They need to make the connection that this is God’s Word and it is true. Otherwise the Bible story books may seem to be as folk tales or nothing more than fictional stories to a child.
Another reason to read the actual accounts in the Bible is that not all publishers are careful to keep their facts straight. Sometimes the details get bent a little to keep it simple and/or entertaining. Other times it may even get twisted a little by traditions or to fit a particular doctrine. In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were commended because they faithfully checked the Scriptures to make sure that Paul was teaching them correctly. Shouldn’t we be as faithful with our own children’s Bible instruction?
At one time not so long ago, a caregiver would need a good background in Bible to know how to find the different Bible stories. But today with the help of a quick and easy Google search, even a child can find the passages with only a couple of key words.
What are some ways you have helped to bridge the gap between Bible storybooks and God’s Word with your children?
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