The Jesus Storybook Bible

This blog post was published on Friday 21 March 2008.

This week I have been on a mission in Bath (I am currently on my day off!).   One of my primary roles has been to go into the Junior School for assemblies and class visits.

For the assemblies we made up some dramas, and read out some stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago.   The Amazon page has a couple of critical reviews, but we found the stories really very good, and the illustrations too.

One of the main criticisms of the book on the Amazon page is that it downplays sin and judgement.   I disagree.   The section on the crucifixion (called ‘The sun stops shining’) tells the real story:

Even though it was midday, a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world.   The sun could not shine.   The earth trembled and quaked.   The great mountains shook.   Rocks split in two.   Until it seemed that the whole world would break.   That creation itself would tear apart.

The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down.   On his own Son.   Instead of his people.   It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

Now, of course it isn’t perfect.   No translation is perfect, and this isn’t a translation, or even a paraphrase.   It’s a way of telling some of the main stories in the Bible.   It will only ‘do much harm’ (again, from the Amazon reviewer) if it is used as the only way of telling Bible stories to children.

We used it in our assemblies as the frame for telling the stories.   Some of the phrases are brilliant, like this one:

And Peter told them the wonderful Story of God’s Love - God’s Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

What the book does best of all is show how Jesus is at the centre of the whole Bible, how ‘every story whispers its name’ (the tagline from the book cover).

I would recommend this book, especially if you do children’s work and can use it in assemblies.