Sally Lloyd-Jones (Author), Jago (Illustrator). The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2007. 352 pp. $17.99.
My children and I love Disney-Pixar movies. We’re not alone. Probably half a billion people across the world feel the same.
The brilliance of the these movies—movies such as Toy Story (which I know is now 20 years old) or more recently Up (2009), or even more recently, Big Hero 6 (2014)—is the way the producers craft the story to engage both children and adults without alienating one or the other.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones has this same brilliance. Whether you have been a Christian for many years or you are just being acquainted with the faith, it would be a great resource for you. Oh, the children you know will love it, too.
The rest of this “book review” is not really a review at all. It’s a modified version of an email I recently wrote to a friend. Let’s call her Sarah.
Backstory: My wife and I met Sarah a few months ago. We had a great conversation with her about the Bible. As the conversation went on, we realized that Sarah didn’t really know much about Christianity, and what she did know—as is true of so many people I meet—was all wrong.
Sarah had assumed the Bible was, as Lloyd-Jones writes, “a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do.” So, I asked Sarah if we could send her a book to help her get a better sense of what the Bible is really about.
She said, “Sure.”
But before the book arrived, I sent Sarah the below email to explain why I would send a children’s Bible to an educated, non-Christian adult.
* * *
Thanks for emailing! Apparently, I’m slow at responding. Sorry.
Okay, so here’s the deal on the book we were talking about. I just ordered it, and it should get to you in a day or two. However, let me give you a heads up so that you are not confused when it arrives. I’m sending you a children’s Bible. Yes, you read that correctly. It even has tons of pictures!
I hope you chuckle at that and are not offended. I know you are very intelligent and educated. The children’s Bible I’m sending, though, is actually not your typical Bible for kiddos. It’s actually very, very good, and it’s very well written. In fact, I have used it many times with adults at my church and they have appreciated it each time. (It’s also, by the way, the Bible we read as a family, and even though I’m a pastor and very familiar with the Bible, I often get a lot out of it, too.)
Anyway, the main reason I’m sending this book is because it’s the best resource I know for capturing the overarching narrative of the actual Bible, namely, a story about a rescue mission to broken people, not mainly a collection of stories designed to teach morals. There is a huge difference.
One of the phrases that the author (Sally Lloyd-Jones) uses repeatedly to describe God’s love is, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” I think that’s a pretty good description of one of the main themes of the real Bible.
As you and I discussed in person, the Bible is a BIG book, and it tends to overwhelm most people, at least at first. Reading this could be a helpful way to investigate Christianity in a few hours without having to slog through the whole Bible—of course, I’m a proponent of reading the Bible straight up, 100-proof style . . . but maybe not yet. Or maybe next? If so, I can help start you on that process, as well.
Again, I hope you chuckle and are not offended with my selection. Thanks for emailing. Now I’m back to work.
Benjamin Vrbicek | Teaching Pastor
Community Evangelical Free Church