Before our bedtime Bible time the other evening our 3-year old asked if we could “pleeaase read Jonah in the Lion’s Den.” “Do you mean,” I replied, “Daniel in the lion’s den, or Jonah in the fish’s belly?” To which he replied, “the lion one. Rrraarr!”
Choosing a picture Bible for younger children is not necessarily an easy task because, quite frankly, some of them are downright awful. What our children learn at such an early age (basic Bible information as well as impressions about the biblical record) will probably stick with them throughout life. So, we certainly don’t want to use a cutesy, but woefully inaccurate children’s Bible (like the one I threw in the trash a couple weeks ago after the little ones were in bed). Our children will have enough re-programming to do throughout their adult lives the way it is, so we don’t need to add to theological confusion by being sloppy when they are little. So let me tell you about the two children’s Bible books that I use regularly.
The reason I use them is that, in addition to learning details concerning the lives of many of the most well-known Bible heroes, they both present God as the ultimate “hero” by giving children the big picture viewpoint, which points them to Jesus.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm uses bright illustrations and simple text to communicate the main “story” (big picture) of the Bible—God redeems sinful rebels like us by fulfilling His promise to send a king and a lamb—Jesus Christ. Suitable for ages 2-7.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones combines great storytelling with gorgeous, detailed illustrations to, again, communicate the main storyline of the Bible–God’s love for His people fulfilled in the sending of Jesus. Suitable for ages 4-8.
I recommend you keep both of them in your house.