Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

If you've followed this blog for any time, you know we don't traffic in children's books all that much. But last year Marty Machowski captured my interest with a book called Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God. Long Story Short covered the major stories Old Testament, looking first at the OT passage then to a NT passage to connect it to Jesus then back to the OT passage to dig a little deeper, all in the span of a week. Essentially, it is a black-and-white Old Testament study guide for children. I say this not as a criticism, indeed I was very impressed with the material when I reviewed it.

But if you are simply expecting Long Story Short Part 2 when you pick up The Gospel Story Bible, you're in for a surprise. While Long Story Short was made with parents in mind to lead their children through a study of Jesus in the Old Testament, The Gospel Story Bible is made with the kids in mind. It is hardback, full color, and each turn of the page starts a new story. This is noticeably helpful when a story than can span chapters of the Bible (and lose a child's attention in the process) is boiled down to a one-page account. The study portion has been minimized but not thrown out as each story includes a "Let's Talk About It!" section with three questions about the story. And the use of the ESV when Machowski quotes the text will be the icing on the proverbial cake for some.

For those parents concerned with such stories getting boiled down to theological fluff, I appreciated this comment in the introduction: "It is possible to simplify Bible stories so much that you edit out important gospel connections to God's larger plan of salvation. In The Gospel Story Bible, we've set out to preserve this theological detail by ending each story with a short commentary, designed to connect events in the story to God's larger redemptive plan. Old Testament stories point forward to Jesus. New Testament stories point to the cross."

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