A Review of Kevin DeYoung’s “The Biggest Story”
DeYoung, Kevin. The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden. Crossway, IL, 2015. 129pp. $14.98
Few parents and probably fewer kids have spent time thinking about the big picture of the Bible. Sure, we’ve all talked about Adam and Eve eating the fruit, David killing Goliath, and Peter walking on water, but most of us have never thought of those stories a whole. We treat them more like a collection of short stories than as chapters in massive narrative with major themes that crescendo with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Seeking to help our kids and us grasp the “Big Story” that makes sense of all the other Bible stories, Pastor Kevin DeYoung released The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden earlier this year. Working together with the artist, Don Clark, DeYoung faithfully retells the big story of the gospel in a clear, concise, and colorful manner that will benefit both parents and kids.
The Biggest Story
Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden, DeYoung recounts the story of fall. He then touches on Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets. Describing how each man failed to ultimately crush the snake. Though they led well at times, they and God’s people were always overcome by sin and never returned to the garden. DeYoung clearly shows his readers that they – as the people before them – can’t make way their back to God on their own. But thankfully, humanity is not left alone. Christ arrives on the scene as the perfect deliverer, judge, and conqueror. He crushes the snake’s head and leads his people back to the Garden via the cross. As DeYoung writes:
Our story is the story of God doing what we can’t, in order to make up for us doing what we shouldn’t. Christ suffers for our sin, that we might share in his sinlessness.
And so deliverers are born to die. Things fall apart so they can come together. God kicks his own people out of Paradise and then does whatever it takes to bring them back – p.107.
DeYoung then focuses on how the Holy Spirit empowers believers to interject elements of the garden into today’s world through godly living. Lastly, he extols his audience to eagerly anticipate the wonderful day on which Jesus will return, ushering all of his people into paradise.
Strength And Weakness
Admittedly, DeYoung’s book is not as thorough as the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook. Joseph gets a sentence, Hosea is never mentioned, and Jesus’ earthly ministry is reduce down to one page. If you are looking for an in-depth kids’ Bible study that covers all 66 books in detail, you will need to look elsewhere. Checkout the afore mentioned Big Picture Bible or grab a copy of Long Story Short and Old Story New by Marty Machowski. And readers shouldn’t be too surprised by this reality, given the books purpose.
The Biggest Story is not meant to be commentary; it’s designed as an overview of the scriptures. The book could almost be said to be the kids’ version of The Message of the Old Testament and The Message Of the New Testament by Mark Dever. Both adults and kids benefit from both in-depth studies and overviews of the Bible. We shouldn’t lose the tree for the forest nor the forest for the trees. As a helicopter soaring over the forest of scriptural narrative, The Biggest Story delivers.
Using only 10 chapters and 129 pages, DeYoung has captured the heart of the gospel message by exploring the themes of sin, repentance, and restoration as found the biblical narratives (A phenomenal accomplishment, especially for a preacher!). The book can easily by read in under an hour. I would encourage parents with preschoolers and gradeschoolers (and/or those looking to understand the grand scheme of the Bible) to purchase a copy of this delightful book. There are few better resources.