It’s All About Jesus: Bible Storybook Review

its-all-about-jesusBeing a parent, I know the following to be true: It’s always a blessing to find kids’ books that help us faithfully teach the Bible. But the search for such finds is not always easy. Often faith based books are so stuffed with round, pink, and purple animals that the Bible appears to be on odd Fairy tale that mentions things like say the destruction of the world. On the flip side, other resources can be so rigid that they reach our kids’ ears with all the familiarity of Shakespearean English. Finding books that both honor the authority and the power of the Scriptures and that connect with our kids’ senses has proven to be difficult task for many publishers and parents. Thankfully, LifeWay via B&H Publishing is truly beginning to master this magical art. And, LifeWay’s newest Children’s Bible, It’s All About Jesus: Bible Storybook, is a truly one such great find! I would encourage families with young children to grab a copy of this book.

Here’s why:

What is It:

its-all-about-jesus-1This wonderful new kids’ Bible consists of 100 chronological stories (50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament) that seek to help our children understand the scope and sequence of the Bible.  Each story is three pages long. The first page lists the Bible story’s title, its location in the Bible and a picture. The stories also have a Christ Connection Circle that shows how the story connects to the greater gospel narrative. For example, when discussing the story of Esther, the Christ Connection points out that the queen’s rescues the Jews from death in the same manner that “God raised Jesus from the dead and defeated Satan once and for all.” And each story is adorned with a question circle that relates the story back to our kids by asking them things like the following: “What home has Jesus promised to those who trust Him; Jesus’ family reminds us of God’s faithfulness. How has God been faithful to you;” and “What are some ways people try to be right with God apart from Jesus?” The stories combined with their colorful presentation and the helpful circles, create a wonderful resource that both proclaims the gospel through the narrative of the Scriptures and that connects with kids’ visual senses. The book truly deserves to be linked to the long line of The Gospel Project for Kids products from which it was born.

What To Like:

its-all-about-jesus-2The book has great content. The stories in the book are almost direct copies of The Gospel Project For Kids’curriculum minus the craft and game ideas. As a result, you know that the message of each story is closely tied to Scripture. Interpretive remarks are kept at a minimum and Bible citations are frequent! And if you have questions about the story, you can look up the references listed at the top of the page.

By buying this book, you secure access to several years’ worth of Sunday school content. You can integrate this into your kids’ ministry and/or your homeschooling curriculum. Or you could simply read the book to your kids at night to reinforce what they are learning at church. Moreover, the Christ Connections and the question circles help you to further engage your kids with the Bible. Because of the content alone, this children’s Bible should be considered by all parents.

But thankfully the content does not stand alone on dull, empty pages. The children’s Bible is colorfully designed. Every page contains some bright and engaging art work consisting of a picture, a Christ Connection Circle, or a thumbnail of a story’s larger picture. Every page provides young readers with several things to look at as their parents handle discuss the story. This Bible is designed to help capture those every wandering little eyes so that its message can go forward.

What Not to Like:

Overall, this book is hands down one of the best Children’s Bible in print. The book’s only failings come in relation to its big brother, The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Book. The Big Picture Interactive Story Bookfirst Big Picture Bible has many more stories. It tackles things like the Psalms and the books of Hosea and Obadiah. The Big Picture Interactive Bible was the first kids’ Bible that actually tried to touch on all 66 books of the Bible. But because the It’s All about Jesus Bible Storybook covers only 100 stories, it cannot cover the Bible in the same detail as its predecessor. A few stories had to be scrubbed out such as Amos, Habakkuk, and some others (mostly Old Testament Stories).

I presume that much  of this switch is due to the fact the LifeWay restructured their second cycle of The Gospel Project for Kids curriculum so that 1.5 years is spent in the Old Testament and 1.5 years is spent in the New Testament. For what it’s worthy (and it’s not much), I preferred having the curriculum reflect the Bible by spending more time in the Old Testament than the New Testament. (Obviously, I lost that debate.) And now it’s time to move on.

Although its content is slightly diminished, this new Children’s Bible is still by far one of the most comprehensive kids’ Bibles out there, touching on David’s sin with Bathsheba, some of the minor prophets, the Parable of the Tenants, Paul’s Ministry, and much much more.

Moreover, this book’s new illustrations, the larger format of the book, and its more kid friendly layout make it much easier to use with younger kids than its predecessor. It truly is improvement over its big brother.

Closing Thoughts:

This is a great children’s Bible. If your church is using The Gospel Project For Kids, you will want to have this book at home. With it on your shelf, you will be ready to review what your kids learn at church and discuss the Scriptures with them in a meaningful way. And even if your church doesn’t use the Gospel Project, you will still want to grab a copy of this children’s Bible. It is the best mix, of Scripture and kid friendly illustrations to date. Thus I think it’s fair to say that this may be the  number one Children’s Bible currently available!

Are you ready to get one?

What Children’s Bibles Do You Prefer?

5 Bibles Great Bibles For Kids!

Trying to pick out your child’s first real Bible, can feel like trying find a ball in a ball pit. There are so many options, it can be hard to know where to begin. Today, I want to share with you my top five Bible for kids: (If you are looking for children’s Bibles checkout my reads page here)

ESV Big Picture Bible

esv-big-pictureIf your kids have grown up reading the Big Picture Story Bible, they will like the Big Picture Bible.  This English Standard Version (ESV) translation is full of illustrations taken from the Big Picture Story Bible. Some are a full two pages. Other are nestles within the text. All of them are tied directly to a verse or surround passage. And as an added bonus, all the chapter headings are printed in pink or purple. As your children read the Bible, they will love the colorful pages.

The Bible’s negative qualities are related to the fact that it has no notes, maps, or articles. The Bible does not help children study the Bible. And kids could outgrow the childish format of the Bible quickly.

With that being said, the Bible is still a great option for preschoolers and younger grade schoolers, especially since more and more pastors are starting to preach out of the ESV. It is by far the most colorful edition of the ESV to date. Click here to learn more


The Big Picture Interactive Bible

big-picture-interactive-bibleThe team at Lifeway has infused its popular Gospel Project Bible Sunday school curriculum into this colorful Bible. Available in either the New King James Version (NJKV) or Holman Christian Standard Verision (HCSV), this Bible is full of notes, pictures, maps, questions, and diagrams that help children understand how all of the Bible is connected to Christ. And the editors also included sections that highlight key verses to memorize, that offer definitions for “Big Words,” and encourage kids to see how Old Testament relates to the New Testament through “Seeing the Big Picture.” The Bible is stuffed with  great content, colorful illustrations, and pictures of historical artifacts. Both older preschoolers and grade school students alike will find this Bible engaging and helpful.

The one down side with the Big Picture Interactive Bible is that it is not available as in the ESV. But it is still worth a look as both the NJKV and the HCSV can be easily read by kids. Click here to learn more.


Apologetics Study Bible For Students

apologetics-bibleIf you have a child who regularly ask questions about Christianity and the Scriptures, this is the Bible for them. This HCSV Bible contains over 120 articles from authors like Ravi Zacharias that tackle topics such as, “Does the Bible Endorse Slavery, Why are There So Many Translations of the Bible, Are UFO’s Real, Does The Bible Demean Women,” and many more. Keeping in line with traditional study Bible, each page of this Bible contains notes that help the reader better understand the context and meaning of the Scriptures above. As your kids keep flipping through this Bible, they will also come across great personal stories, famous quotes, and twisted scripture sections, where the editors of the Bible address various misuses of God’s word. The Bible is designed for older grade school and junior high students.

The one negative is that the Bible is only available in the HCSV. But if you have a questioner or a child seeking to gain ownership of their faith, they will greatly benefit from having this Bible on their shelve! Click here to learn more.


ESV Student Bible

esv-student-bibleIf you are looking to get your child his or her first study Bible, consider this ESV Bible. It is packed with tons of Bible study notes that help explain translation issue and the meaning of the text, several maps, a few illustrations and book introductions. The Bible has its pages dotted with the profiles of famous men and women in the Bible and “Did You Know” text boxes that help children understand the historical context of various Scriptures such as when the Solomon compares his love to “a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.” At the back of the Bible students will find a section dealing with how to study the Bible, another section on important Christian Truths, a glossary, and a concordance. The ESV Student Study Bible is a great starter Bible for grade school and older students. And if you have a child who likes color, they will like the fact that this Bible comes in bright orange, blue, green, purple, and a host of other options.

The one negative with this bible is the notes have been abbreviated from the ESV study Bible, causing one to wonder, “Why not just get my child and ESV study Bible?” But that concern aside, this is still a great Bible that will assist kids in their attempt to fully understand and apply the Scriptures. Click here to learn more.


Any Literal Translation

esv-bibleAt the end of the day, the most important thing about the Bible we select for our kids is the text. We need to give them a word for word translation. Translations like the NKJV, ESV, or HCSV and others would qualify because they to translate the ancient text as accurately as possible, avoiding editorial comments. While the notes in the Bibles above can be helpful, they transforming power of the Scriptures is found in God’s Word and not in our commentaries upon it. If you get your kid a simple black and white pew Bible, they will be fine. But if you want to get them a Bible already pre-equipped with some study tools checkout the ones above! Click here to learn more.



5 Great Quotes on Evangelism From: “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God”


When discussing evangelism within the doors of evangelical church, there two people always present. The first is passion, who has a desire to see the world transformed by saving grace. The second is fear, who sees that passion’s efforts are failing miserably. Together they hunt about the pews trying to find someone or something to affix the blame. And after a few hours of coffee and conversation, these two friends decide to blame the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.

It is at this moment that J.I. Packer enters into the conversation with his great little book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, showing that evangelism is first and foremost a work of God. It’s a wonderful essay that is worthy of the read. Take a look at the quotes below and then make plans to grab your copy!


“If you are a Christian, you pray; and the recognition of God’s sovereignty is the basis of your prayers. In prayer, you ask for things and give thanks for things. Why? Because you recognize that God is the author and the source of all the good that you have had already, and all the good that you hope for in the future.” –p.15

“And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through will lead us far astray.” – p. 32

“In the Bible, divine sovereignty and human responsibility are not enemies. They are not uneasy neighbors; they are not in an endless state of cold war with each other. They are friends, and they work together.” – p.40.


“The things that God is pleased to keep to himself (the number and identity of the elect, for instance, and when and how he purposes to convert whom) have no bearing on any man’s duty. They are not relevant in any way for interpreting any part of God’s law.” – p.95

“It [evangelism] is a work in which quick results are not promised; it is a work, therefore, in which the non-appearance of quick results is no sign of failure; but it is a work in which we cannot hope for success unless we are prepared to persevere with people.” – p.117