“I know that story!”
I was just as excited as my five-year-old was to know he recognized the Bible story we were reading. While I grew up on flannelgraph Sunday School lessons each week, we keep our children with us during the church service so they can learn along with us. But we’ve realized that means we have to be more proactive about teaching our children not just the big truths of the Bible but also telling them the beloved stories of the heroes and kings, the saints, and sinners recorded in Scripture.
Retelling the Old
The beauty of telling and retelling the old, old story in different ways and with different books is the way our children learn to recognize the story within the story. And it’s humbling to realize that the more I explain the Scriptures to them, the more I see for myself the way the Old Testament points to the New.
While word for word Bible passages make up much of our family devotions and memory work, we also like to use Bible story read-alouds that reinforce biblical truths while instilling in our children a love for the story of Jesus and His love.
Some of these books are more literal summaries of passages of Scripture; others are simple highlights of favorite stories; some are compelling overviews tracing the threads of the Gospel from Genesis to Revelation. Every one of these children’s Bible story books are favorites with our family–titles we rotate through for the Bible portion of our morning read-aloud time.
Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus, sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell me the story of Jesus,write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,sweetest that ever was heard.
-“Tell Me The Story of Jesus” by Fanny Crosby
Children’s Favorite Bible Stories by Thomas Nelson
This children’s Bible tells each story with excerpted verses straight from the International Children’s Bible text. It includes a few-sentence introduction to each story, some suggestions for going deeper, and a prayer. Makes for a simple devotional Bible for a child on their own or the family as a whole.
The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos
This classic The Child’s Story Bible (updated from the original printed in 1935) is a beautiful Bible story book every family needs in their library. It doesn’t just focus on “stories”, but instead summarizes all of Scripture into stories simple enough for any child to understand. You’ll find stories about the laws, the tabernacle, and the feasts right along with tales of Joseph, Gideon, and Samson.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd Jones
The Jesus Storybook Bible is popular for a reason: it is a simple but fun retelling of The Story, that is not only a teaching tool, but can also be a witnessing tool. Each short story has a memorable title (like “The young hero and the horrible giant”) and includes the biblical references where it was derived from. Our family particularly enjoys the audio edition.
Christmas! The Whole Story of the God Who Loves By Natasha Metzler
The message of this book thrills me to my very fingertips while humbling me to tears. Natasha Metzler’s gift distilling powerful truths into heartfelt stories makes this much more powerful than a mere children’s book: it is the Gospel, told in a profoundly touching manner, with absolutely beautiful illustrations. A favorite of mine and my children’s.
The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross: the true story of why Jesus died and rose again by Carl Laferton
This is a quick, one-sitting read filled with fun illustrations and geared toward younger children. But it deals with some deep topics: like the reason for the curtain and why it tore on the day Jesus died. A favorite with my children, they were only disappointed that we finished it so quickly.
While this book uses more modern phrases and has an unusual illustration style, it provides a compelling summary of the biggest story. From “the second-worst day in the history of the world” (the day Adam and Eve sinned) to “the worst and the best thing that’s ever happened in the world” (Christ’s death on the cross), DeYoung shows us how we break our promises (over and over) but God keeps his.
This book from FamilyLife provides a very simple and brief overview of God’s plan from the garden to Abraham to Jesus. It emphasizes the Great Commission and the place of the church body in God’s plan and points toward the day when He will make all things new.
The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments Hardcover by Marty Machowski
Our family has enjoyed Machowski’s devotional book for families called Long Story Short, so we were excited to read these 156 short Bible stories. My kids love the bright illustrations, but I found the backgrounds made the text a bit hard to read sometimes! Each story includes three questions to talk about (some relating specifically to the illustration left us a bit confused). There are many direct quotes from and references to Scripture even though the stories are summaries.
Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall
I grew up on these books and their bright, funky illustrations by H. Kent Puckett, so it has been fun to re-introduce them to my children. The stories are simple, brief, and written in large text. And each story closes by asking, “What did you learn?” then suggests a few answers (like “Jesus took care of His friends. Jesus is God. He can take care of you, too.”).
- Read Aloud Bible Stories, Volume 1
- Read Aloud Bible Stories, Volume 2
- Read Aloud Bible Stories, Volume 3
- Read Aloud Bible Stories, Volume 4
- Read Aloud Bible Stories, Volume 5: The Stories Jesus Told
- The Bible in Pictures for Toddlers
- How God Made the World
- Noah’s Big Boat
Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.
Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.
-“Tell Me The Old, Old Story” by A. Katherine Hankey
Do you have a favorite Bible storybook in your family? I’d love to hear about it!
Because He Lives,
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