Do you know what I have? A brand spankin’ new copy of Crossway Books’ “The Bible Story Handbook.” They sent me a reviewer’s copy, and I love, love, love it.
Here’s the thing. When I first read about it I was intrigued, but skeptical. I expected something for a children’s Sunday School teacher. I figured it would have some pretty simple insights into how to focus popular Bible stories, maybe how to bring it down to a child’s level… I thought it might be a nice book to have on the shelf for occasional reference, but most likely nothing earth-shattering.
I was oh so very wrong. It’s way better. This book covers your typical popular Bible stories as well as the less known and harder to ‘get’ stories. And you know how sometimes when you read your Bible you glance down at the footnotes to see what the ‘experts’ say about it? This is way better. For each story it gives focal points (basically, how the story fits into Redemptive history, or how it fits into the big picture), context, interpretational issues (what some people have said and why or why not to believe them), background that tells you about the time and place, and mistakes to avoid. It’s equally helpful for personal reading, teaching adults, or teaching children. It even tells you when a story is inappropriate for kids (like Jephthah).
You know how you always wondered about Solomon’s wives? I mean really, the guy is revered for his wisdom, but he was a polygamist? You know you always wondered. Well, apparently Solomon wasn’t a greedy old perv, he made alliances for political purposes, and those alliances were solidified through marriage.
It covers Jephthah. And Ananias and Sapphira. And Creation with great insight. The plagues. And in every breath it points all attention to the fuller knowledge of God. It’s awesome.
If you’d like to check out an excerpt Crossway has one on their site (where you can also purchase the book).