Review: The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible

As a Bible college professor, I teach hermeneutics, equipping Christian leaders to rightly interpret and faithfully apply the Bible. As an associate pastor, I oversee the youth ministry of the church, equipping parents to disciple their children. At the heart of it all, my passion is to teach Christians how to see Christ in all of Scripture. In my college course, countless remarks reveal many Christians fail to see how all of Scripture points to the person and work of Christ. In the church, needed resources on this topic for parents is clear. With this knowledge, my drive has been to teach the youth at church how to read the Bible in such a way. My desire is to place in parent’s hands resources which will encourage both them and their children to see the storyline of Scripture as they read through it. Jared Kennedy’s The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible sets forth this vision.

Many youth workers with a similar passion as the one stated above recommend to parents The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski. While I would likewise commend to you the resource, the book’s target is 8-to-12-year olds. There is a need for a distinct resource addressing the same topic for children under 8. Out of such a concern, Jared Kennedy wrote The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible. Written for 3-to-6-year-olds, Kennedy composes 52 storylines from Scripture to point young children to the grand story of the Bible which reaches its climax in Jesus Christ. Trish Mahoney’s eye-catching illustrations fill the pages and will capture children’s attention. With each story examined, Kennedy considers who God is, highlights what biblical truth is presented, and asks a reinforcing questions. The specific biblical texts are mentioned at the beginning of each story so parents and children can open their Bibles and read the passages of Scripture the children’s book is summarizing.

The consistent theme through the book is the focus upon the character of God. The headings of the Old Testament section (“Promises Made”) and the New Testament section (“Promises Kept”) reiterate the point. In the featured Old Testament passages, Kennedy directs the child and parent to see how the text looks to Jesus, but some connections are more convincing than others. What was surprising is crucial Old Testament texts like 2 Samuel 7 were missing from Kennedy’s selection of texts. I understand one has to pick and choose with the limit of 52 sections but devoting more time to Old Testament passages could have improved the work (the 52 sections are divided exactly in half, with 26 Old Testament and 26 New Testament. By condensing some of the selections from the Gospels and Acts, more room would have allowed for Old Testament passages like 2 Samuel 7).

Although my preference remains of including passages like 2 Samuel 7 at the exclusion of less crucial ones to the promises of God in Christ, the critique in no way takes away from this book. The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy provides parents with a solid resource to teach their children how all of the Bible points to Jesus Christ. If you know or are a parent of a 3-to-6-year-old child, purchase a copy and welcome this book into your home. This God-focused, Christ-proclaiming, gospel-centered children’s book would make a great Christmas gift!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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