Monday, November 29, 2010

Really Diggin' This

A few months ago we purchased this Bible. It's basically a children's Bible, except it's a significant step up. Instead of having the stories written in childish language, it's stories from the Bible using the actual words of scripture, but pared down into child-size bites. In other words, the whole story of Joseph (which is long and covers several chapters in the book of Genesis) is trimmed down to several smaller pericopes that tell chunks of the story. For example, you have the story of Joseph's dreams in one pericope, the story of him being sold into slavery in another, the story of him in prison in another, interpreting dreams in another, preparing for the famine in another, his brothers returning in another, and so on and so forth. This way, the kids' attention can be kept while still using the actual words of scripture (and not someone's interpretation of how a child might understand the words of scripture - big difference!).

But aren't there parts of the text that kids won't understand? Especially in the ESV translation? Yes, the ESV is an "essentially literal" translation, and there are a lot of big words, and some difficult phrasing, but that's not really the point. Truth be told, I'm not even reading my kids Bible stories for their understanding. It's more just to get the word of God into them in some way - and to get it into them in a literal way, and not a cutesy, childish way that might make them think that the Bible is nothing but fairy tales and nice stories, which is the way Bible stories are usually presented in children's Bible story books.

Another cool thing about this Bible is the great illustrations. Every single story has an illustration. There are more than 200 illustrations in this Bible. They aren't cutesy or childish either, but really depict what is going on in the story. The kids like them, and they're good to use to review the story with the kids. I have Jamie point out the main characters, and tell me what they did in the story.

Either Betsy or I read at least one story to Jamie each night. It's the way we cap off his bedtime routing: we read some regular books, sing songs, and read a Bible story. Tonight Jamie and I completed the story of Esther, and as I turned the page to put the bookmark in the next story, I realized that we had "completed" the Old Testament. Esther was the last story in the Old Testament in this Bible (What? No major or minor prophets!? Just kidding). That's pretty cool. We've read through a large portion of the Old Testament - word for word - with our three year old.

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