(BIBLES and BIBLE STORY RESOURCES)
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 This verse does not say, “seek ye ONLY,” but it does say, “seek ye FIRST.” It’s about priorities.
There is only one inspired book, and no matter how much we read it, it’s ever new - in a lifetime of study we could never learn all that’s in it. All of the stories are true, and “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” II Timothy 3:16
It will renew your mind. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2
Since it is the most important book ever written, this first article is about the Bible and Bible story resources.
"Unfamiliar" English words are printed in bold type with the definitions footnoted at the bottom of each page. It's a helpful study Bible for young readers, those young in the faith, or the family. A reading instructor in college once told our class the best way to improve one’s vocabulary was to read the KJV Bible. Memorizing scripture is also of great benefit as well as using selected verses or passages for copy work and handwriting.
Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary is also an excellent resource for accurate word study. According to the preface, it was primarily written to aid Bible study. On this site you can enter words online and search definitions or buy a “hard” copy for about $60. A site recommended to us is http://www.calvarychapel.org/children/site/curriculum.htm We haven’t used all the "bells and whistles" - the color sheets are a bit cartoony, but we have appreciated the extensive list of "Bible Stories" and where they are found. We printed out the OT and NT lists as an easy reference for our family. “World's Greatest Stories” by George Sarris - KJV reading of selected Bible stories and passages, word for word with sound effects. One of the favorite things we did years ago was to make our own tapes of selected Bible stories from our set of Alexander Scourby Bible tapes. The children enjoyed listening to them in the car, while playing inside, or at bedtime. I recently saw his scripture reading available online at http://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html A Bible recommended to me for young children is The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos. CBD has it. As with any "Bible story" book, we do encourage you to check with the Bible for accuracy, comparing the book to the Bible not the Bible to a storybook. Also be careful about illustrations – no one truly knows what the Bible characters looked like. Notice details like which way Goliath fell; some pictures show him on his back and others show him face down. Check the Bible for which is correct. Sing a song or have a snack related to a recently read Bible story. After reading I Samuel 17, you might sing “Only a Boy Name David” or “Just the Same Today” and serve 5 vanilla wafers, pretending they are 5 smooth stones, or after reading about Noah’s Ark serve animal crackers.
Use your imagination, and have fun with your children! “The days get long, but the years are so short.”
The Mighty Acts of God provides ideas for costumes and acting out Bible Stories; it’s available at Doorposts. Other resources that will help you apply scripture in your home include "If-Then" Chart; "The Blessings" Chart; "The Brother-Offended" Checklist; A Day of Delight about making Sundays special; “Stewardship Street” about handling money; For Instruction in Righteousness with stories and scriptures about such themes as pride, disobedience, fear, and immodesty; Plants Grown Up about leadership, faithfulness, etc. for boys; Polished Cornerstones: Projects for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood; and more! An engaging aid to Bible stories especially for younger children is Betty Lukens felt sets. Click "Felt Activity Books". Children love these colorful activity sets for story time or play - some cutting, gluing and assembly is required. Our favorite set is the Old Testament Bible Stories for ages 3 and up. This set includes the story of "Joseph and His Brothers" found in Genesis 37; "Joseph brought before Pharoah" in Genesis 41-47; "Moses as a baby" in Exodus 2:1-10; "Crossing the Red Sea" in Exodus 14; "David and Goliath" in I Samuel 17; "Elijah goes to Heaven" in II Kings 2:1-14; "The Fiery Furnace" in Daniel 3:1-30; "Daniel in the Lions' Den" in Daniel 6; and from the Book of Esther, the story of "Queen Esther."
Read-Aloud Bible Stories, Vol. 1-4 by Ella Lindvall, also for young children, have familiar Bible stories with simplified texts and illustrations. Each volume includes 5 stories with simple questions following each story.
A few selections include "Zaccheus" Luke 19:1-10 and "Blind Bartimaeus" Mark 10:46-52 in Volume 1; "Feeding of 5,000" Mark 6:34-44 and "The Good Samaritan" Luke 10:30-37 in Volume 2; "Noah and the Ark" Genesis 6:5 – 9:17 and "Daniel and the Lions" Daniel 6:1-24 in Volume 3; and "Moses as a Baby" Exodus 2:1-10, "David and Goliath" I Samuel 17:1-51, and from the Book of Jonah "Jonah and the Whale" in Volume 4.
Again, please compare each story in a story book to its Biblical account.
The Birth of Jesus also by Ella Lindvall is the best story book about Jesus’ birth we’ve seen, and the illustrations by Gavin Rowe are beautiful. The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale retold by Angela Elwell Hunt with illustrations by Tim Jonke is also a very good read aloud for children.
There are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs; since many months have 31 days, reading one a day works well. When our children were very young, we only read a few verses from the "Proverb for the day," skipping chapters like chapter 7 until they were older. With young readers, you can have them take turns reading verses aloud. It's encouraging to see how much can be memorized just from the repetition.
Even when our children were younger we mostly read directly from the KJV choosing passages and stories that were appropriate for them. An interesting point someone recently made to me is that children are not given a “child size” portion of the Holy Spirit when they are born again. They have Christ living within them just like an adult and can understand much more than we sometimes realize. I think of Timothy and his faithful mother and grandmother as described in II Timothy 3:15. “Child” in that text comes from a Greek word that has been translated in other verses as “babe” and “infant.” You cannot start too soon reading scripture to your children!
Psalm 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Following Biblical principles regarding marriage is not only God honoring, it will foster more harmony within the family. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is based on Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
A resource for the whole family is The Christian Home: a Study Guide by Elder Lasserre Bradley, Jr. is an excellent study tool in booklet form with sections for the husband, the wife, parents, and children. It has an outline format and uses many scriptural references and brief articles from various sources; tape set is also available. Write The Baptist Bible Hour, P.O. Box 17037, Cincinnati, OH 45217, Call toll-free: 1-800-4734-BBH. Business Hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (ET) or see http://baptistbiblehour.org/ Our 24 Family Ways: Family Devotional Guide by Clay Clarkson furnishes 120 fully-scripted, but very flexible, family devotional outlines that need no advance preparation, and require only 10-15 minutes to complete. Memory verses are not KJV. A companion coloring book is also available with 24 illustrations. Seasons of a Mother’s Heart is good reading for moms, too.
For older students Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe is a great resource for putting daily annoyances and trials into perspective. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:3,4.
Deuteronomy 4:2, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
Psalm 138:1,2, “I will praise thee with my whole heart ... and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”