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The Big Picture Story Bible (Redesign) Hardcover – July 31, 2014
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“Christians parents looking for a Bible storybook they can trust will welcome The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm and Gayle Schoonmaker. The biblical story is told well and in a way that will compel the attention of children. Parents, grandparents, and others will see this book as a friend as they teach their children the things of God.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“When serving as a pastor, I frequently purchased and gave this Bible to families with young children in hopes that the parents would read and absorb its message. Here’s a Bible storybook that shows the biblical story from Creation to New Testament—a book that anticipates Jesus in the Old Testament and makes his crucifixion and resurrection the proper climax of the New Testament. My wife and I love it. Our kids love it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
—Trevin Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project; author, Gospel-Centered Teaching, Counterfeit Gospels, and Holy Subversion
“When my son was growing up we read lots of Bible storybooks. But somehow we missed the big story that all of the stories fit into. The Big Picture Story Bible provides a foundation for children (and their moms and dads) to grasp God’s intention for his people to be in his place under his loving rule from the first page of the Bible to the last. What a treasure!”
—Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher; author, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow
“As someone who tries to establish a regular pattern of family worship at the dinner table, I am always on the lookout for good Bible story resources to use with children of all ages. The Big Picture Story Bible is written in a simple way with pictures that reinforce the meaning of the biblical text and often contain details that generate conversation and lead to a deeper understanding of the gospel. Even better, Helm’s redemptive-historical orientation helps even the youngest Christians see the fundamental unity of the Bible and its single gospel message of salvation in Christ. As the title implies, it is an ideal book for helping little people get ‘the big picture.’ I have given dozens of these away as gifts. Highly recommended.”
—Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College; author, Loving the Way Jesus Loves
“This is an excellent book for both children and adults to read to gain the big story line of the entire Bible. The writing is excellent. The illustrations are excellent. The way the author summarizes the broad sweep of the Bible into 450 pages is also, excellent. If you’re planning on getting married and making babies, plan on reading this book to your babies.”
—Justin Buzzard, Lead Pastor, Garden City Church, Silicon Valley; author, Date Your Wife and The Big Story
“A powerfully done, relevant book for parents to teach their children about God. Buy this book and use it with your children.”
—Dennis Rainey, President and CEO, FamilyLife; host, FamilyLife Today; author, Stepping Up
“This book is an outstanding resource for parents who delight in invading their children’s lives with the gospel. Your children will learn and grow through the marvelous words and pictures, and your heart will be refreshed and comforted again and again with the greatest story of all.”
—Barbara Duguid, author, Extravagant Grace
“David Helm has a pastor’s eye for the grand narrative of Scripture, combined with a father’s understanding of how to communicate that big idea to little minds. Gail Schoonmaker’s delightful pictures not only illustrate the text but also include additional details that invite parent and child to plunge deeper into the richness of the biblical account. Highly recommended!”
—Iain M. Duguid, Professor of Old Testament, Grove City College; author, Numbers (Preaching the Word Commentary Series)
“This book is wonderfully illustrated and carefully written. The author labors for biblical precision, emphasizing a big God and the ugliness of sin. David Helm regularly asks questions in the course of the book, proving to be helpful fodder for discussion and interaction with your child. My kids are eager to bring the book to me to read and this gives me great joy as a parent. I am excited to heartily recommend The Big Picture Story Bible.”
—Erik Raymond, Senior Pastor, Emmaus Bible Church, Omaha, Nebraska
“I like how the book is illustrated and how all the stories fit together. We wore out our copy from reading it so much. It’s great for children of all ages.”
—Alexis Raymond, age 10
“I absolutely love The Big Picture Story Bible. It’s full of rich theology for small people. David Helm makes it plain that the Bible is more than a collection of stories; it is God’s story, into which we, his creatures, are called. It faithfully presents the richness and complexity of God’s witness to us in Scripture, without distorted or misplaced emphasis. While there is no substitute for reading Scripture to and with our children, The Big Picture Story Bible is an outstanding introduction to the overarching biblical narrative.”
—Sarah Dahl, blogger, Aslan’s Library
“The Big Picture Story Bible effectively achieves its aim to give children a majestic picture of God. The illustrations will stir children to ask questions about God’s story. This is a worthwhile investment for your children. My family will be enjoying this book for years.”
—Joey Cochran, Church Planting Intern, Redeemer Fellowship Church, St. Charles, Illinois; dad of three
“The questions in The Big Picture Story Bible invite interaction with my children and help them anticipate what is coming next in the story. I enjoy reading this book with my children!”
—Kendall Cochran, mom of three
“I like The Big Picture Story Bible very much. I like how it shows me that Jesus died on a cross and rose again on Easter!”
—Chloe Cochran, age 6
“I like it! I like the pictures. They show me about Jesus!”
—Asher Cochran, age 3
About the Author
David R. Helm (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. He also serves as Chairman of The Charles Simeon Trust, an organization which promotes practical instruction in preaching. He is the co-author of The Genesis Factor (with Jon Dennis), a contributor to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching, and the author of The Big Picture Story Bible and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude in the Preaching the Word commentary series.
Growing up, Gail Schoonmaker loved to draw pictures depicting the songs and stories she heard in church. She earned a B.A. in art from Wheaton College and makes her home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood with her husband, Keith, and their four children.
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Top Customer Reviews
First and most important of all, this is a very fair and generous rendering of the Bible. This book contains all the key episodes of the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation (and more), as others have said. Second, it is a book that is easily and enthusiastically embraced by children. Third, while many children's Bibles, like much Sunday School curriculum, take a biblical story and apply it as a moral lesson, the art, language and layout of this book remarkably captures the THEOLOGY of the Bible in a Christ-centered, Gospel-centered, and redemptively-centered way which is such a much better way of teaching children the message of Scripture.
What's that mean? Well for classical Protestants and even Catholics, that's the way that the Church has read Scripture for thousands of years. In the Old Testament, the themes about God's people, God's covenant, God's King and Kingdom, (namely, God's plan of salvation for the world), emerge in a promisory, national, prophetic and shadowy way. In the New Testament the themes, promises, hopes and plans of God come to their climactic and glorious fulfillment in Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. This is how our Bible as a story fits together in a coherent and exciting whole.
Remember when you first really grasped that? For me it was as an adult. I looked back at my art work from Sunday School and found crosses glued together, pictures of Noah and the Arky and that sort of thing. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if we had learned at a young age to undestand the Bible as a story about God's plan of salvation, involving God's people, under God's king and how Noah, Abraham, Moses, Israel, David, the Prophets and all the rest fit into that wonderful plan!? And even more, how Jesus is the glorious Savior who brings all of God's purposes for humanity and the world to their proper end!?
What's so remarkable about this book is that the author (David Helm) and the illustrator (Gayle Schoonmaker) do an excellent job of using good language and good artistic perspective to grasp what the Bible is all about. There are repetitive kinds of pictures in the Bible, from a "God's eye view," when there are repetitive events in Scripture - like when the patriarchs enter and leave the land of Canaan, and when Israel enters and is expelled from the promised land, and when Jesus Christ enters and leaves Judah. As such, they are capturing artistically what is typologically happening as the narrative of Scripture unfolds. Another illustrative example would be the similarity in artistic rendering of the 12 children of Israel and the 12 apostles. Where we as adults have come to correctly understand links in the chain of God's redemptive purposes - these authors have created theologically accurate visual representations of these themes for children. It's remarkable! And what's more, the God's eye perspective really helps visually emphasize God's plan, design and reign over all these events.
And here's a little bonus. This book is great for adults too.
Five stars. There is no better resource for children available. Now if we can only see to it that it gets the widest possible distribution and acceptance.
- The language: BPSB skillfully teaches concepts through repetition and simplified words. JSB also uses repetition and non-traditional, untheological words.
- I personally have a hard time getting behind the heavy use of fragments in the JSB. I frequently rephrase to improve the grammar for my children.
- BPSB more fully and accurately teaches the message of each text (e.g. The JSB teaches that Joseph forgave his brothers simply because he couldn't stop loving them. It does not mention their repentance or the period of watching/testing before Joseph revealed himself. BPSB instead emphasizes Joseph's recognition of God's plan in using evil circumstances for good.)
- The language of the JSB is more Arminian than that of the BPSB.
- JSB is longer and contains more Bible Stories. The NT portion of the BPSB is based on the gospel of John and does not contain many of the stories in the synoptic gospels.
- However, BPSB teaches Jesus from beginning to end. There is NO lack of Christ in this book, as another commenter hurriedly asserted. Both books teach Jesus very well.
- BPSB's illustrations are fresh and make the stories of the Bible come to life. Many pages are clearly done in watercolor yet remain vibrant. JSB's are more flat-lined and scribbly and the colors are over-saturated.
- BPSB does illustrate baptism as the pouring of water over the head while standing in a river, which is a con to us baptists. JSB simply shows them standing in the water.
Both books brought me to tears, but BPSB is by far our favorite children's Bible and the one we most recommend to others.
Secondly, I think that in an attempt to help teach broad theological concepts the author leaves out details that actually make the stories interesting to small children. There are major oversights and significant extra-biblical additions. He regularly draws conclusion that I, as someone who teaches the Bible to adults, do not agree with or find in the Biblical text. I would prefer a bible with a less heavy editorial hand.
Thirdly, though I am grateful that it includes the story of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is otherwise absent from the book which I find bizarre for a Bible that makes so many theological claims.
The roles of the many women in the Bible are also diminished or absent. Important details are missing from the stories of the few women who do appear in the book: Eve, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.
It also complete skips the Last Supper and other significant events the ministry of Jesus, which baffles me.
I like to read to my son from a variety of children's Bibles because they each feature different stories and told in a variety of ways. But my husband and I both find ourselves editing as we read and adding significant missing details every time we read this one together