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Telling God's Story: A Parents' Guide to Teaching the Bible (Telling God's Story) Paperback – February 22, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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  • Telling God's Story: A Parents' Guide to Teaching the Bible (Telling God's Story)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Enns holds a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature from Harvard and has taught in both university and seminary classrooms for over fifteen years. He and his wife Susan live in Pennsylvania and are the parents of three children.
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Product Details

  • Series: Telling God's Story
  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Olive Branch Books (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933339462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933339467
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Enns begins by reminding us that we should come to the Bible with the question "What does this tell us about God?" rather than "How does this apply to me?" Enns outlines an approach to teaching children that begins with Jesus rather than Bible stories or characters. I found this to be a very logical approach. My kids are too old to use the curriculum that is being written by Enns, so I've ordered Kay Arthur's Bible studies about Jesus in the book of John to use instead.

A previous reviewer said that Enns believes the Bible to be a book of myths. I have to wonder if the reviewer has actually read the book. About the Bible, Enns says, "The Bible is the Word of God and we are supposed to read it and obey it... It bears witness to who God is, what he has done, and who we, as his people, are." (page 13) In discussing other ancient creation stories, Enns says, "Genesis 1 is a strong argument against such stories as these. The intent of the creation account is to keep Israel from falling into the trap of worshiping someone other than the true Creator... Continually, the reasons given for why Yahweh should be worshiped are that he is not only (1) the Creator, but also (2) the deliverer... This dual theme continues into the New Testament: the Creator is the Redeemer." (page 61).
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First, let me say that so far I've only bought this book and the instructor's guide, but so far I really like what I've read. I especially like the approach. I plan to buy the student guide soon. Peter's approach is to teach about Jesus for the first four years (or through grade 4) and then move on to the bigger picture of The Bible in the Middle School years and into the depth and details of that big story in high school years. I very much like and agree with this approach.

Another (negative) review seemed offended by this approach, saying, "Enn believes children should not be confused by stories of Creation, the Flood, sin, nor grace, according to Enns, these are "adult concepts" not to be taught to children."

I do think that these concepts can be very difficult for young children. I think The Flood story can be difficult for adults. Enns doesn't ignore the flood and creation. They are dealt with as the children grow older. The first task is to introduce them to the centrality of the Christian faith: Jesus! And certainly the concepts of sin and grace are woven into the story and so I assume they are not completely ignored.

It should be important to point out why this series has received some very negative 1-star reviews. It seems to me it has nothing (or very little) to do with the actual content of these materials, but instead about the author himself. Why? Peter Enns is an Evangelical Christian Bible scholar who has challenged some of the beliefs held by other Evangelicals. He wrote a book called, "Inspiration and Incarnation" which challenged a rigid inerrant view of scripture with a more nuanced view -- that still holds to a text inspired by God.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Peter Ennis' book and look forward reading more from him. I am so thankful to find a book/books that address talking with children about the Bible with Jesus at the center of the teaching. As the parent of teens, he recognized that for many teens the Bible can seem less than relevant in their modern, fast-paced world. He lays out a paradigm for staying connected with your teen, studying God's word, talking and learning together about God's path for us. This book sets up an understanding of what he will do with the entire 12 year series. It challenges the parent to thoughtfully consider how they will share the Bible and God's Story at home. It is not, however a Bible study or teaching materials for you and your child. For that you will need to purchase the books for each year. Thus far, he has just published year one.

Telling God's Story: The First Year, looks just delightful. There is well-researched background information for the parent, and fun coloring pages and activities for the children. I will be enjoying these lessons with my children this summer. I look forward to future installments for older children. For those of you familiar with The Story of the World Activities Book, it follows a similar format. My children LOVE doing the coloring pages and activities.

I read other reviewers who felt that Mr. Ennis is heretical. I respectfully suggest that the reviewers have not read his book. His devotion to God and following of Biblical teachings is quite apparent throughout his book.
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I don't understand the critical, negative 1-star reviews. A couple of them present a very caricatured view of Enns' book that an actual reading of the book itself easily dispels. I have been a minister for over a decade and have a child of my own and this is one of the most helpful books I have run across as I think about teaching the Bible to my family, and my congregation, and also as I think about resources to recommend to others.

This is an outstanding book. At only 99 pages, it can be a quick read, but it is packed with solid and useful information. Enns wrote this book as a guide for parents who desire to teach their children the Bible. He presents a threefold approach: in the early elementary years, focus on the story, life, and mission of Jesus; in the middle school years, focus on the "hook and hangers" of the Bible, specifically, the "pegs" of the larger story that they will be able to "hang" later knowledge upon; and in the high school years, begin to flesh out the Bible in more detail.

Enns suggests this progressive approach against other approaches because it focuses on the main "person" of the Bible--Jesus Christ--and on God's redemptive story, rather than our own theories or concepts of what we want the Bible to be about. For example, he encourages us not to teach the Bible simply as "stories" or as character studies, because these are often reduced to moralistic life lessons having nothing to do with the redemptive backstory; nor should we teach it (to children) book-by-book, because this approach often requires more maturity and a longer attention span than children have; nor should we teach it defensively, as in the current "creationism vs. evolution" arguments.
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