Bible stories for kids
Are you one of those parents who find it difficult to get your kids interested in the Bible. We live in an age of super-fast technology and media bombardment – it’s difficult to compete with that isn’t it? The Bible can seem like a book from ancient history to young and old alike in this modern world and yet it remains so relevant for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
One of the ways to help is to present biblical stories in ways that children find interesting and challenging, rather than quaint and irrelevant. The difficulty is being relevant without watering down the content of what Christians truly believe.
One of my favourite children’s book authors was Patricia StJohn who wrote some great books for pre and post teens. I did find though, that there was perhaps a bit too much death and tragedy in some of the books at times.
Of course there the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis maintain a relevance today because of the theology that comes through these fantasy novels. The films have helped too. My personal favourite which helped me a lot in understanding how God deals with each person differently is ‘The horse and his boy’.
For younger children there are many picture books out there but what I found lacking when I was trying to teach children in Sunday school were books that brought the Bible stories to life in a modern age. I ended up, as I’m sure many parents do, improvising and experimenting with presenting the stories as if I lived at that time so that I could see and understand what was happening through modern eyes. Patricia StJohn also did this in some of her books.
Why I started the Miracles of Jesus series
I started the series for some of the reasons mentioned above but also because that is how I read the Bible myself. I like to immerse myself and find relevance to now because I believe that there is so much relevance to what is happening in the world today. The challenges that parents and children are facing today are all to be found through the pages of both the old and new testaments. We have the same human frailty now that we had then. We argue with God in the same way that many did back then and yet when we need help, we still find that ‘underneath are the everlasting arms’.
It has almost become an embarrassment to say that you are a Christian in the modern world but it was too for the early christians. Remember they were persecuted for their faith, far more than we are today – we might be ridiculed but we are not yet burnt at the stake! We do children a disservice if we make out it is easy to maintain christian values in the twenty-first century because it is not. My belief though is rather to teach about God’s love rather than his judgement because children need to know that love. There are far too many problems in the world caused by a lack of love and charity. At least if we try to love others in the same way that God loves us, our consciences remain clear but we also have the harsh reminder that though Jesus was the most perfect man who ever walked the earth, he was brutally tortured and killed for being so. He challenged the status quo and was accepted by those in need but not by those who thought they knew better than God. Does this sound familiar?
Let’s therefore teach children about the love of God and help them to face the harsh realities that they may face in the future for standing up for what they believe in. Jesus was non-violent and so were the disciples and I personally believe that violence has no place in the name of religion.
Jesus loves children
It is not a mistake that Jesus encouraged adults to become like little children in their approach to his teaching. Children often understand right and wrong far more readily than adults and have a simplicity of understanding and response. In every encounter with children throughout the New Testament, he came across as gentle and kind. Children sensed the good in him and ran to him, often following him everywhere. He was not rich and so didn’t often give material things but he gave love and healing which so many needed then and continue to need today.
In the first book I wrote I describe the feeding of the five thousand through the eyes of the boy who provided Jesus with the loaves and fishes that he used to feed the hungry crowd. The miracle came because the boy saw in Jesus something that even the disciples couldn’t see.
In my second book I describe the healing of a man who couldn’t walk. When he was healed, Jesus told him his sins were forgiven, and so I tell the story from the man’s perspective and how he ended up in the state he was in through youthful rebellion.
Both stories are fictional but I have tried to remain true to the essence of the biblical accounts. I hope that they will prove helpful to Sunday school teachers, schools and parents but most of all to any children that may end up reading them.
I am writing this post because I have just re-released the first book in the series, having had it re-illustrated. It is currently with ACX and will soon be available as an audiobook. Here is a sample lasting just over a minute as it stands at present.
I have just made it into an MP4 picture video which I hope to release via my website very soon.
The first version of the first book is still available which is illustrated in more of a modern comic-book way if that is your preference.
Comments & reviews welcome!
Image of child at top of page used under Creative Commons license thanks to Pixabay