Book Review and Giveaway Reminder - The Gospel Story Bible

Image of The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments
by Marty Machowski
New Growth Press 2011
Hardcover 328

We wanted to remind everyone about the book giveaway this month. Three winners will receive 4 books each. To enter, all you need to do is start a thread in the forum and get anyone else here at SI to comment on it. Details on the contest are here.

One of the books to be won is The Gospel Story Bible, and so I thought we could take this opportunity to learn more about this excellent resource.

Book review

As the father of six children, I have had ample occasions to read children’s Bible storybooks. The majority of such storybooks are quite simple and to the point. They don’t usually interact with the story at a child’s level other than to make the tale more imaginative and seem more story-like. Few of these books really serve believing parents well.

The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski is much different. It is uniquely designed to help facilitate the parents’ task of teaching their children the gospel, as they recount the various stories in the Bible. The stories include discussion questions at the end, and are usually presented in a fairly straight-forward, stick-to-the-text manner. Often, however, a little more explanation is woven into the story. And each story wraps up with an application to the gospel or to the flow of redemptive history. The book’s emphasis is on communicating the gospel intent of the Bible stories rather than on wowing the children and parents with how imaginative a reshaping of the scriptural story this new storybook can provide.

My children appreciate the sheer number of Bible stories covered by this book (78 stories from each testament)—many of which are not addressed in other, smaller Bible storybooks. And the vivid colors and interesting illustrations also enthrall their young minds. The illustration style is unique and more artistic than you’d expect. The intent is not to depict a true-to-life version of the story so much as to provide an intriguing image that illustrates it. For my part, I think this style is perfectly suited to the book’s overall feel with its bright and colorful pages. One drawback is the smaller font, which is often colored white against a dark color background and can be hard to read. But the smaller font size does keep the stories at two pages in length, allowing the book to stay fairly compact even as it covers a large number of stories. The glossy hardcover makes the book attractive yet also keeps it sturdy and durable.

The author’s aim in producing this book is stated in its sub-title: “Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments.” And the book dovetails well with a Sunday School curriculum covering both the Old and New Testaments that has also been developed by the author (and published by New Growth Press). This curriculum along with the storybook, would serve well in a homeschool setting, as children of a wide variety of ages will be blessed and instructed through this material.

I encourage Christian parents everywhere to pick up a copy of this book. Check out some sample pages and even explore the available SS material as well. We would be remiss not to add one more tool to our arsenal as we aim to teach our children the Bible. And of course just learning facts isn’t the key, we hope they learn and embrace the Gospel. And this is what makes The Gospel Story Bible so compelling. I highly recommend this book.

Q & A with the author

The following questions and answers with the author, are excerpted from this online interview. You can learn even more about the book and this curriculum at GospelStoryforKids.com.

Q: How can readers learn to recognize Jesus as the hero of their own personal stories, no matter how mundane or ordinary?

A: Everyone, both young and old, needs the salvation that only Jesus can provide.  We are all lost in our sin like the Israelites.  We all need a Savior.  Reading through the Gospel Story Bible helps you to recognize and understand how the Gospel is interwoven through the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  Knowing the scope of God’s plan of redemption helps you see how your life connects to that plan as well.

Q: In what ways does the Old Testament point forward to God’s story of salvation through Jesus Christ?

A: Every Old Testament Story is pointing forward to God’s plan of redemption in some way.  From God sacrificing an animal to make clothes to cover Adam and Eve, through the last prophecy of a coming redeemer, each story points us to Jesus.

Too often these same Bible stories are moralized.  So many children grew up thinking the story of David and Goliath, for example, is in the Bible to help us conquer the giants in our own lives.  But really that is not why God put that story in the Bible.  David steps in as a deliverer when all of Israel sinfully refused to do what God called them to do, fight the Philistines.

David accepts Goliath’s challenge and so becomes Israel’s representative head to fight Goliath.  If David wins, all of Israel wins, and the Philistines become their slaves.  In that role David is a picture of Jesus who came as our representative head to deliver us from our enemies, sin and death.  Jesus came in the family line of David and Jesus came as a king in the royal line of King David.  The story of David and Goliath is meant to point us to God’s future plan to send a Davidic King to deliver us from our great enemies.

Every lamb sacrificed points us to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died on the cross for our sins.  Every deliverer points us to Jesus our Savior.  Every undeserved blessing toward Israel points to the grace of God in bringing us a salvation we don’t deserve.

About the author

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for twenty-four years. He is the author of the Gospel Story for Kids series including Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the Gospel Story Curriculum. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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