Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: Children of God Storybook Bible

Children of God Storybook Bible
When we pick up books, it is easy to assume that what we read is truth.  That some how, if it is published then all of the work has been done to make sure everything is factual.  While I quickly learned that this is not true, I realized that I have not been as discerning with Children's Bibles.  I assume that if it is published with the word "Bible" on it that the stories are Biblically based.  Very naive on my part.

The Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a new Children's Bible from Zonderkidz.  The author, "Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his lifelong struggle to bring equality, justice, and peace to his native country of South Africa."

Each story is written simply for the child to understand.  They end with a short prayer that represents what was taught in the story.  Scripture reference is also given for each lesson.  I was thankful for the reference because as I read the stories, I was alarmed by several choice words and sentences.  So, I turned to the Scripture to check it out.  Several times I found that the a lot of addition, assumption, and liberty was given to the Scripture.  There were a few things that I felt were untruths.  Here are a couple of examples of both.
  • John the Baptist is called a "holy man."  I believe that there is none holy but God.
  • "Jesus Teaches the Secret of Happiness" - This is the title to the lesson on the Beatitudes.  I believe Jesus did not teach us this list to make us happy.  There also seemed to be some liberty taken on the meanings of each.  It may have been better to reference Mark 5 as well as Luke 6. 
According to the books website, an attempt was made "to create the first truly global Bible for children, the artists have been invited to portray the stories with the style and richness of their own culture."  Thus, in the illustrations you will see Jesus portrayed in different nationalities.   In some illustrations Jesus is white while he is black in others.  While I understand the desire to make Jesus "look" like the reader, I do not think this is Biblical.  In the illustration of Jesus being tempted by satan, you see satan running away.  The half of satan that you see is portrayed as a rat-like creature with fire. 

With so many wonderful children's Bibles available, I can not recommend this one.  In my opinion there are too many liberties and incorrect assumptions of the Bible.  Instead, I would suggest:

Thank you to Zonderkidz for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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