spark-story-bibleRecently a sixth grade girl told me that she had read the whole Bible.

I said: “Wow! Really? That’s great!”

She said: “Yeah! It was a children’s Bible and I read the whole thing!”

To be honest, after that revelation I wasn’t as impressed as I was before. That doesn’t count, does it? I mean, I’ve read the whole Bible before… the real Bible. The one with ALL the words and without any pictures. My accomplishment is better, right?

Well, it’s not a competition or a bragging right.

Engaging with God’s Word, whether a children’s Bible with pictures and/or the “real” Bible without pictures, is what matters.

This story highlights the tension publishers hold between staying true to the text of Scripture and making it readable, applicable and captivating to children. The Big Picture Story Bible focused on telling the overarching story line of the Bible and the Read and Share Bibles retold the Bible stories in 2-page, bite-sized pieces.

Parents and churches looking for children’s Bibles hold a similar tension. They are looking for a Bible that is true to Scripture, but also hold their child’s attention. Sometimes children’s Bibles do good at one or the other to varying degrees.

Here what I like about the Spark Story Bible

It’s got incredible graphics! They are loud, over-the-top, and fun. The illustrations cover the pages. They are great!

It’s a thick, big, heavy children’s Bible. It communicates that their is a lot of content to the Bible, at least at a glance.

There are 150 Bible stories in the Spark Story Bible: 46 in the Old Testament and 104 in the New Testament (it seems a little weighted toward the NT doesn’t it?).

At the end of every story, there is something to do. My girls love these action things.

action-step

Here’s what makes me a little nervous…

Before I say this let me preface that I am a connoisseur of the Bible. It’s important to me as a student of God’s Word, a follower of Jesus, and as a teacher, that we get the story right. I’m all for imagination (after all I work with children), but it’s important, even in our embellishments, that we get the story right. That it’s accurate. We need to be careful in this regard (in my opinion).

There are frequent inaccuracies in the Bible stories. They are minuscule… most people would never notice them. I’m just being honest with you. When I was reading through the various stories, getting a feel for the content so I could highlight this children’s Bible well, I would read something then furrow my brow at the subtle discrepancy. One or two would be somewhat excusable in a children’s Bible, but it happened more frequently that I needed to mention it.

Take or leave this one…

The Spark Story Bible ad-libbed too much for me, personally. If you want a story Bible that helps a child (and you) imagine the conversation between Adam and Eve while they were naming the animals, great. This children’s Bible does just this. Whether it’s Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt, or the story of Mary and Martha, the dialogue left to the imagination in Scripture is filled out in this children’s Bible. Some will like this, others won’t.

Conclusion

I think the Spark Story Bible is usable if you are can overlook, or even counter-teach, some of its subtle discrepancies.

“The Spark Story Bible brings God’s Word to life through colorful art and rich retelling of 150 of the most popular Bible stories. Easy to read aloud-uses creative language familiar to kids and full page vibrant artwork. 150 Bible stories-an excellent foundation for a biblical education. Encourages imagination through images and text that is engaging, thought provoking, and fun! Engages children with an activity suggestion or query for every story. Designed for Age 2 through Grade 2” (product description).

Specifics

Is the Spark Story Bible a full text of the Bible? No.
Does this story Bible have a lot of Bible stories in it? Yes.
Are the major Bible stories present? Kind of… less in the Old Testament, and lots in the New Testament.

Number of pages: 555
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, April 1, 2009

These story Bibles are available at:

  • This story Bible is not available @ Wesleyan Publishing House as it a publication of Augsburg Fortress, which is the publishing house for the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America
  • Amazon Spark Story Bible
  • Not available on Kindle or iBooks

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Giveaway Details and Instructions

We are giving this story Bible away! Here’s how:

Anyone and everyone is eligible. In order to be included in the random drawing you must do one of the 4 things below.

  1. Comment below this post on your favorite children’s ministry curriculum.
  2. Comment on your favorite children’s ministry curriculum or like the post @ Wesleyan Kids’ Facebook page
  3. Tweet this post or retweet @wesleyankids tweet.
  4. Subscribe to WesleyanKids.org email notifications on the right sidebar of this webpage, titled “Don’t Miss a Single Post.”

The contest is open for one week. At midnight on Tuesday, April 23, the contest will close, and the winner will be picked using a randomizer program and announced the following day.

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