For Christians, one of the worst things to do is to treat the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as so many Aesopian-like fables, each with a “moral,” and not much else. Unfortunately, that is the approach too many Christian Bible story books take. However, Jesus explained the way the Old Testament was to be read; we are to come to see that the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms were concerned with Jesus (Luke 24.26-27, 44-45). That is what makes Marty Machowski’s The Gospel Story Bible such a refreshing change in the Bible Story Book genre. This 313-page, highly glossy hardback is written in such a way as to shape the perceptions of children, and their adult story-readers, that they may grow accustomed to seeing Jesus in all the Scriptures.
The Gospel Story Bible is true to its subtitle, Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments. Beginning with the creation account and working its way through into Revelation, all in 156 segments, it becomes quickly obvious that Machowski is serious about “discovering Jesus” in all of Scripture. Each story, told in order, is roughly two pages long. After recounting the Bible episode, the author then brings out the connection between the story and some aspect of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. There is plenty of ethical material pointed out, where appropriate. Also, as a way of spurring dialogue between adult-readers and children-listeners, there are a few questions at the end of each account. Then the printed chronicle is surrounded by colorful pages and marvelously illustrated scenes, by A.E. Macha, that will attract the eye of both the child and reader.
The way The Gospel Story Bible is written, it can be effortlessly used at home in family settings. But it could also, just as easily, be brought into a church’s Sunday School curriculum. As a matter of fact, glancing at the back of the book, there is an announcement showing two sets of additional curricula that are already available to complement the The Gospel Story Bible reading time. One set of materials is for family use, the other for Sunday Schools.
Machowski has made a delightful venture into the Bible Story genre with The Gospel Story Bible. Though some of the “discovering Jesus” applications may be a bit of a stretch for the reader on occasion, nevertheless the author has given children, their parents and grandparents, and their Sunday School teachers, a beautiful and helpful product, one that strives to remain faithful to Jesus and the way He taught His people to comprehend the Bible. As I was reading through the book, I kept thinking that this is the book I would love to read to my young grandchildren. I highly recommend The Gospel Story Bible.
(Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views.)