“The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Jesus Storybook BibleA question I am often asked is, “What grace resources are available for children?” It seems there are hardly any.

In Sunday School children are much more likely to learn about Christian values or the Ten Commandments than they are the unconditional love of their heavenly Father. This should trouble every parent.

It certainly troubles me.

Yesterday I happened to watch a puppet-show on a Christian TV station that was telling the story of how Adam and Eve fell into sin. The puppets very seriously told us that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, which is true, but isn’t the point of the Genesis story at all. I’m glad my kids weren’t watching but if they were, I would’ve told them, “Adam and Eve didn’t fall because they disobeyed. They disobeyed because they believed a terrible lie.” Their disobedience was a symptom of a far more serious problem.

Do you see the difference? The first message is “Do what you’re told,” but the second is, “Be careful who you listen to.” And right there is the difference between life and death and the health of our children.

At church and at school the message our kids often hear is, “Do what you’re told. Obey and keep the rules.” This is fine if you wish to raise servants and slaves. But if you have higher aspirations for your children, you need to tell them better stories.

For the past few years I have been doing exactly that. I have been telling my children stories that are intended to leave them awestruck at the grace and wonder of God. For a long time I didn’t know anyone else who was doing this, until someone introduced me to The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is a children’s Bible unlike any other. Yes, it has all the usual Bible stories – Abraham, Noah, David, Joseph, et al. But these are presented as chapters in a greater Story, an adventure story “about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure” (p.17).

The success of The Jesus Storybook Bible is that every individual story is connected to the deeper Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It’s a brilliant piece of story-telling.

For the past few months I have been reading chapters from The Jesus Storybook Bible to my five-year-old son and my seven-year-old daughter. It is a tribute to Sally Lloyd-Jones that her book has captivated both of them, and especially my hyperactive son. And the colorful and brilliant illustrations by the artist Jago certainly helped. (My kids loved the picture of Thomas hiding under the table in the upper room.)

Thomas hiding

But ultimately the proof of the pudding is whether our children are able to connect the dots. Can they see the bigger Story behind the individual stories of the flood, the Exodus, or Daniel in the lion’s den? To test this I would ask my kids, “What does this story tell us about Jesus?” or “What does this tell us about God’s love?” And my children gave great answers every time. Thank you, Sally Lloyd-Jones!

I should probably give you a taste of the book, so here’s the bit where God gives the Ten Commandments:

God’s children didn’t trust him or do what he said. They thought they could do a better job of looking after themselves and making themselves happy. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him. So God led them to a tall mountain (and gave Moses the Ten Commandments) … “God promises to always look after you,” Moses said. “Will you love him and keep these rules?” “We can do it! We promise!” But they were wrong. They couldn’t do it. No matter how hard they tried, they could never keep God’s rules all the time. God knew they couldn’t. And he wanted them to know it, too. Only one Person could keep all the rules. And many years later God would send him – to stand in their place and be perfect for them. (pp.103-107)

Is The Jesus Storybook Bible the best grace-based resource written for children? With more than a thousand five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s definitely one of the most popular. If you have shared this book with your children, or if you have found other high-quality grace-based resources for kids, please let us know in the comments below.

26 Comments on “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones

  1. Marion Carter // May 27, 2014 at 12:54 am // Reply

    I haven’t read it, but I’m gonna get it, just the excerpt about the Ten Commandments alone is beautiful. Oh that we had it back in the 90’s when I was involved in children’s ministry, many children wouldn’t have gone away thinking they had to be good to earn anything from God, so deceived were we ourselves who were preaching that stuff to them! Praying that they will hear & receive the real Gospel of grace message. Hallelujah to Jesus that He is opening our eyes!

  2. I always loved the 3 in 1 book by Joanne Marxxhausen. I bought quite a few of these over the years. I would keep one in my guest bathrrom and if they mentioned it I would tell them to take it home with them. Her death explanation book is also very good. You can get it at any Lutheran book store or Amazon.

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I am excited to go get this book for my kids. I always knew there was a disconnect between the typical Bible story book and the purpose for the story in Scripture. What a blessing to find this resource!!!

  4. Steve McVey’s Grace Walks Website has some great bible study books for kids. We love them.

  5. A young mom in my church will occasionally share a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible during our get-togethers. The stories are so encouraging and Christ centered that I purchased the book even though my kids are now adults (grandkids someday?) Lately this same mom has been sharing from another great resource by the same author, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing. I will be purchasing that one, too.

  6. Brad Jersak’s “Children, Can You Hear Me?” is awesome to teach children hearing God’s voice – and that Jesus is SO GLAD to be with them! It can be read as a storybook, or each page can be used as a guide into listening prayer. Amazing Available on Amazon or at Brad’s website.

  7. I LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible! I use it at church and with my own grandson.
    I have been teaching preschoolers at church for over 30 years. The first 20 or so, I taught probably thousands (including my own children) law and that they must obey enough to “deserve” God’s blessings. After I realized the truth of my own identity in Christ, I wanted to teach children the same truths so they could grow up assured of God’s love for them. I could not find ANY grace-based materials, so I wrote the Yes I Am Curriculum.
    Vol. 1 teaches children identity based on God’s good opinion of us. We say “Yes” to His glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Vol. 2 teaches the our behavior is a fruit of who we are in Christ. ex. We ARE kind because Jesus is in us instead of “be kind so Jesus will love you”. Free sample lessons of both Vol 1 & 2 @ http://bit.ly/Yes-I-am

  8. Lynda Reed // May 27, 2014 at 3:49 am // Reply

    The cd with Narration by David Suchet (not 100% on spelling) is also brilliant. His theatrics are captivating!!

  9. Bryan Colbourne // May 27, 2014 at 5:09 am // Reply

    We bought a grace based book for children called “Promiseland” by Lori Zenker who is the wife of the National Director for GraceWalk Canada, Michael Zenker. GraceWalk is a ministry of Steve McVey. You can find this resource for children on GraceWalk Canada’s website.

  10. Yes! We (my three boys and I) do our daily grace devotionals from this book. BTW, thank you for writing this: ” I would’ve told them, “Adam and Eve didn’t fall because they disobeyed. They disobeyed because they believed a terrible lie.” Their disobedience was a symptom of a far more serious problem.” Thank you again for sharing the hyper-grace gospel on this blog! It has helped me understand the important things more than I can express with words.

  11. What is heart breaking to me is that there were no such resources when my son was that age and, even if there had been, I had no idea what grace was. I thank God you have this book now, but more importantly, I thank God your children have you as a father, who knows the love and grace of God in your life and can show it to them; books or no books.

  12. Thank you so much for this… please continue to review any good children’s material… as you said, there is so little. Thanks for all your wonderful articles!

  13. There is a Latin phrase that to me best describes what I believe happens when we attempt to rewrite the Old Testament editing out what God actually said to make it say what we want God to have said which aligns better with our pet doctrine – in this case the doctrine of grace. That phrase is: “reductio ad absurdium”!
    I am 100% committed to the biblical doctrine of “hyper” grace but why do we feel compelled to edit Gods words ? Perhaps God never really meant to say it he way He said it in the Old Testament? Perhaps we need to protect our children from the way God said it? Perhaps God needs us to edit an time down what He said and He needs a little help saying what He said in a little more “grace filled” language?
    Maybe God has changed His mind and wish he wouldn’t have said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat. But from the tree of the knowledge if good and evil you shall not eat.” ???
    Perhaps God is regretting having said it that way and now wishes He would have said something like, “O I didn’t really mean to give that clear command not to eat from that tree. I wish now I would have said ,”Adam you don’t trust Me.”????

  14. Sheryl Fauceglia // May 27, 2014 at 6:53 am // Reply

    I think this is the confirmation I needed to start writing. I’m on it!

  15. margaret stubbs // May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am // Reply

    wanting to let you know that your books are for sale on THE BOOK DEPOSITORY for FREE POSTAGE anywhere in the world (also The Jesus Story Book by Sally Lloyd Jones)

  16. Yes!! Bring on the creative book writers for children!!! Stories that help children understand about choice and wisdom and responsibility, right alongside the One who loves them, enjoys them and can be trusted to teach them and give them his perspective as they grow and learn about good and bad/right and wrong, what God is really like and who they are to Him. Positive, inspiring, attractive stories, full of life that promote the Truth that sets them free!

  17. Thanks for sharing. Will get my hands on it.

  18. I used the curriculum/videos for our church (I run the kids department). It is so hard to find good stuff. I do have to note, I had to skip the crucifixion ‘episode’ and do my own treatment because for all its benefits, it is pretty steeped in penal substitution, which is not compatible with a good God of grace, if you ask me.

  19. Frank Friedmann, a grace teaching pastor in Baton Rouge, LA has written 3 books for kids. “Who Am I”, “I Was Wrong, But God Made Me Right” and “If I’m Right, Why Do I Keep Doing Wrong?” You can see them at http://www.livingingrace.com.

  20. stevescansen // May 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm // Reply

    I have given lots of people Sally Lloyd Jones storybook Bible, and they really enjoyed it, but once they are done with it they have wondered what else is available. I have encouraged them that they need to learn how they by the power of the Spirit are able to understand the whole scriptures point to Jesus as John 5:39 says. Sally says that every story whispers His Name, and I agree, but many people have a struggle to show how they do so. I am convinced that as we begin to search the scriptures for Christ we will by the power of the Spirit be able to connect the stories to the person of Christ. Peter Enn’s has put a curriculum together called “Telling God’s Story” and gives some helpful material, but I am still convinced that we should be able to do this as parents as we begin to see how every scripture points to Jesus.

  21. estrella decierdo // June 15, 2014 at 1:14 am // Reply

    for me for undrstand of story book bible so great . becouse we will by the power of spirit are able to undrstand

  22. maria de freitas // June 20, 2014 at 7:22 am // Reply

    At last, a children’s bible that does not promote condemnation. Thank you so much, Paul, for the recommendation. I shall be tossing out the other children’s bibles, with their ‘something to do’ after every story.

  23. Ed McCarthy // April 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm // Reply

    Thanks so much Paul. My wife asked me about getting a Bible for our 8 yr old grandson who was asking so many questions. What’s amazing is how fast he started making up his own theology! So, we ordered this book for him and he has just loved it. Ordering 4 more for our other young grandchildren. I thank God for you and your ministry nearly everyday. Blessings to you and your wonderful family down under!

  24. Karen Goertz // October 1, 2015 at 11:48 pm // Reply

    Best children’s bible ever. I used it for 10th grade girls in small group! They really got it! I just filled in some of the bible history between stories. Each girl wanted their own copy so they could share with their younger siblings and others. We also read a novel called “Redeeming Love” which was a modern version of Hosea. Fabulous grace story!!

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