“Just” the Bible Is Enough

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This year I wanted to start with Creation and tell the children the stories of the Bible systematically. However, I couldn’t find a Bible story book I really loved.

As you know, I tend to overanalyze things. Sometimes that paralyzes me from ever starting. Plus, I’m really, really, really picky when it comes to Bible story books, especially since this would be our first time to start at the beginning and go through the Bible.

I was getting discouraged.

One collection seemed way too cartoonish. Another skipped important stories, like Abraham and Isaac, but spent chapter after chapter describing the priest’s clothes and provisions. Another portrayed Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes.

My friend Jenn recommended an amazing looking story Bible, but Joshua wanted to take a look at it before I ordered it. We got busy and weeks passed.

At a friend’s excellent suggestion, I started having morning Bible reading time with the children (a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Scripture when you don’t have energy to get up before the kiddos!) Then the realization that parents have been telling stories straight from the Bible to their children for millennia hit me in the head. If parents throughout the ages have done it, I probably can too.

So, we started with the book of Genesis and are working our way through. It has been so exciting exploring God’s story together, with just the Bible and us!

While the children finish their breakfast, I pull out my Bible and read them the story. Some parts I condense, some parts we take extra time to talk about, and some parts I gloss over. But most of the story I just read as it’s written.

Not only am I loving it, the children cannot wait for the next chapter each morning and regularly ask me, “please read the next story!”

Something else that’s really amazed me: even the not-so-nice stories of the Bible are wonderful teaching tools. I was tempted to skip over the story of Noah’s drunkenness. Isn’t that a bit too, um, not nice for my kids? I thought. But I did read it. And we referred to it often in our daily training. When they’re tempted to be silly about sin, we talk about Noah, his wise sons, and his foolish son.

Even though angels stand in awe of His Story, God has made it simple enough for even children to begin to grasp. And love!

Very important clarification: If you have a Bible story that you and your children love, that’s wonderful. The point of this post is not to make you second-guess yourself. (I love what Jenn said about supplementing the reading of God’s Word with Bible stories designed for kids.) But for any moms like me who keep looking, be encouraged! “Just” the Bible is enough to captivate a child.

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking Redeemed, Our Simple Country Life, & Proverbs 31

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  1. says

    Great post, Anna! Why do we “have” to have “children’s Bibles” to tell or read the stories to children? The Bible is so incredible. It’s so complex that people who spend their entire life studying it still don’t understand everything, yet a young child can understand and learn from it’s pages at the same time.
    When I was young I had a “children’s Bible” with the “comic strip” look (though the pictures were quite realistic for that type), but I couldn’t wait until I could read well enough to get a “big Bible.” When I looked back at the “children’s Bible” years later, I realized that I didn’t like it. I had had a taste of real food and I didn’t want the baby food anymore. 🙂

    • anna says

      You are so right! It really is simply amazing how simple yet complex the Bible is. I feel like I’ve learned so much from reading it with “fresh eyes” as my children gasp or laugh or sit their in disbelief at stories I’ve read so many times that I’d begun to take them for granted.

  2. says

    love love LOVE this article, Anna! I feel quite strongly about this myself, and you presented a wonderful truth in such a graceful way – by taking us along on your own journey! I pray that God continues to bless the reading of His Word with your children!

    • anna says

      Thanks Stephanie! I hope the children have been as blessed as I have been. It’s been so wonderful to get to see the Scriptures again “for the first time” through their eyes.

    • anna says

      Yes, we do! I was so relieved when the realization hit me that I didn’t *need* a children’s Bible… and had to laugh at myself for all the stress trying to find one.

  3. says

    Thanks so much for your article. I too read to my children straight from the Bible versus a children’s story Bible, I have found that they understand it just fine and there are a lot of details that the story Bibles leave out that are great teaching tools. Just found your blog today, look forward to following it.

    • anna says

      Welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      It really is amazing how much little ones can understand of the Scriptures… and I am so blessed by getting to relive the wonder and amazement of hearing the stories for the very first time.

  4. says

    We are doing daily Bible readings with the kids at our house too. They’re doing great. We have been doing recitation at the same time. After a week of repeating it once or twice at our morning reading they can say it easily. Even the 4 year old has memorized a lot of scripture that way. But the best part is how easy it is to bring that scripture up day after day as it applies in our ordinary life, cause its right there on the tips of our tongues.

    • anna says

      That’s so wonderful Helene! We’ve finally gotten back into Scripture memory after a long bout with sickness, and I’m constantly amazed at how quickly children learn!

  5. says

    This is a great thought. All too often we look for products to help us out and miss the fact that we have everything we need in God’s Word.

    It’s all too easy to underestimate kids isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Linked here from Growing Home Blog. Blessings.

  6. says

    Very true. God’s Word is enough. We have been schooling with My Father’s World Creation to Greeks this year and I am amazed at how much scripture we have read and how exciting it is.

  7. says

    There is something to be said for the simplification that comes with children’s Bible storybooks. Unfortunately, they are not often just simplified – they’re often altered so they’re no longer accurate. It’s a bummer that there aren’t more authors (or illustrators!) concerned with the accuracy of Scripture who will simplify.

    I know I get bogged down reading through Numbers, and my young children certainly do, even more so. But we’re not going to go reading to them about how “God got tired” after six days of Creation, so He rested, or other such nonsense that is often found in children’s books!

    We read a chapter a night at our house – it’s good for them to hear it, and to develop the habit. But I have say that I’m not at all confident my 5yo understands a lot of what we read. (The 10yo does, though, and is starting to ask some good questions!)

    • anna says

      I’m sure there are some great children’s Bible storybooks, but some I’ve read have made me practically shudder!

      We skipped ahead to the Gospels at Christmas time so we could read the stories kind of along with the major church holidays (Advent, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost) so we skipped quite a bit of the Old Testament (including Numbers) last year. I probably will focus mainly on reading all the stories once we start over in Genesis. 🙂

  8. says

    Your post brought back precious memories of reading the Bible with my children which are now all grown. One thing I also did was to get each child a giant print inexpensive KJV Bible ( I wanted the richness of the language) and as a part of our beginning reading instruction, we would “read” the Bible together. My children would follow my finger and read any word they might recognize such as “a, an, the” etc as I read a verse or two. We always started in Genesis. I am looking forward to continuing this practice when my grandchildren are a bit older.

    • anna says

      When I was growing up we did something similar during family devotions. It was so fun when each child “graduated” to getting to read verses as we read around the family circle. Rose has loved opening up the Bible and reading whatever her eyes land on, and I’m sure she’d love something like that!


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