Paul Reynolds. 66 Books One Story: A Guide to Every Book in the Bible. Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013. 235 pp. $18.99.
What does discipleship look like for kids? What do they need? How do they learn? Three priorities should affect the way children’s ministry leaders answer these questions. Let’s take a look at these three priorities and see how Paul Reynolds’s new Bible guide for families, 66 Books One Story, addresses each.
The Priority of Parents
The Bible identifies parents—not pastors or Sunday school teachers—as those primarily responsible for teaching kids about God (Deut. 6:7; Ps.78:1-7). The home is the frontline of children’s ministry. But most parents aren’t professional Christian educators, so embracing this task often accompanies some occupational hazards. Reynolds, assistant pastor at First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, admits as much: “As parents, when we teach our children from the Bible it exposes our lack of knowledge and understanding” (10). A pastor’s responsibility is to come alongside parents and equip them with knowledge of God’s Word so that they can teach it to their kids. 66 Books One Story aids this pastoral task as a Bible handbook for parents and their elementary-age children (ages 7 to 12). Each chapter overviews one book of the Bible and then gives key teaching points and application questions. The goal is “to provide parents with a useful overview of Scripture to use as a base not just for teaching their children but also for their own study” (10).
The Priority of Jesus
The second and most important priority is Jesus’ central place in the Bible’s message. Speaking to the religious leaders of his day, Jesus observed: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). The deepest concern of the gospel-centered movement is that believers can receive biblical teaching but miss Jesus. As Sally Lloyd-Jones writes at the beginning of The Jesus Storybook Bible:
The Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves. (14-15).