Book Review: The Family Illustrated Bible

Reviewing Bibles is one of the most difficult things to do – especially Bibles that are paraphrases for children, because they raise so many questions regarding interpretation and theology.

So here’s the long and short of it: this would be a good Bible for families with children in the 6-10 year old range, but it just wasn’t appropriate for my girls (ages 2 and 4).  The illustrations are fantastic and the “study” notes give great context (both historical and cultural) to the Biblical stories.

My biggest problem with Bibles in this style (and I have some and use them regularly with my girls) is that they present the Bible as a collection of stories – so it becomes little different than a big book of Dr. Seuss or Grimm’s fairy tales.  They too often fail to connect the stories with each other to form The Story – that over-arching story of a God who goes to extraordinary (divine) lengths to rescue and redeem a lost and fallen people.  The other issue with Bibles like this is the amount of Scripture they omit – much of the wisdom literature and prophets in the Old Testament and over 1/2 of the New Testament.  This particular Bible basically ends with Acts (though there is one page devoted to “The Letters of Paul” and one page devoted to “The Book of Revelation”, but they hardly do the contents justice)

Now I understand that when you create a book of “stories” it is hard to include scripture that doesn’t fit into the “story” genre, but it also gives a misrepresentation to our kids about what the Bible is.  My girls need to understand that not all of the Bible is nice, neat stories – some if it requires thought and energy to both read and understand.  And that’s what this Bible lacks.

Over all I’ll give it 3/5 stars.  For the record, I received this book free from the publisher for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review.


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