Figural christology in children's Bibles

The two Bibles my wife and I read to our children are The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, and the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook, by Sarah Young. Their favorite story by far is "the Moses story" (a title I required instead of their original "the Pharaoh story"), which they quickly came to know like the back of their hand.

One night, when I persuaded them to let me read them something other than the Moses story, we read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. To my delight, when we got to the part where the three were thrown into the fiery furnace, and "a fourth figure" was there with them, and none of them were burned by the fire, the text and illustration both delivered on the christological implications of the episode and drew the figural connection implicit within it.

First, my children recognized the fourth figure as Jesus, for the simple reason that he is depicted exactly as he is later in the same Bible. And second, when I began to say, "And because Jesus was with them, the fire didn't burn them up..." I was able to continue, without skipping a beat, "...just like the burning bush. What happened to the leaves on that bush?" To which my children answered, "They didn't burn up!"

And so we had ourselves a little family figural reflection on God's presence when it comes near: both its fearsome power and its power to save. A reflection rooted in and oriented to christology, stretching across salvation history and the scriptures of Israel and the church. At a 4-year old level.

Give me these Storybook Bibles over historical criticism every day of the week.


  1. No doubt! There's also some decent typology in the Big Picture Story Bible. I haven't seen the 'Jesus Calling Bible Storybook' yet; might check it out...


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