Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Family Illustrated Bible

What is a Bible? My definition of The Bible is the 66 God-inspired books of the Old Testament and New Testament. I have mentioned before that it annoys me when a book purports to be a Bible when it is actually just a collection of Bible stories chosen by the book’s editor, and most often paraphrases of the Scriptural story (**and when I say story, I in no way mean to imply that they are fictional—I mean a section/happening from Scripture). Honestly, if it’s a book of stories from the Bible, call it that, not a Bible!!

This book is called The Family Illustrated Bible, and although it is not a Bible (as discussed above), it is a book filled with stories from throughout the Old and New Testaments. Each story is nicely illustrated and the Bible reference from which it was taken is cited at the top of the page. It’s eye-catching for sure. Sprinkled throughout the text are 2-page spreads which give current day information about the places, archaeological finds, etc.—with plenty of pictures as well. I loved this about this book—the current-day connection is great for reminding people that it is not in fact a “made up” book.

I will however, say that there are several things that concern me about this book. In the introductory section, to me it sounded like it was written by a nonbeliever, just in kind of a documentary form—for instance when it talks about Old Testament prophecy—it doesn’t say it is fulfilled in the New Testament, but rather that “Christians believed. . .or Christians linked. . .” they’re not saying it WAS fulfilled, but rather that that is what Christians thought. There are other things—liberties taken by the author in her paraphrasing of the story—which are not in the Bible. This may sound nit-picky, but if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not in the Bible! It bugs me when kids are told a Bible story a certain way and then believe it as truth—even if it’s not in the Bible (for instance the apple/rather than “fruit” thing with Eve {not in this book, thankfully!}) A little embellishment or “imagination” goes into stories as people tell them, and as long as it’s understood to be just that, fine, but when it’s taught it should be from the Scripture itself. Okay, off my soapbox  Another large concern to me was the book’s use of the BCE and BC terminology over the traditional BC/AD. It’s not even as if BC/AD are outdated—they’re used by most people—this BCE/BC thing looks to me like another way to take Christ out of our daily life.

All in all, would I recommend this book? I don’t know. It’s easy to read to your children, and has attention-grabbing illustrations. I love the archaeological explanations and the current-day pictures of Bible scenes. BUT it’s not a Bible, and it should be remembered that it is just a person’s re-telling of some of the Bible stories. If accuracy is what you’re after, read the Scriptures to your family and you can go from there.

I received a copy of this book for free from New Leaf Press in exchange for my honest review.

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