We are thrilled to announce that Sally Michael’s long anticipated Bible resource, More Than a Story: Old Testament, is now at the printers with a projected December 1 release date! What can you expect to find in this fully illustrated, 432 page volume? Following is the description I wrote for the book’s Introduction.
For the past three decades, I have had the great privilege of teaching the Bible to children. I can honestly say that the longer I teach, the more I am absolutely stunned by the grandeur and power of God’s written Word. The answer to every pressing question, every longing of the heart, every struggle of the will, and every hope of all-satisfying joy is found in the Bible. Therefore, there is no more pressing need than for our children to become fully acquainted with the Bible. Parents—and every believer—this is your sacred responsibility and privilege. Timothy’s mother and grandmother knew this to be the case. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Now more than ever, our children need to know, understand, and embrace the truths of Scripture. Toward that end, they also will benefit from solid Bible resources that not only reveal and explain the grand narrative of Scripture but also clearly help children understand the particular parts. Furthermore, they need Bible resources that serve to guide, challenge, and urgently impress upon them the need to whole-heartedly respond to God’s Word with faith in Christ, resulting in love, honor, obedience, and worship of Him. I am delighted to say that More Than a Story is such a resource. It stands out as a unique discipleship tool for acquainting children with God’s holy Word. Here are some distinguishing features that I deeply appreciate about this resource:
A Reverence for God’s Holy Word
More Than a Story treats God’s Word in the manner it rightly deserves. The clearest evidence of this is the sizable amount of biblical text included in every chapter and the meticulous care given to explain biblical truths clearly and accurately—nothing fanciful, exaggerated, silly, or speculative. Your child will be continuously reminded of the authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency of the Bible. God’s Word is truly “more than a story”!
A Comprehensive Introduction to the Breadth and Depth of Scripture
By the time your children finish reading the Old and New Testament volumes of More Than a Story, they will have taken a chronological survey of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They will have discovered the Bible’s many books and literary genres, as well as the major events, people, places, and themes. Additionally, your children will be exposed to the disciplines of biblical theology, systematic theology, and moral instruction, all grounded in the gospel.
Child-Appropriate Without Compromising the Text
There is a great tendency when writing for children to take too much creative license in order to make the resource more “child-friendly”—fun and engaging. Sadly, children are often left with a delightful and memorable storyline but one that leaves out or minimizes essential biblical truths. This resource uses child-appropriate language to creatively convey biblical stories and truths, without compromising the nature or intent of the text.
A Clear Presentation of the Key Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Throughout More Than a Story, you will find numerous phrases and statements highlighted in bold font. These serve to develop a systematic theology for your children by highlighting key doctrines essential for the Christian life—doctrines concerning God, creation, man, the fall, redemption, providence, the church, and many more.
A Serious and Sober Portrayal of the Problem of Sin
One of the unique features of More Than a Story is its depiction of the essence, pervasiveness, and problem of sin. Chapter after chapter your children will be confronted by the utter wretchedness of man’s sin against a holy and righteous God. Rather than being distressed by this, consider it a great gift meant to point your children toward utter dependence on Christ. As D. A. Carson has stated:
There can be no agreement as to what salvation is unless there is agreement as to that from which salvation rescues us. The problem and the solution hang together: the one explicates the other. It is impossible to gain a deep grasp of what the cross achieves without plunging into a deep grasp of what sin is; conversely, to augment one’s understanding of the cross is to augment one’s understanding of sin.
To put the matter another way, sin establishes the plot line of the Bible.1
Grounded in the Gospel
Every chapter in this book is grounded in the glorious reality of the gospel. Every chapter points Christ-ward. However, in saying this, it is important to note that not every chapter in the Old Testament volume of More Than a Story overtly mentions Christ’s redeeming work on behalf of sinful man. Rather, the author carefully lets the historical, progressive nature of Scripture unfold. This lays the crucial foundation on which to build true understanding and appreciation for the person and work of Christ. Where warranted, key connections to Christ are emphasized.
Guides Children in How to Study the Bible
Not only do children need to become acquainted with the actual text of Scripture, they also need to be taught how to study the Bible. More Than a Story has been written in an interactive manner that prompts children to observe and ask specific questions of a text in order to discover the meaning. This type of interaction not only encourages children to be eagerly and actively engaged, but it also develops critical thinking skills that will serve a lifetime of biblical study as they grow and mature.
Addresses the Mind, Heart, and Will
It isn’t enough for a child to simply know the Bible—although that is the first step in the life of faith. God’s Word must also be embraced by the heart and acted upon by the will. More Than a Story keeps all three realities in mind. Woven throughout every chapter are questions guiding your children to respond to what they read: How does God want me to respond? What should my heart feel and desire? What does God want me to think, be, and do?
Inspires Worship of God, for the Glory of God
Psalm 86 gives a beautiful summary of what biblical teaching is meant to inspire, fuel, and produce.
9All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
11Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
More Than a Story has been written with this glorious, God-centered goal in mind. Every chapter clearly and readily shines forth the incomparable greatness and worth of God, inspiring children to eagerly and whole-heartedly worship Him as their greatest treasure and delight!
In conclusion, More Than a Story is a wonderfully engaging discipleship tool for parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone else who cares for the faith of the next generations. But bear in mind that it is also a serious tool, one conveying weighty truths that require our utmost attention. Will it be worth the added effort? Consider this thought and exhortation from John Piper:
The issue of earning a living is not nearly so important as whether the next generation has direct access to the meaning of the Word of God. We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God’s Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime . . . Lord, let us not fail the next generation!2
Go to Truth78.org/story to read sample chapters and sign up for updates about the December release of More Than a Story: Old Testament.
1 D A Carson, “Sin’s Contemporary Significance,” Chapter 1 of Fallen: A Theology of Sin, edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2013), as republished on www.monergism.com.
2 John Piper, “A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind: Thoughts on the Significance of Reading,” July 13, 2005 https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-compelling-reason-for-rigorous-training-of-the-mind