Does it seem strange to you to call a Bible “delightful”? But that’s the word that came to mind when Concordia Publishing House sent me a review copy of The Growing in Faith Bible for children in the highly accurate ESV (English Standard Version) which says:
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them,” Psalm 111:2.
As caretakers of the earth blessed by vital waterways and vivid sunsets, we study those delightful works of the Lord in nature. However, the Bible itself is a work of God to be studied and to fill us with delight.
In this edition for children and (my assessment) beyond, the colorful artwork and unique features will surely help readers to find God Himself delightful. One such feature, the “Verse for Life,” highlights Bible verses for children to memorize and recall throughout their lives. For example:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.
The front pages of the book list the features with an explanation for each, starting with “Parent Connections,” which could also be applied to teachers and other caretakers and says:
“Teach your children the important message and theme in each book of the Bible, raising them to be a child of Jesus Christ, their Savior.”
As the heading implies, “Bible Narratives” give important Bible stories to show “how God loves, forgives, guides, and protects us in our everyday lives.” Then “Christ Connections” reveal “places in the Old Testament that point ahead to Jesus….” while another feature, “Big Questions and Answers,” reflects on things children wonder about and want to know.
To help readers find these features, numerous pages in the back of the book provide lists and related page numbers as well as a concordance and maps.
In addition to relevant prayers at the end of each Bible story scattered throughout the book, the “Topical Prayers in the back matter also have children and young people in mind. Those prayers include the reader’s church, pastor, family, and enemies! And the section “For My Needs” reminds readers to pray for themselves too. For instance, “When I’m Scared” says:
“Lord God, heavenly Father, please help
me; I’m scared. Remind me that You
are stronger than anything You created –
and You control everything that happens.
Take away my fear for Jesus’ sake, and
give me quiet trust in You; through
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Not only does this prayer give a frightened person an appropriate prayer to pray, the words themselves are comforting, faith-building, and filled with delight!
Although there's no Lutheran Church in my small town, and I attend a non-denominational church accepting of all parts of the Body of Christ, I was happy to see the addition of “Martin Luther’s Small Catechism,” which brings up important points for every Christian to consider. Regardless of our age or denominational preferences, we need to know what we believe and why, and this excellent word will help us to do just that. For example, we receive this word of advice:
“…with young people, keep to a single, fixed, and permanent form and wording, and teach them first of all the Ten Commandments, the Creeds, the Lord’s Prayer, etc., according to the text, word for word, so that they can repeat it after you and commit it to memory.”
The brief catechism goes on to explain each aspect of those faith-building tools from God’s word.
With this and other unique features meant to meet a child’s spiritual needs throughout childhood and beyond, this edition comes in a sturdy hardback that should last for many decades of delightful use.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019
The Growing in Faith Bible, hardback