Updated: Jan 31
My favorite children’s Bible is the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones because I think Sally does an outstanding job of writing in a style that appeals to children and also points them to the redemption story throughout the whole of Scripture. From the beginning, children understand that Jesus is the promised One. As I explained in one of my earlier posts (https://bethrunkle.com/5-best-ways-to-do-devotions-with-kids/), one of my favorite ways to engage my children in Bible reading and Scripture is by encouraging them to act out the Bible stories during family devotion time. Not only does this make the lesson fun, but it encourages them to remember so much more of the content and truth. Over the next few weeks, I am going to provide you with some ideas for acting out the stories which are included in the Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don’t have the Jesus Storybook Bible, you may read the corresponding lesson from your Bible and still follow my suggestions for acting it out. Here are the first three stories, as presented in the Jesus Storybook Bible:
The Story and the Song (Bible Overview): Sally Lloyd-Jones describes how God wrote His “I love you” message over the world when He created us and also uses the imagery of a some of His creatures like a kitten chasing its tail, red poppies - growing wild, and a dolphin swimming and how this message is conveyed to us by God in the Bible. To illustrate this idea for your children, take a blank peace of paper and draw a heart in the sky and a Bible next to the heart, then below the sky, put a kitten chasing its tail on the land, a dolphin swimming in a body of water, and red flowers growing on the land (later you might allow your child to color this picture). Explain that the Bible isn’t just a book of rules but is a story of what God has done and is going to do to show His love. Ask your children if they know what a hero is? Ask them for an example? Explain that heroes in stories usually always do things well, but the heroes in God’s book, the Bible, do some things well that make God happy (have your child make a happy face), and the imperfect heroes did some things that made God unhappy (have your child make a sad face), but God loved them anyway. Explain that God is the true hero of the story of the Bible and that He never did anything that was wrong or not loving. Ask your child, to stand with their muscles flexed and pretend to be a perfect hero. Explain that unlike fairy tales, the Hero that God chose to send for Him was actually a baby! (Have your children pretend to rock a baby.) This hero was the very best hero of all - He only did what God said and made God very happy - He was perfect.
The Beginning: A Perfect Home (Creation): Assign the following roles (it is ok if family members have more than one role): God, Light, Darkness, Sea, Sky, Space between the Sea and the Sky, Land, Trees, Grass, Flowers, Stars, Sun, Moon, Planets, Birds, Fish, and Animals. As you read the story, act out the account - for example, have God say “Hello light” and then direct the light to act as if shining. As God says hello to each of His creations, have the creation wave back to God. Instruct the space between the sky and the sea to dramatically stretch all around - wide, deep, and high. Direct the land between the oceans to splash and jump up. Command the grass and flowers to jump up and burst then pretend to bud, shoot, and flower. Have the planets whizz around the darkness spinning around and around. Continue to direct the actor for God to speak the spoken parts, such as “Hello stars!” and “You’re good!” Instruct the birds to flutter, flap, chirp, and sing; ask the fish to dart, dash, wriggle and splash. Lead the animals to growl, gobble, snap, and snort. Finish the story with the actor for God saying, “Perfect!”and hugging your physical children and telling them that He loves them more than everything He created and that He would move heaven and earth to be near them and would always love them.
The Terrible Lie (The Fall): Assigns the following roles: Adam, Eve, God, Snake (Satan), Dove, and Deer. Ask Adam and Eve to pretend to walk happily in the garden. Ask the actor playing the snake to first act as an angel and grow proud and evil and full of hate by making mean faces and stomping around angrily. Then, have the angel become a snake and slither on the floor. Instruct the actor for God to share the dialogue in the book with Adam and Eve and then share how He knows they cannot be happy without Him (see the book). Have the snake slither up to Eve and tempt her using the dialogue in the book and hiss loudly. Have the character for Eve wonder aloud, “Does God really love me?” Direct the snake character to share the dialogue in a whispering, sinister voice. Allow Eve to pretend to take a bite of the fruit and then give some to Adam. Share that a terrible lie had come into the world that now lived in every human heart. When you explain the lie, point to your children’s hearts and explain that the lie tells them that God doesn’t love them. Remind them that this is a lie. Then, have the dove fly away and the deer hide in a pretend thicket and act frightened. Instruct Adam and Eve to act as if they realize they are naked and scared and have them hide. Have God call to the children and have Adam and Eve hide further behind something. Using the content in the book, explain how sin had come into God’s perfect world and how their hearts would break. Have God explain to Adam and Eve that they would need to leave the garden using the dialogue in the book. Act out God giving them clothing and gently clothing them and sending them away. Direct Adam and Eve to act if is they are walking on a long journey. Using the book, explain to your children that the story doesn’t end there with God and how God has a plan to get HIs children back and make a perfect home. Have God whisper to Adam and Eve, “It will not always be so; I will come to rescue you. And, when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!”
Next week, I’ll give you suggestions for more of the lessons from the Jesus Storybook Bible.