Teaching Children the Gospel
The Bible is our primary teaching curriculum in the discipleship work of our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). In addition, there are great supplemental resources that can assist in the journey. This page features books/media that have been useful to my family in nurturing our children in the gospel.
Parenting can be hard; praises to the God who perfects His strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). In all, "may the God of peace ....equip [parents] with everything good that [we] may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Truth and Grace Memory Book
Editor: Thomas K. Ascol
Publisher: Founders Press, Reprinted 2005
Why I Love It: My husband and I have chosen the Truth and Grace Memory Book as our catechism curriculum. I've heard Pastor Sinclair Ferguson describe catechism as putting Velcro on the hearts of children so that understanding, when it comes, sticks more firmly. We've enjoyed using these books for three reasons: 1) It employs historic orthodox teaching including The Shorter Catechism of The Westminster Assembly and the Heidelberg Catechism; 2) the books are organized by age (it begins as early as 2) and grade level, which makes it easy to teach; 3) It includes Scripture and hymn memorization. We have enjoyed learning together as a family!
The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross – the true story of why Jesus died and rose again
Author: Carl Laferton (illustrated by Catalins Echeverri)
Publisher: The Good Book For Children, 2016
Why I love it: This is a favorite children's books. In many ways, it is a "Bible story-line" overview for kids, tracing God's work in the Garden of Eden to the cross of Christ. The book is stunningly illustrated and captures the vision of Revelation 7:9, the glorious diversity of the church. I especially love the book's repetition of the phrase: "Because of your sin, you can't come in...BUT I died on the cross to take your sin...so all my friends can now come in!" My husband and I have made this phrase a sort of "catechism" for explaining what sin does and what Christ has done on our behalf.
Everything a Child Should Know about God
Author: Kenneth N. Taylor (illustrated by Jenny Brake)
Publisher: Tyndale House, 2014
Why I Love It: This book was my favorite children's book in 2015. It served well as reading material for family worship for weeks! In many ways, it's a systematic theology book for little ones. It's a 10 chapter, 188 paged book that addresses topics including: what is the Bible, creation, who God is, the problem of sin, why Christ came, how the Holy Spirit helps us, why we go to church, and when Jesus comes back. These big ideas are explained in a child-friendly style. The book is beautifully illustrated and reflects Revelation 7:9's vision of a diverse church. What a treasure for family devotions!
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden
Author: Kevin DeYoung (illustrated by Don Clark)
Publisher: Crossway, 2015
Why I Love It: The Biggest Story shares the goal of The Jesus Storybook Bible--both are determined to tell the Big Picture Story of the Bible through smaller stories. The Biggest Story stands apart in that it goes further to uncover some of the lesser known biblical themes of Scripture. For example, DeYoung speaks of Jesus throughout the book as the new Adam, the only One able to succeed where the first Adam failed; He alone can restore us to the Revelation 22 garden. The book is a vividly illustrated Bible story-line book for children (and their parents). It clearly exalts the snake-crushing King of Glory!
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers His name
Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones (illustrated by Jago Silver)
Publisher: Zonder Kidz, 2007
Why I Love It: The Jesus Storybook Bible is a massive 348-paged book with the mission to "tell the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible." Beautifully illustrated and almost poetic in voice, the book tells 21 Old Testament and 23 New Testament stories--puzzle pieces that fit together to reveal the Big Story of God's rescue of sinners through Jesus Christ. It's a great book to help point children away from "the moral of the story" to God's work of salvation through Christ.
I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Author: Diane Stortz (illustrated by Diane Le Feyer)
Publisher: Tommy Nelson, 2016
Why I love it: Beginning with the Creator (Genesis) and ending with the King of Kings on a white horse (Revelation), the book uses Bible stories to explain 40 names and titles of God. Stories are followed by short devotionals aimed to help children see how the title/name shows who God is and what He does. Each chapter ends with a prayer and a "learn more" section with additional Scriptures and Bible story-line notes for further study. This is a beautifully illustrated companion to your family devotional materials for sure!
Words About God: To Help You Worship Him
Author: Nicholas Choy
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications , 2012
Why we love it: Creator. Aseity. Spirit. Personal. Eternal -- this book takes 28 attributes of God and provides a sound and simple definition for each, along with Scripture verses for further reading. It's been said that everyone is a theologian. If so, this small book will certainly help your young theologian in his/her knowledge of the one true God.
Children's Books by R.C. Sproul
Author: R.C. Sproul
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Why I Love It: The Priest with Dirty Clothes is my favorite children's book by Dr. R.C. Sproul. The story is based on Zechariah 3:1-5--the vision of Joshua the high priest--and R.C. Sproul tells a beautiful fictional tale aimed to explain the concept of imputed righteousness. Parents will find the book useful in helping children to see Christ as our substitute, not just in judgement but also, in righteousness. And if the The Priest with Dirty Clothes helps children to see Christ as our substitute in righteousness, then The Prince's Poison Cup is the companion book in showing Christ as our substitute in judgement. Both books (as well as all of Dr. Sproul's children's books) are must haves!
Sammy and His Shepherd: Seeing Jesus in Psalm 23
Author: Susan Hunt (illustrated by Cory Godbey)
Publisher: Reformation Trust, 2008
Why I Love It: Sammy and His Shepherd is an easy to read Christological commentary on Psalm 23 for children. The 11 chapter book uses the story of Sammy the sheep and his "discipleship" of Precious, a new sheep in Sammy's shepherd's flock, to highlight the attributes of the Good Shepherd and the many benefits He affords those in His sheepfold. Susan Hunt offers a verse-by-verse exposition of Psalm 23 in a story families will simply love!
God's Very Good Idea: A True Story of God's Delightfully Different Family
Author: Trillia Newbell (illustrated by Catalina Echeverri)
Publisher: The Good Book Company, 2017
Why we love it: Before the foundation of the world, God had a very good idea -- dark, light, small, big, tall, wavy, curly, different tongues, different peoples, all made in His image, enjoying and loving Him! Why should we love and respect every person? Trillia Newbell answers the question with the Big Story of God's creation and redemption through Christ. This is a beautiful book that celebrates, in words and in pictures, God's good idea of diversity-- a must-have for your library and faithful gospel teaching.
Little Hands Learning to Pray
Author: Carine Mackenzie
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications , 2010
Why we love it: This book served well as a family devotional for a number of weeks. It's 139 pages are divided into various chapters with stories of how people in the Bible spoke with God, distinguishing between prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Each story includes Scripture references, a question that focuses on the story, something to spot in the pictures and a main idea for the day. I recommend it and only wish the illustrations were more reflective of the diverse people of God (Revelation 7:9).
How God Changes People: Conversion Stories from the Bible
Author: Carine Mackenzie
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications , 2012
Why we love it: My prayer for my young children is true spiritual conversion -- not merely "good behavior." A book that traces the conversion stories of 28 diverse people in Scripture can help demonstrate the power of God's Word and Spirit to save and change hearts. This is a great book for your teaching library. Sadly, the illustrations could have been more reflective of Scripture's vision of God's diverse people (Revelation 7:9).
Mark's Marvellous Book: Learning about Jesus through the Gospel
Author: Alan Mann
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications, 2015
Why I Love it: Coincidentally, I was reading through the book of Mark at the same time my husband and I were reading this book to our children. Comparing what I read in the Gospel of Mark to these summarized stories for children brought the book to life for me and added to my personal enjoyment of it. This book would serve well as your child's personal "commentary" to the Gospel of Mark. It does well in sharing who Jesus is and what He has accomplished on our behalf in a charming and child-friendly voice.
Author: Tim Dowley
Publisher: Candle Books, 2010
Why we love it: The book is aimed at children ages 7 and older, taking them on an interactive tour of the book of Acts as they follow Paul in his missionary journeys. In addition to maps and notes on the Greco-Roman world, each chapter of the book comes with a letter, tacked within the pocket of the page, summarzing the theme of a Pauline epistle!
God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies
Author: Justin S. Holcomb & Lindsey A. Holcomb
Publisher: New Growth Press, 2015
Why we love it: I've written an article for Christianity Today on the usefulness of this book in equipping young children to protect themselves from the potential of sexual abuse. The book is recommended for children ages 2 to 8 and it gives needed guidance to parents in discussing sensitive topics with children--like private parts, inappropriate touches, and secrets--without losing the important message that our bodies are beautiful and good creations of God.
Theo: Church Edition
The above video is a Bonus Session available on all three Theo Church Edition DVD sets.
Produced By: LifeWay Christian Resources
Why I Love It: Theo Church Edition comes in three DVD sets, each with four 10-minute episodes (see LifeWay for a breakdown of the sets and episodes). The episodes are beautifully animated, age-appropriate (4-12 ages) videos that serve well in teaching children concepts like saving faith, redemption, justification, adoption, and what is the church? Each episode features a fun story-line with Theo (our animated theologigan) and his friends that serves as an illustration to the Bible passage and/or lesson. My children love to watch Theo (and so do I)!
Why We Love It: My children have enjoyed watching Owlegories, a "new animated series that teaches kids about God through the amazing things found in nature and revealed in God's Word!" The series is based on Psalm 19:1-4 and each episode addresses the theme of creation and "explores the nature of God as the Creator of the Universe through the use of allegories, metaphors and analogies." Episodes end with a brief explanation of the theme by a known teacher.
Torchlighters Series: Children's Heroes from Church History
The above clip is a promo for Torchlighters: The Perpetua Story
Produced By: Christian History Institute
Why I Love It: The Torchlighters series is a fantastic resource for teaching "church family history" to children. These are animated, true-life stories of Christian heroes retold for young people (some of the stories are intense so parents may want to view them before showing to very young children). Each Torchlighter episode comes with a documentary and other features. You can order individual stories or a box set featuring the tales of some of the following Christians: Augustine, Gladys Aylward, Corrie Ten Boom, William Booth, John Bunyan, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Eric Liddell, Martin Luther, Samuel Morris, Perpetua, Robert J. Thomas, William Tyndale, John Wesley, and Richard Wurmbrand.
SEEDS OF FAITH CDs and DVDs
Produced by: Seeds Family Worship
Why I Love It: Seeds of Faith puts Scripture to songs for children and families. To learn a Seeds of Faith song is to memorize a Scripture passage. The songs are well-done and fun to sing along with. But above all, they are useful for memorizing God's Word.