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The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back To The Garden by Kevin DeYoung image

The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back To The Garden by Kevin DeYoung

Katie Stringer reviews 'The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back To The Garden' by Kevin DeYoung, Illustrated by Don Clark

A Gift That Ties It All Together

It’s that time of year: Carols, gingerbread, wreath. Making the Christmas fudge twice because the first batch failed. I’ve got my Names Of Jesus Advent Calendar strung up on the stairs and my present pile has ebbed and flowed as I’ve been able to give away gifts ahead of December 25. But there’s still room and still time for a few more thoughtful purchases.

Here then, is something I think is truly special for a child aged 3-12. A gift that ties it all together.

The Reason For The Season

As my 11-year-old and I stand on the promenade at Bronte Beach waiting for Santa to ride in on the inflatable rubber boat, the beach is closed and the surf is pounding. We spot Santa riding through the waves, flanked by two surf life savers in yellow. He’s met by a sea of nippers kids in pink singlets on the sand. The excitement is palpable. My 11-year-old races to the shore to get a good look at Santa and then at a slower pace comes back to me. ‘Did he have any presents?’ I ask. ‘No’, she says, ‘But that’s ok, it’s not the point’. ‘What is the point?’ I ask. ‘Jesus’, she says, ‘I know Jesus is the point of Christmas’. As the crowd disperses I am reminded afresh of the many kids who don’t have that clarity on the reason for the season.

If you have an opportunity to give away a Christian book or a Bible this Christmas go for it! You never know how God will use it in the person’s life you gift it to. And here is a suggestion for your list.

A Fresh Artistic Take On The Whole Bible Story

In ten short chapters with rich colourful illustrations, DeYoung condenses an epic story for a younger generation. We received this book as a present for my young son from his lovely godparents. I read the whole thing in the car on the way home from the beach and thought, ‘Where was this book when I was a kid?’

One Thing I Wish I Understood Better

As a Christian what is one thing you wish you understood better? For me, the answer is easy. I’d love to know the whole story of the Bible better. As a preschooler I grew up in a non-church attending family, but my Dad read the Bible with me every single night. What a blessing! I had a good sense that the Bible was true. I reasoned that my Dad wouldn’t be wasting his time with it if it wasn’t. I enjoyed the stories in it and I had a sense that the whole thing had a beginning, middle and end because Dad would read it methodically and it took us a long time to make it to the end and start again. But I had so many unanswered questions.

I wish I had had a book like this to explain the biblical theology of the Bible. The big story that is The Biggest Story we can ever get to know!

Biblical Theology For Children

Why is biblical theology important for kids? Because it gives them mental pegs on which to organise the Bible stories and truths they learn.  Good teaching pedagogy uses constructivist teaching. You start by explaining the big picture then expand to smaller parts. I never fully grasped the big picture of the Bible as a child because it was never explained to me, but as I have dug into whole Bible books over time as an adult and completed Bible Studies like Full of Promise (Old Testament overview, Matthias Media) I've pieced it together. To have this framework explained first─to grow up with it─is extremely helpful. When the Bible is presented as a unified whole I believe this helps to build confident, mature Bible readers. 

As Ed Clowney writes, ‘There are great stories in the Bible ... but it is possible to know Bible stories, yet miss the Bible story ... The Bible has a storyline. It traces an unfolding drama ... If we forget the storyline we cut the heart out of the Bible.’ (The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament)

Five Reasons To Go Get It!

  • Not another kids’ Bible. This is not a kids’ Bible but a book that will make your Bible for your kids more readable, understandable and interesting. Every time you read a Bible story with your kids you want them to see where it fits like a puzzle piece in the big completed puzzle. This book helps you build that framework.
  • Biblical theology for kids. Making the overarching story of the Bible transparent for children─something they can learn and retell─makes a difficult text more accessible. I get very excited about biblical theology because I've come to it late in the piece. It has blown open a world of riches to mine in my understanding and application of the Bible. I wish I had been introduced to it from day dot.
  • It's a great Christmas present. If your kids or nieces or nephews don't have it, buy it for them. And pray God will use it to bless them.
  • The artwork. It’s modern and colourful and full of interesting patterns and shapes. None of the illustrations are obvious. You have to work a bit to get them. They are satisfying for children and adults to pore over together and they complement and enhance the prose.
  • Emotion with truth and accuracy in telling. The highs and lows of this incredible story are captured beautifully by DeYoung. He does a good job of keeping the emotion while sticking closely to the facts of the Bible. I have read other children’s Bibles that have got the theology right but missed the emotion. DeYoung’s telling of the whole Bible story is very moving.

A Promise For Us And For Our Children

Deep in the section on Exile, in chapter 7, flanked by pages of illustrations with dark backgrounds shines a page of rich yellow. 

Believe it or not,
God’s promises hadn’t gone anywhere.
In fact, God kept making more promises all the time.
God promised that the Snake Crusher─Abraham’s child, Judah’s lion, David’s son─would come from Bethlehem.
God promised he would be born of a virgin.
God promised a messenger to prepare the way.
God promised that the Deliverer would die and live again and be a light to the nations.
God promised lots of amazing things. (p. 92)

We want our children to go in search of the many promises given to us by our great God in his great Book. They’re the best things we could ever give our children and this book is a helpful tool in that great task. I recommend it under your tree this year. Have a blessed Christmas!

Katie loves summer and all the opportunities it brings for swims and reading in shady spots. Katie is a wife, and mother to three children. She is also a High School Scripture Teacher and runs a student lunchtime group. She leads a women's Bible Study at her local church and enjoys writing book reviews. 

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