Bible Heroes that Come in All Shapes and Sizes

I’ve talked before on here about how hard it can be to write a good children’s Bible. In addition to those afore-mentioned difficulties (linked), there is the challenge of what to include and what to exclude in so limited a space. Should Daniel be given precedence over Paul? How about Jonah vs. Joseph? Should some mention be made of Temple? And what on earth should you do with the book of Revelation?

Image: Amazon

One answer is just to write a whole series of such books on everyone from Deborah to Samson to the perhaps unfortunately named “Heroes of Babylon.” (Presumably the author means heroes in Babylon–not, like, Gilgamesh and Utnapishtem or anything like that.) Most recently I’ve read through the Little Bible Heroes Storybook, which I suppose to be a compendium of all or most of the other, shorter, volumes.

Overall, this book is fine. It’s theologically solid enough, and handles some difficult issues with appropriate tact (given the age level it’s aimed at). Noah is included, but the death of everyone else on the planet is not. Rahab gets a chapter, but her role as a part of the oldest profession is not.

That said, there are some oddities here and there about the book. For one thing, in a book titled Bible “Heroes”, there is at least one chapter (“Creation”) that focuses on an event, instead of on a ‘hero.’ What’s more, some of the choices of people as a ‘hero’ are a bit strange. For example, “Martha” is of course in the Bible, and an important person in the Gospels. But is she a ‘hero’, by any definition of the term?

And of course there’s the broader fact that the only real hero in the Bible is Jesus. Everyone else, though they are instruments of God’s providential work in the salvation of His people, are sinners and desperately wicked. By no reasonable definition are they ‘heroes.’ Obviously that’s not something a children’s book needs to harp on extensively, but I’m not sure it should be ignored either.

I have no comment on the art in the book. I do have a comment on the “Free Video With Each Story” aspect. I’m sure these videos are fine (though I didn’t watch any of them), but I honestly don’t buy a book to read with my kid hoping that we’ll get to watch a bit of TV instead. And you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re going to go back to your book after picking up your smart phone.

And that is a shame, especially since the Little Bible Heroes Storybook is a book that should be read rather than set aside.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO. 

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