When I first read about The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski, I got very excited. I think I even got goosebumps because the timing of it was one of those “God-timed moments.” I had been searching and browsing and trying to decide which bible story book to read with my kids in 2012.
The subheading on the book grabbed my attention immediately” “The Gospel Story Bible: DISCOVERING JESUS IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.” Presenting God’s plan of salvation through Christ from beginning to end? I love this already!
I kept reading, very excited that it’s based off of the ESV version of the bible, my personal preference for the past 6 years or so, and was intrigued to discover that Marty Machowski is a pastor at Covenant Fellowship church (a Sovereign Grace Ministries church.)
And if these weren’t enough to convince me to give it a try, I pulled up the product page on Christianbook.com and sure enough, it gave me a chance to peek inside at the vividly colorful pages (illustrations by A. E. Macha), read a sample, and browse the table of contents. I was sold.
Now, I tend to shy away from “Story” bibles. I remember growing up, learning the stories, and not gaining an understanding of which books of the bible they came from, or their relationship together, or their context. I was surprised to begin to discover these things as a teenager! However — I’ve come back around full circle with the opinion that, perhaps, story bibles are not ALL bad, as long as you’re reading the bible, too, learning scripture as well, and getting the bigger picture. And, of course, if the story bible is done WELL.
The Gospel Story Bible does not disappoint.
Marty Machowski does not simply tell a child’s version of each story. He includes scripture throughout it. He connects the stories together. He ties each story to the bigger picture, and he leaves each story with a few questions to ask. His tone is also easy, interesting, readable and realistic, not talking down too much or writing too loftily. It is, as he says, a story for the whole family.
Let me share a few examples.
In the story of Creation, Marty says this at the end:
Later in God’s gospel story, we learn one special thing from the apostle Paul. Paul wrote that God the Son, who became Jesus, created all that we see. “All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). That means that God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son were all involved in the creation of the earth…
In the story of Adam and Eve we find this supporting scripture referenced:
King David once said, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
One more, this demonstrates how he ties stories together and makes connections that I didn’t make as a child. In the story of The Tower of Babel, Marty begins with:
Noah’s sons and their wives left the ark and their families grew. Soon the earth began to fill with people again as their children had children of their own and their grand-children raised families, all in keeping with God’s command to fill the earth. All of Noah’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spoke the same language.
I actually wish I could continue with that quote on that last one, and tell you the whole story. I found the way he made it all make sense very interesting and refreshing!
Overall I’m very pleased with the story bible that Marty Machowski has put out, and I’m glad to have found it for our bible study time this year. I’m pleased with the way the content is presented, as I said the pictures are also very colorful and my children always like being read to so they are happy as well. I’m sure it’s possible at some point that I will come across *some* story that I feel was incomplete or inadequate, but I haven’t yet, and flipping through it, I like what I see.
I typically try to present a fair review, listing the things I liked and the things I didn’t like about a book. I like to be honest and straight forward about it, you know? Truth is, I can’t really think of anything I don’t like about it — aside from my reservations about story bibles in general, which I’ve already mentioned. But even then,.. this really does seem to be one of those “done well” story bibles, removing that reservation in regard to this story bible at least, and leaving me just… very happy. I’m enjoying this book,… and I really do think that you would, too.
**Note: I received a copy of The Gospel Story Bible in exchange for an honest review.