QUICK HIT – The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories from the old and new testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people from the beginning of time. Keep reading to learn more about this new release from ZonderKidz!
It can be quite the challenge to find a good children’s story Bible. Do you look for the best illustrations? The simplest language? The number and selection of stories told? Do you bypass the “storybook” type altogether and use a full Bible translation intended for children?
And there are Bibles for every age and every type, from stick figure illustrations to stunning masterpieces, from simple language to taken straight out of the old KJV. Where do you even begin?
For me—as a pastor—you must always begin with story selection and faithfulness to the retelling. While The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible is well-written, I do have a few quibbles with its tone and story selection.
First: zero women are prominently featured in this storybook. Even Mary’s story takes a backseat to Joseph in places. This book does a great job of telling all the classics while also including a few stories not in the typical retelling, but no Deborah? That’s a huge oversight for this book, especially considering its theme of seeing the Holy Spirit in each of its stories.
Second, while the theme is unique and even needed in evangelical Christian culture, the book—because of its simplicity—often fails to draw out the relationship between the Spirit of God and the person partnering with God. Instead of the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering, the language reduces human volition and almost makes it seem like the Spirit is using people, not partnering with them. I know that’s not the intent of the book, but there were times were the wording made me pause.
Despite this, the theme of seeing God’s Spirit throughout biblical history is much needed. The Spirit did not spring into existence in Acts 2. He is an eternal, co-equal part of the Trinity. The focus of this book on the work of the Spirit is something that is definitely glossed over or not even attempted in most children’s Bible storybooks.
The selection of stories are mostly good and the way in which they are phrased are perspective changing, even for adults! The Day the Spirit was Sad covers the Flood story, but discussing the story in light of the God’s view, not Noah’s is unique—as is the follow-up The Spirit Makes All Things New Again. I also appreciated the often unread stories, from Bezalel (Ex. 31) to Jahaziel (2 Ch. 20).
Of secondary consideration is the illustrations, which are marvelous. The depiction of the Flood, for example, is a sweeping epic that would look just as good on a canvas in an art museum. The quality of illustration is above and beyond most Bible storybooks. This is one time you can judge a book, at least in part, by its cover!
Overall, if you read to your child often and have a collection of Bible storybooks, this would be a great one to add so that some stories could be added to the rotation. It would not work as your child’s lone source of Scripture or information about God or Christianity (and nothing would be!). This is going on the bookshelf in my child’s room and I’m sure we’ll spend many more nights exploring it. READ A PREVIEW HERE!
Would you like to win your own copy of
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?
Win a children’s book prize pack from Read with Audra!
The prize pack includes a copy of:
Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer’s Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God
About the Author and Illustrator
Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.
Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.