Here are some ideas for each page of the book:
1. The Bible is a very special book.
- We’ve referred to the Bible in all the other books in this series, and now a whole book is about the Bible.
- Little ones are concrete thinkers. So we need to begin with something they know and can relate to—books. So at first we’re going to talk about the Bible in terms of it being a book. But it’s not just any book—it’s a “very special book”.
- So we’re introducing the idea of the Bible’s ‘specialness’ or uniqueness.
- See the notes at the end of this page about picture Bibles.
2. There are lots and lots of books.
- Indeed there are lots of books!
- You can make this more specific for your child by looking at a bookshelf in your, or someone else’s, home. Also, you could go to a library and/or a bookshop. Walk around with your child looking at how many books there are. You can even point out that some are small, some are big, some are thin, some are thick. Lots of books and lots of different books.
- You can also point out the different types of books and topics of books (e.g. a cookbook, a book about birds or animals, a picture book, a book about trees, a book with no pictures etc). Help your child to understand that books are about different things.
3. The best book is the Bible because it is God’s book. In the Bible God tells us lots of important things.
- Now we have the important words “The best book is the Bible”.
- You can remind your child of all the books they saw in the library or the bookshop or on a shelf. Even though there are lots and lots of books, there is one book that is the best! There is one book that’s more important than all of them.
- Why is the Bible the ‘best’ book? Because it’s God’s book.
- The Bible teaches us things. We can learn very important things in the Bible. The Bible tells us what we need to know about Jesus.
- You might find the following Bible passage personally helpful as you think about the Bible: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17, NIV
- Then we read that “in the Bible God tells us…”. We can’t see God and we can’t hear God. It’s not like he’s a physical person we can see and listen to. So how does he ‘tell’ us things? God’s words are in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is called ‘God’s word’.
- Important things that God wants us to know are written down in the Bible. So that means we can ‘listen’ to him when someone reads the Bible to us. And we can ‘listen’ to the Bible, or we can read it, again and again.
- As your little one grows, you can read the Bible to your child (see notes at the end of this section) and you can talk about the important things that the Bible tells. We want them to know that listening to the Bible being read is how God tells us lots of important things.
4. The Bible says God made me.
- How do we know that God made us? Because the Bible says God made us.
- There is another book in the first series called God made me which takes you from the specific (“God made my hands, feet…”) to the more general (“God made all of me”).
- After reading this page, you or your child could point to one body part that God made (e.g. a foot, mouth, tummy, hand, head, etc) and say something like, “God made your mouth. God made all of you!”
- There are many implications of this that your child can learn as they grow.
5. The Bible says God “made us, and we belong to him”. Psalm 100 verse 3
- To reinforce the statement on the facing page, here we have a Bible verse, a part of the Bible, that tells us that God “made us”.
- This verse also says that we “belong to him”. We ‘belong’ to God because he made us. We are his. This is a truth too often forgotten today. Many of us live in societies which tell us the opposite. We are our own person. We don’t belong to anyone. We can do whatever we want. Alas, this is not what the Bible says. The Bible says that our God, our Creator, made us. And because he made us, we belong to him.
- The photo is intentional in including the old and the young. Little children and ‘grandmothers and grandfathers’ (and everyone in between) are all made by God and belong to God. It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, we are all made by God and belong to him.
6. The Bible tells us about all the great things God has done.
- The Bible tells us about God. The Bible tells us about things God has done, about how he shows his love to people.
- The Bible tells us about lots and lots of great things that God has done. See the book God is great.
- Your little one will not yet know of all the great things God has done. But over time as your little one hears the Bible and then is able to read it for himself/herself, they will learn more and more about God’s greatness.
- It’s not like we ever finish learning about God’s greatness. So we want to encourage an enthusiasm towards God and towards the Bible and towards learning more and more about God in the Bible. We don’t stop learning about God when we grow up.
7. The Bible tells us about Jesus.
- The most important role of the Bible is to tell us about Jesus. The Old Testament prepares us for hearing about Jesus and includes promises that are fulfilled in Jesus. The stories in the Old Testament often show us why we need Jesus and they help us learn about God’s love and faithfulness. The ultimate way that God shows his love to us is in sending Jesus.
- Therefore much of the rest of this little book focuses on what the Bible tells us about Jesus.
- In the following passage from the Bible, Paul talks about some of what is written in the Scriptures (the Bible) about Jesus: “what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NIV
8. The Bible tells us how much Jesus loves us. Do you know how much?
- How do we know that Jesus loves us? Because the Bible tells us. It’s true. Not a made up story. We know that Jesus loves us because the Bible tells us.
- In Revelation we read, “…Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” Revelation 1:5 NIV
- In the verse above, after telling us that Jesus loves us, it goes on to say he “has freed us from our sins by his blood”. That’s how much he loves us. But we’re not going to go there quite yet. There are some other things we need to talk about first.
9. Jesus loves us lots and lots.
- The wonderful news is that Jesus loves us lots and lots. When reading this page you could ask your child to do what the children in the photo are doing while saying the words, “Jesus loves us lots and lots. Jesus loves me lots and lots.”
- There may be a different word or expression that your child is familiar with that you say to indicate a lot, for instance ‘very, very much’. If so, you can read this page and then add to the end of the text “Jesus loves us” and finish with your own words.
10. The Bible says that Jesus is always good. He always does what God wants.
- The Bible tells us that Jesus loves us. The Bible also tells us that Jesus is good and he does what God wants, he obeys God. An important word on this page is ‘always’. We might be ‘sometimes’ good or ‘sometimes’ we obey. But Jesus is ‘always’ good and he ‘always’ does what God wants.
- We want our little ones to see that Jesus isn’t like us. Yes he was born as a baby boy and yes he grew up to be a man. But Jesus is God’s own Son (more on this in a few pages).
- It is unhelpful to say to your child that Jesus was a baby/boy ‘just like us’. A big difference is that Jesus never sinned.
- Jesus is never naughty or bad. He never does anything wrong. Jesus is always good.
- Jesus never disobeys God. He always does what God wants.
- Why is this important? Because as your child grows and learns what ‘sin’ is, learns more of their own sin and their need of a Saviour, they need the grounding of the knowledge of Jesus’ sinlessness.
- To grasp the essence of the gospel we need to know that only Jesus could die for us on our behalf because he was without sin. He could only free us from sin’s stronghold, by taking our sins. If he was a sinner, his death would not have achieved this. So we want to lay a Biblical foundation about Jesus from early on. A foundation on which to build as our children grow.
- Now I realise that we don’t use the word ‘sin’ in these little books (see more on this in Sorry God). That is something that you can help your child understand as they grasp the concepts of not being good all the time and disobeying.
11. The Bible tells us what Jesus has done so we can be friends with God.
- You may have noticed that I don’t say what Jesus has done. Why? Partly because there’s another book in this series, Jesus, which tells us more about Jesus. But neither this book nor that book tell us the gospel in detail. This is essentially because of the age and stage of our little ones. But also because the age and stage of the little ones hearing this book will differ quite widely. I’m trying to lay a foundation which is as simple as possible upon which you can build in an appropriate way for your child. The following points will hopefully be helpful.
- We’ve just read that Jesus is always good and he always obeys God. By contrast, we are not always good. We might be good sometimes, but there’s lots and lots of times when we are not good. There are lots and lots of times when we disobey, when we are unkind… (see more on this in Sorry God). And even if we are good sometimes, we are never as good as Jesus. We are never as good as God.
- God is good all the time. We are not. So we can’t be friends with God.
- We don’t live how God wants us to live. We disobey. In the words of Sorry God… “Sometimes I make God sad”.
- When we do wrong things we deserve to be punished. Parents punish us if we do something that’s naughty, that’s wrong. We deserve to be punished by God too. We don’t live the way he wants us to. We are not good all the time. We don’t obey.
- But the really good news that the Bible tells us, is that Jesus did something so that we could be friends with God and not be punished by him.
- What did Jesus do? He was punished instead of us. Jesus died so that he was punished for our sins and we don’t have to be punished.That’s good news!
- More really good news is that Jesus came back to life again. That shows us that Jesus really has taken away our sins (‘taken away’ the punishment for our sins so that we don’t have to be punished—this is not implying that because Jesus died we never sin again while on the earth). And now Jesus is alive forever.
- When we thank Jesus for dying for us and are sorry for what we have done, when we love and trust in Jesus, when we call Jesus God’s Son and our King—we can be God’s friends. And when we are God’s friends we keep thanking Jesus for dying for us, we keep saying ‘sorry’ to God, we keep loving and trusting in Jesus, we keep calling Jesus God’s Son and our King. And we will live for ever and ever too.
- But we need to help our children see that just because Jesus died doesn’t mean that everyone is automatically God’s friends.
- So read on to the next page…
12. The Bible says Jesus is God’s own Son and his special King.
- “God’s own Son”—elsewhere in Books for Little Ones, we have read ‘Son’ in the Bible verses. When parents have a child who is a boy, he is called their ‘Son’. Jesus is “God’s own Son”.
- Jesus is also God’s special King. This is explained in the book Jesus.
- Let’s continue from where we left off on the notes for the previous page… God offers us a gift. Your response to being given a gift should be to accept it. That’s what God wants us to do. God wants us to say “thank you” for Jesus. God wants us to know that Jesus is God’s own Son and his special King.
- And God wants us to live with Jesus as our King. That’s how we can be “friends with God”.
- When we thank Jesus for dying for us, when we say ‘sorry’ to God, when we love and trust in Jesus, when we call Jesus “God’s own Son and his special King”, when we live with Jesus as our King—we can be God’s friends. And we will live for ever and ever too.
- For more on this, you might like to read Who will be King?
13. “Jesus is the Son of God”. 1 John 4 verse 15
- “Son of God” might need a little explaining. Here it says ‘Son of God’ which of course means that he is God’s Son. God is Jesus’ Father, Jesus is God’s Son.
- But Son of God is spelt with a capital ‘S’ because it is also a title. It means: God’s special king.
- Your child could join you in saying “Jesus is the Son of God”.
- You might find that over time your child remembers these words and can say them without your help. How awesome is that!
- And hopefully at some point your child will join you in saying “1 John 4 verse 15” and perhaps this verse might be remembered for a very, very long time.
14. Thank you God for your book the Bible. Thank you that the Bible tells me Jesus loves me.
- In this little book we have read lots of things about “God’s book the Bible” and how important the Bible is. We can now say a big thank you for the Bible.
- Our God has revealed himself to us in his Word. Our God is a speaking God. This is something to thank God for. He wants us to learn about him in the Bible and to grow in our understanding. He wants us to love Jesus and trust in Jesus as we learn about him in God’s word. We don’t have to guess what God is like. Our little ones can grow up knowing that God tells us about him, the ‘true and living God’, in the Bible.
- And God tells us all about Jesus, His Son, and especially that ‘Jesus loves me’. Thank you God!
Making your own little verse book
You could make a ‘little verse book’ either for, or with, your child. You will need a book (scrapbook, blank page exercise book, mini album, etc). You could even make a book from squares (or rectangles) of cardboard, punch holes in one side and thread wool or string to keep the pages together.
You will need to use a simple version of the Bible. I’ve used the Good News Bible in these little books as I have found that the verses are trying to use the simplest words they can. There’s the New International Readers’ Version as well as some other simple versions. The NIRV is a good one to start for a ‘bigger little one’ and then continue reading as they get bigger (and eventually transition to the NIV).
Either write out or print appropriate verses for your child. Maybe verses from the Books for Little Ones series. Look out for other suitable verses as you read the Bible yourself.
If making with your child
Give your child a piece of paper that is larger than the verse, and fits on the pages of your book. Or open your book to the next blank page. Really little ones can decorate the paper (or page) by scribbling on it. Then you can help them paste a verse on this page. Bigger ones could start by pasting the verse roughly in the centre of the page. Then they can decorate around it by drawing, colouring, adding stickers, etc.
If you have more than one child, they could each make their own.
If making by yourself
You might like to look for patterned paper (in my part of the world you can buy patterned paper for scrapbooking) or you can use wrapping paper. Cut a piece that fits the size of your book and then paste the verse in the centre.
Alternatively, if you want to be artistic, you can draw or paint decorations around the verses on each page.
Reading your little verse book
Each day you could read a different verse in your verse book. It’s possible that your child may want to read more than one. If they are likely to want to read every verse in the book at a sitting, you might consider this when you select the book and how many pages it has!
Frequently reading the Bible verses is a great habit to begin (and more verses can be added along the way). Hearing the verses read time and time again will help children learn and remember the verses (without you even realising that they are learning them). Think of simple picture books where your child has learnt some of the words, just by having it read to them often.
How wonderful for your little one to be hearing precious truths from God’s word from a young age. And you might find some of the verses can be comforting for your child to read when they are upset or afraid.
** Extra notes **
Reading the Bible with your child
It may be just reading a verse, or even a part of a verse, like those that are in this series of little books. You may need to explain some words, so give thought to this before you read it with your child.
So at this stage you are just reading short parts of the Bible so that your child becomes familiar with hearing the Bible read to them. Thus showing the importance of reading the Bible regularly.
With older ones, you can start reading narratives about Jesus. Thus they can hear true stories about Jesus from the book (i.e. the Bible) that tells us all about Jesus.
You could start with Mark’s gospel as it has many narratives in it. Luke or Matthew are great too. Before you read a passage to your child, read it yourself and look out for words and concepts that you may need to explain or simplify for your child. Remember if you read a story that talks of a lake (which seems like an easy word), your child might not have any idea of what it is. But if your child lives near a lake then they probably will know. And if you read a story that mentions ‘desert’ your child might think of ‘dessert’.
See the idea below for a ‘little verse book’.
Reading the Bible yourself
I would encourage you to be reading the Bible yourself and so modelling to your child the habit of reading the Bible regularly. If your child only sees you reading other books or magazines or newspapers, and they never see you reading the Bible, then they might not realise that the Bible is an important book to you—the best book!
Perhaps leave your Bible where your child can see it (though out of reach if your child might want to scribble in it!). And see that it is an important book to you and not one that sits on a shelf, never read.
Perhaps you have never read the Bible yourself and you really don’t know where to start? Or maybe you don’t know much about Jesus. If you go to the Introductory notes on this website, and just over half the way down, you will find some suggestions just for you.
A word about picture Bibles
Please note that picture Bibles are not considered as ‘the Bible’. A picture Bible is often just one person’s choice of Bible stories (from ‘the Bible’) for children and their own simplification of each story.
It’s important for you to read a picture Bible before you read it with your child. Does it faithfully simplify God’s word? Is the main message that is presented true to the text? Or are Bible characters and/or Bible stories being loosely used to convey a different main message from the original?
We need to make sure that the Bible is not being added to or distorted. Some people have the attitude that as long as a picture Bible has Bible characters and Bible stories then it is a good thing to read. I would want to ask you to please choose wisely. One reason I say this is that children can often remember details in stories. We don’t want them remembering unhelpful things that have been added and are not in the original Bible. We don’t want them to learn things that they will need to ‘unlearn’ when older.
To give an example, yesterday I read a book to a 3 year old. I have read it to her before. When I finished she announced “You missed a page”. She could remember the pages and she then pointed out the page that I’d neglected to read in turning over two pages instead of one. My 3 year old friend and I then read some other books where she joined with me in saying part of the text (having read the books before, she remembered some of the lines). What if it was a picture Bible (that wasn’t true to the Bible text and added things) and she was remembering some of the unhelpful ‘added bits’ in a picture Bible that weren’t faithful to the original? Then she would have something that needed to be unlearnt in later life.
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