“If we present something as God’s Word when it is not, we are misusing God’s name. Students of the Bible expect their teachers to present the authoritative teaching of God’s Word as given by the inspired authors. If we substitute this teaching for some idea we think is important, students don’t know the difference. We are then violating the third commandment because we have attributed God’s authority to what is really only our own idea.” (p. 25)
If you know anyone who is responsible for teaching the Bible in Children’s ministry, youth ministry, small group leadership; or someone who is simply wanting to get it right when it comes to their parenting responsibility in leading their family in their daily devotions, The Bible Story Handbook: A Resource for Teaching 175 Stories from the Bible by John Walton (Crossway) is an essential resource.
John Walton, professor at Wheaton College and his wife Kim Walton, a longtime curriculum user, developer and evaluator work through 97 Old Testament narrative stories and 77 New Testament stories in light of: Lesson focus, Lesson application, Biblical context, interpretive issues, background information and mistakes to avoid.
It is the final section for each entry — mistakes to avoid — that is where this book shines. Too many times we’ve been subject to teaching which put the emphasis in the wrong place, missed the greater context, or simply went off down the rabbit trails of story details. Often these misguided teaching foci proliferate or are passed on from church to church or generation to generation.
This is a book to keep on your shelf as needs arise. It deals exclusively with narrative passages; for example, in the New Testament, there are no entries after the book of Acts except for the lone one that covers all of Revelation.
Because it’s a Bible reference product, you might not read it sequentially, although you certain could take that approach. But as a reference tool, I didn’t attempt to read it all; the copy I have is actually on loan; and the publisher is one whose products are not likely to cross my desk. The Bible Story Handbook was published in 2010 and retails in paperback for $24.99 U.S. It’s a great gift for a Sunday School teacher, youth pastor, or anyone with love for teaching the Bible to kids, teens or adults.