Thinking Out Loud

November 18, 2012

A Must Have Resource for Bible Teachers

“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.



  1. Good review. It made me explore the book and I think I will order it.

    Comment by Cynthia Clarke — November 18, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

  2. Paul, I often hear you refer to a book store you are involved with. Do you sell online so I can help support you rather than ordering this book from a bigger on line retailer?

    Comment by Cynthia Clarke — November 18, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    • No we don’t do online commerce, and shipping US-printed books back into the US is somewhat counter-intuitive.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 18, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

      • I keep forgetting which side of the border you are on!

        Comment by Cynthia Clarke — November 19, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    • Not sure how you see replies, but the online version has been exposing peoples’ personal email addresses for some reason. I caught this one within about 90 seconds, but would have had it fixed in 20 seconds if the system was more responsive.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 18, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  3. I’ll look at this when I’m in Brisbane next month. I’m thinking of getting one as a resource for the Sunday School teachers.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — November 19, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

  4. […] This is not a current link, but the above reminds me of a piece we did here about ten months ago about The Bible Story Handbook, by John and Kim Walton. See below for a quotation.  Click here. […]

    Pingback by Thursday Link List | Thinking Out Loud — August 8, 2013 @ 8:15 am

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