I recently got a copy of the Family Illustrated Bible by New Leaf publishers. The book is a large (8.8 X 11.1 X 1.2 inches) hard cover book. It contains paraphrased versions of all the major (and some of the minor) stories of the Bible. Each one is beautifully illustrated by many different artists. This is one of the features I like the best. The art work does not get stale or predictable as each story looks different from the one preceding it. Each section also contains photographs and illustrations to bring out different aspects of the world the story takes place in. There are facts about Egypt, for example, when you move into the story on the exodus along with photographs of sites and artifacts. These features are make the book very helpful when doing family devotionals or just going over Bible stories with your kids.
There were a couple things that I was not entirely happy with however. First it takes a very secular approach to its treatment of the apocryphal gospels. It seems as though the author doesn’t really see much of difference in the gospel of Thomas and John though there are substantial differences not only in message but in date written, historicity, authenticity etc. You can, however, use that information as a springboard to a discussion of why specific books in the Bible are there and why others are not. Peter tells us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us and this would extend to not only teaching our children how to live that out but also in answering the tough questions when our children ask.
My second issue was with the marketing of the book. It’s called “The Family Illustrated Bible.” To me that means it is a Bible and not a Bible storybook and when I read the description on the New Leaf website there was nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. That made me somewhat disappointed when I saw what it actually was. For sure it is a good Bible story book, but it is not an illustrated Bible. Still it’s a good book to have and I am glad to have it in my library.
I also need to say that I received this book free of charge from the publisher for the purposes of this review. The opinions are my true opinions and the fact I got it for free has not changed my opinion.