Turning 66 Bible books into one story

A companion book to the Bible for kids has been written by a local pastor and is soon to be available here in Cayman.

Each book of the bible, explains Paul Reynolds of First Baptist Church, has been summarised, background given and themes and theology explained in his new book, “66 Books, One Story”.

The book is available to school families for $9. Weekender spoke to Pastor Paul about the ins and outs of the work.

What inspired the writing of this book and how long did it take?

When I began the project six years ago, I wanted to give my son Jude – who was 5 at the time – more of the Bible than just the stories. Most of the Bible is not a story book – there are lots of letters, prophecies, poetry and Books of the Law as well. The Apostle Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…”. Not just the battle stories, sea crossings and giant-slayings! Ultimately I wanted to help my kids to know and love God, by helping them understand what he said. Then, when Christian Focus agreed to publish the book, the opportunity became even more exciting as I had the opportunity to try and help a lot more people in the same way.

Writing it took me about five years in total – not full-time of course, but it was very labour-intensive. First, I had to read the Bible through from beginning to end, and write notes on all of it. As I went on, I was trying to work out how best to summarise what is written and seeking to be faithful to the text in drawing out lessons – in particular, lessons about God. Add to that lots of additional research and plenty of occasions when I’d stare at the page for literally an hour at a time trying to work out what question to ask for the readers to think about, or how better to phrase something that I wasn’t happy with.

What is the book about?

It’s an introduction to the Bible, taking children and young people through it book by book. Each chapter gives a 350-word version of a Bible book, lessons that we can learn from it, and the ‘Salvation Thread’, which shows how that Bible book fits into the one main story that covers the whole of Scripture. That story being how God has been preparing a people and a creation for himself through the work of his Son Jesus Christ. I also have learning points for each Bible book and Bible references for the children to look up to help them see how God teaches similar things throughout the Bible.

How can families and children benefit from the book?

Families, children… and adults, and schools… The format is suitable for a variety of uses, such as parents reading to their children, older children doing studies on their own, parents studying on their own.

In one church that I’m aware of, the adults are using the book as an introduction session to their more in-depth studies of Bible books, and we are using it at First Baptist Christian School as the basis for our weekly chapel services. I use it myself to help in my Bible studies in giving me a quick reminder of the key themes of a Bible book that I’m looking at.

What are your favourite passages or summaries in the book?

My favourite passages in the book are about Bible books where I was most surprised to find massive evidence of God’s grace and love, such as the prophets and the Books of the Law – places where most Christians perhaps don’t look very often, or don’t expect to find much that they’ll engage with. For example, one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament was a guy called Zephaniah. The last paragraph of my summary version of his prophecy reads, “My [God’s] people will be made perfect; they will rejoice because I have taken away their punishment and they don’t need to be afraid of anything. God is with you; he will rescue the injured and sick, and bring all his people back home”. As a Christian that’s a tremendous encouragement to me, to know that God is bringing his people home to himself, and it’s exciting to see that truth in a place I wouldn’t have looked for it.

You can contact Pastor Paul on paultimothyreynolds.blogspot.com