Our Favorite Storybook Bibles

Biblical literacy is at an all-time low, even in evangelical Christian circles. Many who grew up in church don't know much about the Bible, what it says & doesn't say, & how it came to be. Don't even ask if they have been memorizing Scripture! (Eeesh - guilty!)

Not knowing & loving the Bible leads to not knowing & loving the God of the Bible. It leaves us open to the enemy's attacks. It leaves our faith weak & shallow.

How can we start our kids off on the right foot when it comes to Biblical literacy? For one, we should be actively discipling them (while being actively discipled ourselves). The church partners with us, but that should not be the only place that our children receive Biblical instruction. It should be happening in our homes, in our daily lives. Ordinary, mundane days are where our children see how we live out our faith. If they never see us open our Bible or hear us sing along with worship music, why would they think those things are important? Beyond that, how do they see us deal with sin in our own lives? When we sin (& they're going to see us sinning a lot!), do we repent? Do we confess it? Do we ask for forgiveness?

(Eeesh - guilty again!)

A practical way we can encourage our kids' growth in their Biblical knowledge is through simply reading the Bible together! Now, some families do this from a very early age. I think that's great, especially when your child has made a profession of faith! If they're a believer, they have the indwelling Holy Spirit just as much as an adult believer. We should never discount the amazing gift He is! You can start with just a single verse - even a short one like "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) Those 2 words carry so much power & meaning! This is a great way to disciple our kids & should definitely be used in our homes.

Sometimes, it's nice to call in a bit of help from others who have studied God's Word & have worked to write faithful retellings of some of the Bible at a level kids can enjoy. Whether through the family devotionals, Bible studies, picture books, podcasts, apps, catechisms, etc., there are lots of options. One of the easiest places to start can also be storybook Bibles.

These storybook Bibles have had a big glow-up over the past decade or so. (Am I too old to use that term "glow-up"? Probably...) Long gone are the days of relying on The Beginner's Bible as our only readily available book of this kind. (Nothing against that book - I know I had that one as a kid & even taught from the Sunday school curriculum.) But, we have so many more beautifully-illustrated, theologically-rich storybook Bibles available to us now. I currently have 5 such books in my home & 1 other one that I think could be looped into this category. It can be hard to figure out which one is worth all of the hype & which one would be good for which age group. I've tried to put age recommendations, but I'm also confident that you'll know which one meets your kids current needs better than I would!

This post will hopefully help you by taking some peeks inside some of the popular storybook Bibles. So, let's go!


picture of Jesus Storybook Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones; illustrated by Jago

Age: 3-6 years

I feel like this was the first one to start this storybook Bible trend. (You can read an article written on its 10th anniversary here.) The subtitle is "every story whispers His name" & Sally Lloyd-Jones does a beautiful job of weaving that theme into every story. The writing is lyrical & captivating. Some would want to nitpick on some things they interpret as borderline heresy or an over-emphasis on God's love, but SLJ is doing the delicate job of simplifying some really deep theological truths for the youngest hearts. (And how can we over-emphasize God's love? He does tell us that He is LOVE!) The illustrations are artistic yet simple. They're vibrantly colorful. SLJ also offers Advent & Lent freebies & we've used those in the past. You just have to subscribe to her emails. Overall, this one is a great starting point!

picture of a page of JSB - illustration of the story of Jericho

Pros: Simple yet beautiful language. Colorful illustrations. Freebies to help use the book to enrich your Christmas or Easter traditions.

Cons: Some of the wording has been interpreted as problematic.


picture of the gospel storybook bible

The Gospel Storybook Bible by Marty Machowski; illustrated by A.E. Macha

Age: 6-12 years

We used this book & its accompanying curriculum for years at our church in Maryland with kids as young as 2 & as old as 12-13. The Gospel-driven focus & accompanying discussion questions are tremendously helpful. The lessons are divided evenly between the Old & New Testaments, including lots of summaries of important chapters in the epistles. Some Bible curriculums stop their NT stories after the ascension, but this one keeps going, teaching about Pentecost, the early church, the doctrine of salvation, and worshiping at the Throne in Heaven. (Marty Machowski has quite a few discipleship resources for younger audiences that would be worth checking out, too.)

picture of inside book

Pros: Each lesson is short enough to read with even a young child & includes thoughtful questions to spark discussion. Machowski also does an excellent job of connecting to the Gospel in each story.

Cons: Artwork is very modern & slightly abstract, making it a little less "accurate" & sometimes doesn't aid the story like other illustrators. While some can appreciate the artistry, some may find them distracting or less than ideal for teaching little ones.


The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell; illustrated by Thano Tsilis

Age: 8-12 years

I love the premise of this book - walk through the promises that God makes in Scripture & look at the fulfillment of those promises (or the anticipated fulfillment in some cases). We read this with our older kids a couple years ago. The reminders of God's faithfulness were everywhere & that was so encouraging! However, I felt that the wording got a little clunky. Obviously, that's just my opinion, but we sometimes got bogged down in how the stories were written. A book about God's promises that is also aimed at children is bound to have some difficult passages to make accessible for kids. It's important subject matter, though, so I appreciate all of the work that went into the writing of this book. The illustrations are very traditional, reminding me a lot of those nostalgic flannelgraph pictures. (The placement of the chicken in the illustration below makes me chuckle. I'm guessing the artist wanted to give kids a giggle, too.)

picture of Noah

Pros: A helpful tool in teaching the many promises of God. Walks through some very difficult passages in a fairly accessible way. Bible references for further study. Review & discussion questions included with each story.

Cons: Writing style wasn't to my own liking, but I can appreciate the heart behind it!


picture of God

God's Big Promises Bible Storybook by Carl Laferton; illustrated by Jennifer Davison

Age: 3-5 years

This is newest one in our collection, so we haven't had a chance to read it completely. My kids were independently picking it up & reading it. The style & illustrations remind me a lot of that classic Beginners Bible that some of us grew up with. The simple language helps make this one ideal for the littlest ones. However, it also includes little icons in the margins on some pages as clues to help older ones pick up on the promise in each story. (You can see them in the picture below.) There are also different "promise paths" that help you read the stories that highlight a particular theme. The illustrations enrich the stories & allow for more engagement. They are vivid & colorful. It's a really well-done storybook Bible from The Good Book Company & I hope you will find that it is an enjoyable way to introduce the Bible story to your kids.

picture of Noah

Pros: Simple style is great for early learning. Illustrations are colorful & helpful to guide younger children as they learn. Emphasis on the promises & little study helps can benefit older kids who are listening in.

Cons: Stories are very simplified. I guess that can be good or bad!


picture of Biggest Story

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook Bible by Kevin DeYoung; illustrated by Don Clark

Age: all ages!

I am still reading through this BIG book with my kids. It is already a favorite (despite its clunky title)! They love pulling this large storybook off the shelf for Bible time & enjoy looking at the illustrations while I read. If you already have this book's predecessors (The Biggest Story & the ABC book), you know just how theologically rich this one is. DeYoung also emphasizes the importance of reading the Bible itself & that this book is not a replacement for that practice. It is a wonderful tool in your discipleship toolbox, though! The book is broken into the traditional divisions - law, history, prophets, etc. It also includes lots of stories from the early church, the epistles, & also Revelation. The illustrations are just so beautiful. In some ways, they remind me of those illuminated Bibles you see in museums. They are full of color & perfectly adorn the Gospel message of each story. The stories are short enough for young ones, but deep enough for older ones (including adults). If you can only buy one, buy this one!

illustration from story from Micah

Pros: Short stories that still manage to encapsulate the depth of each story & they cover a lot more of the Bible than some of the others. Each one has a prayer at the end to share with your kids. The writing is accessible yet it isn't "talking down" to the audience.

Cons: Some might prefer a more traditional illustration style.


Who is Jesus? book

Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share with Your Family by Kate Hox; Illustrated by Joe Hox

Age: 8-12 years

This is the one that I'm adding because I just love it so! It technically isn't in the storybook Bible category, but it follows a similar enough pattern that I wanted to make sure you knew about it! Kate Hox walks you & your family through 40 pictures of Jesus in the Bible. For example, how does the rock in the wilderness that Moses struck serve as a picture of Jesus? Or how about the illustrations Jesus uses for Himself? Like the vine? Kate's storytelling along with her husband Joe's skillful illustrations make this book a superb resource. Did I mention that she also has a song list with ideas for songs & hymns that coordinate with the stories? The 40 stories make a great Lenten devotional for your family, too!

illustration of mercy seat

Pros: Theologically-sound interpretation of Scripture with eye-opening insights. Simple, bold illustrations. Songs to sing with the stories!

Cons: Maybe not enough pictures for younger ones, but if you let them sit on your lap while you read to the older kids, they might engage more.


I hope this was helpful in making decisions about what to buy for your family! These also make great gifts for families who are expecting or adopting, so keep these in mind for the next baby shower or birth announcement.

Discipling our kids is a HUGE task. We can't do it in our own strength or in our own wisdom. Thankfully, we can follow the example of Jesus, the original disciple maker. We can ask God for wisdom & He will give it. We can rely on the Holy Spirit's leading. We can also participate in the Church! A Gospel-focused body of believers is also pivotal in helping our kids grow in their faith.

If you're looking for more resources, I wrote this post about family devotions. I try to update it as I find new favorites.

We also need to be studying God's Word for ourselves, so here's a post I wrote with some prompts for responding to what you read.

As always, I'm cheering you on!

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