Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know by Rebecca Lutzer.
(Rebecca Lutzer is the wife of Erwin Lutzer, but you don’t buy a woman’s book because of her husband. You buy it because she is a woman who is a grandmother who knows and loves God, the Bible, and children.)
In the world of Christian nonfiction for children, I’ve noticed that marketing is pretty important. This is not a criticism; just an observation. This book is a case in point. It is fantastic, but I had never heard of it. I’ve not had any friends recommending it, and I have friends who are passionate about teaching the Bible to their children. The only reason I found this book was a very pointed search for a book like this on CBD website (it didn’t come up on Amazon with the same search). Basically, if I hadn’t been looking for this book, I wouldn’t have found it. That’s a shame, because I think it deserves at least as much attention as some of the other popular Christian non-fiction books circulating at the moment.
What This Book Is About
Awesome Bible Verses is organized topically. In some ways, it’s like a memorization list. These are verses on specific topics that children should both understand and know. If we ask a child for a verse about Accepting Ourselves, or Grace, or Worry, we want them to be able to connect the topic with the verses they have been memorizing at Sunday School or Awana or Family Devotions.
Each topic has two to four verses. They are well chosen, not too complex for children to understand, and yet more than the standard “go-to” verses that parents use. For example, “Getting Along with Others” includes Proverbs 15:1, Romans 12:17-18, Ephesians 4:32, 1 John 4:11. These verses were chosen by someone who knows the Bible and also knows children well. To see the topics, use the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Most of the verses are from the NIV translation.
The best part of the book is the next section. Each topic includes several “What I Think” questions. These are question that children ask. Often these are observations and questions that trouble children when they are trying to apply God’s Word. “Does God know how hard it is for me to get along with my brother? I try to get along with my sister, but she is always picking on me. My parents blame me when things go wrong.”
Then Lutzer responds to those statements and questions with the next section “What God wants me to Know. These are excellent. Again, the responses are written by someone who knows the Bible, and knows children. She gives specific ways that children can apply God’s Word, she acknowledges the difficulties children may have as they try to obey God.
She follows these specific thoughts with an example to illustrate the topic. Some of these are real life examples (like an anecdote about Corrie Ten Boom); others are short fictional vignettes that a child will understand.
Finally, Lutzer includes a short prayer in childlike words responding to God on the particular topic.
What to Do with this Book
When I received this book in the mail, I showed it to my children. They weren’t grabbing for it, and even my child who reads the most didn’t ask for it. I had to ask myself “This is a great book, but how do I get my children to see its value and benefit from it?” Here is my response.
First, the book can be given at a crisis point. If a child is struggling with a topic addressed by the book, it would very easy to open the book with a child and read it together. Suggest your child highlight the verses in his Bible, and write it out on a card to memorize. Point out that the written prayer may help him to put into words how to talk to God about his problem. Once a child understands the book structure and has benefited from it, he will be far more likely to reach for the book on his own later.
Second, parents can use it as a devotional or memorization plan. Realistically, children may not decide on their own to memorize all the verses in the book, but doing so could easily become a family goal. I love the concept of memorizing verses by topic.
Third, parents can use the book as a resource as they talk about God’s Word with their children. Ask children in the car “What verse would you think about if you needed help with ________?” or “What verses would you share with a friend if they wanted to know about the Holy Spirit?” Then use this book to encourage children to develop categories of Scripture.
Adults who are mature believers have developed their own spiritual categories. They have passages they run to when they are discouraged, or when they are struggling to love others. They know what to read to remind themselves of who they are in Christ, and all the treasure in Christ that they possess. This book is an excellent resource for parents who desire to cultivate this kind of thinking in their children.
We need more attention placed on helping children feed themselves; to go beyond filling them with knowledge and theology. We must help them become doers of the word, and not hearers only. Any book that helps me accomplish these goals is one I want in my library. I am glad I bought this book.
Note: I purchased this book. It was not given to me. I did not receive any compensation for writing a review.