“Tell Jesus that you believe in Him and what He did. Tell Him that you want to receive Him as your own Savior,” is part of the prayer in John MacArthur’s children’s book, I Believe in Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ.
~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound targets children ages two to five years old who want to learn about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and eternal salvation. Using the International Children’s Bible, it has a paragraph on one side of the open pages with a Bible verse or two written out regarding the topic on the same or adjacent page as well as more verses to look up. With multiple-syllable and a few hard-to-comprehend words, the book would best be read out loud to beginner readers. The pictures are colorful, following the storyline with enough details to hold a child’s attention.
With a note that the book is for Christian adults to share with young children, it begins with God creating the Earth and Adam and Eve sinning in the Garden of Eden. Forgiveness of sins, the Trinity, Jesus’s birth, childhood, and resurrection are mentioned. The ending explains one has to believe in and receive Jesus to go to Heaven, and the Holy Spirit will help while we are on Earth.
~ Why ~
Since the book targets those in kindergarten and younger, it conveys how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the same and that we are deeply loved and forgiven. The author’s descriptions of sin, being imperfect, and disobedience are understandable. I like that ample Bible verses are provided, including those to look up and read.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in Christ or do not have a personal relationship with Him will probably avoid this book.
Having been a member of MacArthur’s church for ten years in my young adult life, I appreciate John’s in-depth teaching and desire to show others about God and His immense love. However, I struggled with this book’s approach to eternity by stating only two things need to be done: believing in and receiving Jesus. Demons know of and believe in Him yet are not saved. The receiving Jesus section does not mention the shedding His blood on the cross. There is no crucifixion scene (only three crosses on a hill) which is understandable for the age group, and blood is stated in one verse). There is no discussion of grace or that we do not deserve salvation. A child under five years old is probably under the age of accountability, so the complex book may help Christian adults solidify how to explain the Gospel to others.
~ Who ~
A father and grandfather, MacArthur is a best-selling author, pastor-teacher, and president of a Christian college in Southern California. Illustrator Mertens was born in Belgium and studied in Brussels, having received awards and a grant for his work.
~ Wish ~
It would help if some of the complicated wording were easier to understand for the younger listeners. I am confused why page 23 states: “Believe that Jesus alone could die for you ….” But He did die for all so I am unsure why the word “could” was used, perhaps changing it to Jesus died or had to die” would be more appropriate.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that begins the process of teaching a young one about God and eternity, this may be a starter book, but I am on the fence if it will keep a child interested.
Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this book to read and review.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.