Living Literature and the Bible

Our family has found several great books to prompt Bible study and discussion!

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If you’ve been around here long at all, you know there’s living literature out there to help teach ANY subject.  Did you know that’s true for the Bible, too?

Over the years, I’ve found some FABULOUS books to go along with our Bible studies.  Now, I’m not saying we read literature instead of the Bible – no way!  But…these books have opened doors to Biblical conversations and reinforced Biblical studies we’ve already completed.

Some people ask, how do you fit in Bible study and living literature?  Well, our Bible study time tends to take on two “methods.”

The first method finds us diving deep into the Word – reading, discussing and/or completing work pages.  When we’re thick into one of these studies, we typically don’t add living literature.

The second method finds us focusing on bite-sized portions of the Word.  In other words, we might only read a few verses from the Bible before jumping into our living book.  After reading, we often have Biblical discussions about the themes, characters or events from the book.  I like to think of it as practical application of Biblical principles to “real-life” situations.

I’ve found switching back and forth between study formats to be motivating for my children (and me.)  Our mind is always turned towards the Truth, but we mix up the way it’s delivered.

You might ask, “What if these books don’t line up with our particular beliefs?”  The truth is, some of them won’t.  They haven’t all been perfectly in line with our doctrine, some of them even including “big deal” differences (like our thoughts on baptism, for example.)  Rather than completely shy away from the books, we chose to use those moments for great discussions – and even in-depth Bible study to find answers!  Some of our best Bible learning has come from these moments!

Another plus – sometimes, these books can even count for history and/or science, too!

I’ve written my tops picks for books that encourage Christian principles and character already.  Many of those books will be included in this mega list.  I have given a bit more detail about the books included on those posts that you might like to check out.

My Favorite Christian Picture Books For Kids

My Favorite Christian Books for Teen Boys

My Favorite Christian Books for Teen Girls

A list of all Cindy West's living literature posts

Okay, on to my mega-list of the best-of-the-best living literature we’ve read to encourage our walk in The Truth.

Living Children’s Bibles

When our children were young, these two Bibles were great places to start them in the Word.  These aren’t your typical watered down chunks of the Bible!  The chronological stories are very thorough.

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos

The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor

Picture Books

Don’t think picture books are only for the elementary crowd!  I’ve often used the books below in middle and high school Sunday school classes to illustrate particular points we’ve been discussing about the Bible or God’s character.

Books by Jennie Bishop

The Princess and the Kiss – purity

The Squire and the Scroll – purity and knowledge of the Word

The Garden Wall – 1 Corinthians 13

Books by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Tale of Three Trees – Easter and God’s perfect will

The True Princess – being a humble servant

Books by Max Lucado

With You All the Way – avoiding worldly distractions

Coming Home – keeping the faith

A Hat for Ivan – finding God’s purpose

The Oak Inside the Acorn – finding God’s purpose

Just In Case You Ever Wonder – God’s love

Because I Love You – God’s protection

Just the Way You Are – God’s love

You Are Special – God’s love

Your Special Gift – using our gifts

You Are Mine – our Creator loves us

Best of All – God made us special

Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift – focusing on God

If Only I Had a Green Nose – we’re wonderfully created

A Parable About the King by Beth Moore – God’s protection and faithfulness

Twice Yours by Nan Gurley – Jesus’ sacrifice

The Merchant and the Thief by Ravi Zacharias – forgiveness

Sanji’s Seed by B.J. Reinhard – honesty

Chapter Books: Under 12

The Miller Books by Mildred Martin – these books depict a conservative Mennonite culture that our family doesn’t adhere to, but the Biblical lessons presented in the collections of short stories have still been very helpful in our home.

Storytime with the Millers

Wisdom and the Millers

Prudence and the Millers

School Days with the Millers

Missionary Stories with the Millers

Books by Patricia St. John

Twice Freed – Onesimus, Paul – true freedom in Christ

The Tanglewood’s Secret – overcoming selfishness

The Secret at Pheasant Cottage – peace in Christ

Rainbow Garden – selfishness and insecurity

Treasures of the Snow – forgiveness

Star of Light – boundless resources of our loving God

Discovering Jesus in Genesis by Susan and Richie Hunt – the doctrine in this book does not always match up with that of our family, but we still very much enjoyed reading it together as it encourages children to see the Bible as a treasure chest full of bounty

Chapter Books: 10+

Books written by Arnold Ytreeide – I cannot explain the love I have for this series of books.  In just a few words, they tie amazing adventures of fictional characters into the Biblical stories of Christmas and Easter.  You see the evil one for who he is and rejoice in the Savior of the world.  They are scary at times, which is why I’ve recommended them for older children.

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent

Bartholomew’s Passage: A Storybook for Advent

Tabitha’s Travels: A Storybook for Advent

Amon’s Adventure: A Storybook for Easter

Vinegar Boy: A Storybook for Easter by Alberta Hawse – This is another book similar to those above that ties a fictional storyline into the Biblical story of Easter.  Very moving!

Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick – This book takes some liberties as it fills in details from the book of Genesis describing the life on earth from Adam through Abram.  Facts from archaeology, science and ancient traditions were the basis on which the author took her liberties in the storyline.  Even so, I would be apt to put this book in the category of historical fiction rather than fact, but it’s excellent!

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – allegory of our journey heavenward

Books by C. S. Lewis

Chronicles of Narnia – allegories of the fight between good and evil that parallel some messages from the Bible

The Magician’s Nephew

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Last Battle

The Screwtape Letters – how the devil distracts us

Mere Christianity – explanation of Christianity

Terrestria Chronicles by Ed Dunlop – allegories of the fight between good and evil with clear messages to encourage your Christian walk

The Sword, the Ring and the Parchment

The Quest for Seven Castles

The Search for Everyman

The Crown of Kuros

The Dragon’s Egg

The Golden Lamps

The Great War

Kingdom’s Dawn Series by Chuck Black – allegories of the fight between good and evil that parallel the books of Genesis through Revelation

Kingdom’s Dawn

Kingdom’s Hope

Kingdom’s Edge

Kingdom’s Call

Kingdom’s Quest

Kingdom’s Reign

Lamplighter Books – We’ve read the the books listed below.  Not one has been a disappointment, so I have a feeling it might be safe to say you’d enjoy any from their catalog.  Several of their titles are available as audio books, too!  Each of the books includes characters with obvious flaws of sinfulness who are restored in the end through the love of Christ.  These stories are treasures for sure!

Teddy’s Button by Amy LeFeuvre

Charlie’s Choice by M.L. Nesbitt

The Hedge of Thorns by John Hatchard

Sir Knight of the Splendid Way by W.E. Cule

A Peep Behind the Scenes by O.F. Walton

A Basket of Flowers by Christoph Von Schmid

Buried in the Snow by Franz Hoffman

The Boy of Mount Rhigi by C.M. Sedgwick

The Captive by Christoph Von Schmid

The Unexpected Return by Christoph Von Schmid

The Wanderer by Lamplighter Theater

Missionary Stories

We have been very pleased with all of the missionary stories from the International Adventures Series and Christian Heroes: Then and Now Series we’ve read.  I’ve listed our very favorites from those series (as well as a few other books) below.  There are many, many more that I haven’t listed!

Bruchko by Bruce Olsen

Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis

Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet Benge

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Tomorrow You Die by Reona Joly

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge

Science

It’s been nice to come across some science living literature that unabashedly uplifts the cause of Christ and unashamedly believes science and Christianity are not to be separated.

Jonathan Park – In one word, these audio adventures are FABULOUS.  They teach tons about creation science (on all kinds of topics) and faith in God through riveting stories.  I don’t often buy audio books because of their expense, but these all have earned spots on our bookshelf.

The Adventure Begins

No Looking Back

The Winds of Change

The Hunt for Beowulf

The Explorer’s Society

The Journey Never Taken

The Voyage Beyond

The Copper Scroll

The Whispering Sphinx

Christian Liberty Nature Readers by various authors – readers or read-alouds that glorify God’s creation while teaching scientific facts.

Early Readers

If you’re hoping to get even more Christian wisdom into your homeschool day, these elementary readers include very God-honoring, character building stories.

A Hive of Busy Bees by Effie Williams

Christian Light Read-to-Learn Series – These stories are written from the perspective of conservative Mennonites, meaning their ideas don’t always jive with those of my family.  We only read the first three (1st & 2nd grade readers) before moving on to other things, but we highly enjoyed our time with them.   FYI: I have found these books to be slightly advanced, especially in the early years.

I Wonder (1st grade)

Helping Hands (2nd grade)

Happy Hearts (2nd grade)

Doors to Discovery (3rd grade)

Bridges and Beyond (4th grade)

Open Windows (5th grade)

Calls to Courage (6th grade)

Roads Less Traveled (7th grade)

Where Roads Diverge (8th grade)

Never fear, as I come across (or remember) other books that should be on this list, I’ll add them.  Be sure to bookmark or pin the page for reference!

More Christian Encouragement

I pulled together some of my very best ideas and resources in a 10-day series called Teaching Values.  I’m sure you’ll find something encouraging to consider for your family in there somewhere!

Cindy West's resources for teaching Biblical values to children

 

Cindy

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