Review: Great Kings of the Bible

I finished off my devotions this morning with Great Kings of the Bible: How Jesus is greater than Saul, David and Solomon by Deepak Reju. Deepak is actually a pastor at my church, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book and give you all a review of it, especially since I said last week I was going to pick it up in the children’s lit department! {Read all the way to the end for a chance to win a copy of this book!}

Great Kings of the Bible is a perfect teaching tool, in my opinion. The book is not fluffed up at all, but strictly follows the stories from the Bible about the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon. What I especially love about it, though, is that it highlights Biblical theology for kids in weaving all of these men’s stories into the overarching storyline of the Bible, which is the story of redemption through Christ. Deepak highlights how each of the kings’ shortcomings, whether it is disobedience, murder, or selfishness is remedied in Christ. Christ was the perfect King, the King who obeyed God perfectly, the King who died for those He loves, and the King who was all wise.

I love that the book uses so much language directly from the Bible, and repeats themes, bringing up Philippians 2 several times to show how Jesus is a better King, in that he humbled himself and was obedient, even to death.

The structure of the book is broken down into the three different kings. There are several stories from each king’s life, broken down with bold titles, followed with a section titled “The Promise of a Greater (or Future) King,” and finally “Death is Not the End.” This guides children through reading about the kings’ lives, seeing where the problems were, and then finding the answer to those problems in Jesus. I love that there is a focus on death not being the end of the story. Yes, it is the end of Saul’s story, or the end of David’s or Solomon’s story, but it is not the end of God’s story. He is doing something bigger and better!

As you can see from the front of this book, the illustrations are very detailed and interesting. I think kids will really enjoy looking through the pictures to take in what is happening in the story. Here are a few more glimpses into the illustrations:

GreatKingsSo, as I told you, I’m going to keep working on coming up with some discussion questions. This book is obviously going to be great for discussions about the Bible and the story that God is writing, but here are a few more guided questions to help you talk through this book with your kids.

  1. What do you think it would be like to have a King?
  2. What should a King be like? What makes a good King?
  3. Was Saul a good King? Why or why not?
  4. Was David a good King? Why or why not?
  5. Was Solomon a good King? Why or why not?
  6. Was Jesus a good King? Why or why not?
  7. If Jesus is our King, how should we respond? How should we live?
  8. Saul, David, Solomon, and Jesus all died. How is Jesus’ death different than the other Kings’ deaths?

I was also able to ask Deepak a couple of questions regarding his own thoughts behind the book. So, I thought I’d share them with you today as well!

1. What inspired you to write this book in the style that you did? 

It seems like most children’s story books that depict Solomon don’t faithfully portray the end of his life.  They always seem to focus on Solomon being a wise king, but don’t ever describe how in the end Solomon married foreign wives, who convinced him to worship foreign gods.  So I wanted to tell the whole story, and contrast the failure of Solomon’s life with the one true King–Jesus.  

I wrote out the story line, and showed it to Christian Focus publications. Their children’s book editor said to me, “If you include David and Saul’s life, we’re interested in publishing this!”  And the rest, as they say, is history. 

2. How did you end up writing a children’s book, or what was the process that led you here? 

I ended up writing a children’s book simply because I read often to my kids and didn’t feel like most bible story books were being faithful to the storyline of the Bible.    

The process: I spent time reading over Saul, David and Solomon’s life–1 & 2 Samuel, plus 1 Kings 1 – 11.  I outlined these three books of the bible, and then asked myself, “Which accounts would faithful portray the storyline of their life?”  There is enough material for a writer to do 40 or 50 children’s books, but I only had time to do one book, so I had to choose carefully.   

3. What do you hope kids will take away from this book?

I hope they see Saul, David and Solomon as imperfect kings, and that Jesus is the one, true, perfect King.  

Now, I am super excited to let you all know that I have two copies of Great Kings of the Bible to giveaway today! {These books are also available at Christian Focus Publications and Amazon.} To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

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      1. kylie

        This makes me so happy, Lauren!! Jeremy and I read that one cover to cover about 4 years ago, before Bug was even a thought! Glad you like it!

  1. maryagloro

    i don’t really know much about a child’s Bible book, but I know my grandchildren each have a children’s Bible. My granddaughters is a princess Bible! Never heard of that before. I read The Purple Puzzle Tree to them and they really enjoy it.

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