The following list is my top ten theology books for kids. Not all of the books on my list are straight up theology books. Some are allegories, which present the message of the gospel through a story. While you might not think of them as theology books at first, allegories help us explore the attributes of God is ways children get excited about. I wrote a few of the books on this list. While some will accuse me of self-promotion, it is my desire to simply get good theology books into the hands of parents, to help them train their children.
1. Pilgrim’s Progress – Retold by Gary D. Schmidt (Best suited for grade school children)
This is my favorite retelling of the most popular allegory of all time. It is easy to read without losing the wonder of the original manuscript, first written by John Bunyan in 1678. Every family should read this book to their kids – more than once.
National Book Award finalist and two-time Newbery Honor-winning author Gary D. Schmidt recaptures the classic tale of one man's spiritual journey in this contemporary retelling of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, masterfully illustrated with watercolors by artist Barry Moser.
Here again is the tale of Christian's spiritual journey from the City of Destruction to the Heavenly Palaces, including the pitfalls and graces that threaten and fortify his epic pilgrimage. Matching Bunyan's flare for storytelling and vivid imagery, Gary Schmidt's new narrative also echoes the best of writers like Dante, Sir Thomas Browne, E.M. Forster, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Even after three centuries, this odyssey of faith and human perseverance continues to engage readers today and now, more than ever, Schmidt's retelling of Pilgrim's Progress will delight and stir the imagination of readers over and over again.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis (Six year-olds and up)
Start reading this all time favorite classic series to your children by reading The Magician’s Nephew. Once you start reading this first book you will be hooked right along with your kids to read the entire series. Like Bunyan, C.S. Lewis creates a world where God is depicted as a lion, whose sacrifice in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a picture of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins on the cross.
3. The Big Picture Story Bible – David R. Helm (Toddlers – Preschool)
I’m not a fan of most toddler story Bibles because they miss teaching how God’s plan of redemption threads through the entire Bible. David Helm makes telling the big picture of God’s redemption the main theme of his book. The illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker are well executed and a perfect compliment to the easy to read and understand stories David Helm retells.
4. Everything a Child Should Know About God – Kenneth Taylor (Toddlers-Preschool)
This is a simple but well written systematic theology for toddlers. Kenneth Taylor explains our incomprehensible God in ways even a four-year-old can understand. Get a copy for your family and introduce your young children to our amazing God and the life transforming, powerful, message of the gospel.
Help your child discover the wonders of biblical truths in simple terms our child can understand. Dr. Kenneth Taylor explains in child–friendly language the essential Bible truths you want your child to know. He tells children about God’s creation of the world, why Jesus came to earth, how the Holy Spirit helps us, and so much more! Give the child you love the greatest gift of all – a deeper understanding of God.
5. The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New – Marty Machowski (K – 8th Grade)
The Ology is a beautifully illustrated systematic theology for grade school students. The book is designed to draw children’s interest through an opening story where two children discover a lost ancient book and open it to discover the great truths of God. The Ology is designed to serve Christian families from every denominational background.
Two young children discover a hidden treasure—a carefully wrapped ancient book full of deep truths about God presented in simple language using everyday examples. The children are captivated by the book and by the life-changing truths they find inside about God, their world, and themselves. Families with children of all ages will also love this multilayered resource that systematically teaches the great truths of the Bible to six-year-olds through preteens.
The Ology is a beautifully illustrated storybook that clearly explains transformative truths from the Bible. Within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth is connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are on display and easier to understand. The addition of Bible references that support the truths in each spread and questions for further discussion make this a resource that families can use with all of their children. Families who read this book will be giving their children a gift that will last a lifetime—a solid foundation of biblical truth that will point them to the God who loves them and gave himself for them.
6. Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name – Sally Lloyd-Jones (Toddlers – Early Grade school)
The Jesus Storybook Bible is the best biblical theology for preschoolers and younger kids. A biblical theology is different from a systematic theology. A biblical theology is designed to tell the main overarching theme of the Bible – God’s plan of salvation through Jesus, and how it threads its way from Genesis to Revelation. Systematic theology teaches what the whole bible says topic by topic. Your children should learn both.
Containing forty-six Bible stories from creation to Revelation with beautiful, rich, and vibrant artwork, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures and discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God's great story of salvation - and at the center of their story, too.
7. The Gospel Story Bible – Marty Machowski (K-8th grade)
The Gospel Story Bible is a biblical theology for grade school students and is designed to connect every story to God’s plan of redemption through Jesus. The Gospel Story Bible follows along with the companion family devotional books Long Story Short and Old Story New. Together these three books are designed to provide everything a family needs for family devotions.
Can a Bedtime Story Actually Change Your Life? It is easy to forget Jesus in the midst of frantic schedules, family squabbles, and conflicting priorities, but the truth is that he is the hero of every story, including these ordinary ones. This is why Marty Machowski puts God's plan of salvation in Christ on continuous display in The Gospel Story Bible. The easy-to-read storybook introduces your family to many captivating people, places, and events from the Bible's Old and New Testaments, showing how each one ultimately points to Jesus.
As you share these Bible stories together, you and your family will meet Jesus and learn a new, life–changing way of recognizing Christ as the hero of every story. Vibrant illustrations by A. E. Macha, child–friendly discussion questions, and Scripture references accompany each narrative to help you lead your family in exploring the Bible. You will be delighted to discover how easily even a young child can understand the original text of a story that he or she has already come to love. Ideal as a storybook for your preschooler, a devotional for your grade school student, a refresher for the adult believer, or an introduction for the new one, The Gospel Story Bible is also a companion to Long Story Short: Ten–Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God; and the Gospel Story Sunday School Curriculum.
8. Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family To God – Marty Machowski (K-8th Grade)
Transform Your Family with Ten Minutes a Day in the Gospel Story
Christian parents know the importance of passing the gospel story on to their children, yet we live in a busy world filled with distractions. Schedules collide, there is homework and yard work and dishes and laundry, the car’s oil should be changed, there are phone calls to make...and before you know it, everyone is getting to bed late again.
But this easy–to–use family devotional, in just ten minutes a day, five days a week, empowers parents to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known. Each day focuses on highlighting the gospel of grace through the stories of the Old Testament. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read. Long Story Short is suitable for children from preschool through high school.
Long Story Short contains 78 weeks (a year and a half) of simple 10 minute a day family devotions. It follows the same stories as the Gospel Story Bible and the Gospel Story for Kids Sunday School Curriculum. Long Story Short provides everything a parent needs to lead their family through the Old Testament.
9. Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family To God – Marty Machowski (K-8th Grade)
Old Story New contains 78 weeks (a year and a half) of simple 10 minute a day family devotions. It follows the same stories as the Gospel Story Bible and the Gospel Story for Kids Sunday School Curriculum. Old Story New provides everything a parent needs to lead their family through the New Testament.
Easy–to–Use Devotional Helps Parents Share the Living Gospel Story! Old Story New makes it easy for parents to stay on the life–giving course of sharing the gospel with their family. This second volume in Marty Machowski’s family devotional series, Old Story New continues the gospel story begun in the Old Testament devotional, Long Story Short. Using the same effective ten–minute–a–day structure, it connects children to living gospel truth through 78 New Testament stories. Simple discussion questions (and answers) for each day’s devotion help children understand and connect the story of salvation with their own lives. Old Story New, part of the Gospel Story for Kids program, is suitable for children from preschool through high school.
10. Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God – Bruce Ware (Middle School – High School)
Big Truths for Young Hearts is a systematic theology for older kids. In Big Truths for Young Hearts Bruce Ware does a great job presenting the key doctrines of scripture. Big Truths for Young Hearts will reinforce the theology children first discovered in the illustrated theology books like Everything a Child Should Know About God and The Ology.
Equips parents to guide their young children through all major doctrines in an understandable, chapter-a-day format. Sure, it's easy to teach your children the essentials of Christian theology when you're a theology professor. But what about the rest of us? With Big Truths for Young Hearts, Bruce Ware, (you guessed it!) a theology professor, encourages and enables parents of children 6 - 14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their world-views early, based on these truths. The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children's primary faith trainers and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.