Discipleship is crucial to the Christian faith. A follower of Christ cannot grow in their knowledge, understanding, and faith with out discipleship. Throughout the centuries there have been no shortage of methods for Christian discipleship. In the twentieth century and into the early decades of the twenty-first century there have been thousands of books published on various methods of Christian discipleship. While many Christians may disagree on methodology, as in all sorts of other Christian practices, all Christians believe in some form of discipleship to bring a person to maturity in faith. One of the best ways to begin the discipleship process, especially for younger followers of Christ (i.e. children), is through the power of story. The Bible is the story of all stories. So there is no better way to disciple anyone, but especially children than through story. There are many great resources to help parents, churches, and guardians in discipling young children. One of the best tools of for children is through storybooks. Especially for younger children who do not know how to read or are just learning to read storybooks can be a powerful way to shape their young hearts with an affection for the gospel. This is what Dr. Scott James seeks to accomplish in his children’s book titled The Sower (Crossway 2022).
In The Sower, Dr. James seeks to, in a very broad yet beautiful way, introduce young children to the grand narrative of the Bible (i.e. the history of redemption). He accomplishes this by telling the gospel story in the form of a parable. In the story God is portrayed as a gardener or sower who plants his a seed in his creation. Yet the seed of his is threatened early on in the story when his people reject him. This rebellion brings tragedy and death and the lack of thriving for the people that God had created. Yet God is not done with his garden. The story continues by describing how God the sower tends to his garden, and culminates in the ultimate act of love: the Sower giving his life for his people. In this act of sacrifice, the Sower rises to new life thereby bring his people back to the way things were at first in the garden.
The book is very well done and beautifully presented. The illustrations by Stephen Crotts are captivating and go along very well with the story. Telling the story of the gospel in the form of a parable is an excellent way to help children grasp its significance. Jesus too conveyed the truth of God’s word in the form of a parable. Children love to read or be read a good story. What better story to share than the true story (or true myth to use the language of C. S. Lewis) of God’s love for his people and the great lengths he has gone to be in relationship with us. The gospel story is simple enough for a child to understand, yet is so profound that not even the greatest theologians can mine it’s depths. Yet the Bible commands us to share this story of the gospel with the coming generations because it is of first importance.
The Sower is a wonderful resource in helping younger children to understand the beauty and truth of God’s redemptive work in the gospel. So much of the Bible can be misunderstood and even sometimes misapplied, which adds to the confusion for younger children. Yet in stories like The Sower, children can be introduced to the grand narrative of the Bible in a way that they can understand and apply in their own lives. This book would be an excellent resource for parents to begin at a young age to share the truth of the gospel with their children. I firmly believe that if children are not captivated by the beauty of the gospel from an early age it is difficult for them to relate later in life. It is for these reasons that I would highly recommend The Sower to Christian parents of younger children as a resource to help stir their hearts for beauty of the gospel.
For more children’s resources please visit the Children’s Books page.
Editor’s Note: This book was received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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