A Year with Your Children in the Bible

Jim Cromarty

Jim Cromarty. Hardback, 740 pp, Published by Evangelical Press, Faverdale North, Darlington, DL3 0PH. Price £18.95, ISBN 0 85234 518 6

Most family devotions books have been published in North America and that has added certain difficulties for those of us on this side of the Atlantic. As their approach has tended to be to cover aspects of biblical truth by means of a story from ‘everyday life’ the cultural differences have become more significant. We, and particularly our children, do not identify as easily with certain words and concepts. Equally, the lack of clear biblical focus as the basis of some books has been a serious drawback.

Now Evangelical Press, and Jim Cromarty, have made a considerable contribution to filling the significant gap. These devotions are not just Bible based, they are simple expositions of essential biblical themes and passages. Each day is ably summarized by a key thought and a ‘saying to remember’. The layout is clear and the presentation places appropriate stress upon the scripture and the lesson/s to be taught from the passage. The writer seems to have kept to one version of the scriptures (NKJV), rather than a number, and the book is the better for that consistency. As a consequence, his desire that the key verse can be memorized is achievable.

The title of the book clearly conveys that this is a book to be put into the hands of fathers to lead the family devotions. This is as it should be. However, the inclusion of illustrations might have led the children to look over the father’s shoulders! This is one of a number of significant omissions. Readings are not altogether systematic. Those who would like to work sequentially through the Bible, albeit not covering every chapter but building from Genesis through to Revelation, may be disappointed. Equally, the present reviewer is not convinced about the suitability of the language for all readers, particularly the young, nor the appropriateness of some concepts discussed. I doubt if many readers of this magazine would encourage ‘the learning of the catechism’ or agree with the writer’s doctrinal position in relation to the church and the tribulation. It is also a pity that some reference to prayer was not included for every day, for any quiet time with the family should also provide a focus for prayer. With the simple addition of an index, and there was room, this book could also have been turned into a useful resource for those who work with children, either in Sunday School or through specific children’s meetings.

Apart from these reservations, this book has much to recommend it and, as yet, this reviewer has not seen anything better.