God’s Monumental Love Expressed in Tiny Truths: An Interview with Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner https://chrisonet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/TheTinyTruthsIllustratedBible1.jpg
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Joanna RivardHow are you going to assist your younger youngsters perceive that the tales within the Bible could be linked to one another as tiny truths to show one grand lesson: the story of God’s love for his youngsters, beginning with the magnificence of creation and together with Moses parting the Purple Sea, Jonah being swallowed by a large fish, and finally the delivery, dying, and resurrection of Jesus, the rescuing King?

Bible Gateway interviewed Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner about their colourful storybook, The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible (Zonderkidz, 2019) (web site, @teamtinytruths).


Tim Penner

Clarify the distinctiveness of this storybook Bible and what your aims are.

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: All of it started with the quite simple concept to introduce children to the Bible as one big and deeply thrilling story that, at its core (regardless of its complexity and depth), tells us three easy issues: who God is, who we’re, and what we have been made for.

We had seen loads of Bible tales and children’ Bibles that felt extra like a group of particular person quick tales and we wished to current it as one huge, shared story—the story of God’s nice love for us.

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We additionally wished to convey that the story is one which remains to be unfolding, by which we now have a job to play. Finally God will restore all that has turn out to be damaged on this world, nevertheless it’s so thrilling that by following Jesus’ instance we get to take part and assist result in that restoration, in no matter small methods we will. And we will solely do this via the identical grace, forgiveness, and love that we’ve been supplied.

Joanna, how (and why) does an individual with a PhD in French existentialism find yourself preferring to put in writing youngsters’s tales?

Joanna Rivard: The lengthy reply to this query requires a number of coffees, however the quick reply is that this: existentialism (broadly put) tells us that we outline ourselves via our actions. As such we now have no innate essence or which means. The Bible (for me) tells a a lot better story—that we’re outlined by love and made for love. We don’t should create that which means for ourselves—God has given it to us and it’s a present. That’s the story I wish to inform my children as they develop up. Though I’m additionally educating them about French pastries.

Buy your copy of The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Why did you resolve to create the characters on this useful resource with pores and skin tone shade that’s extra shaded than in different storybook Bibles?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: We each grew up with Sunday College classes that includes a Jesus who regarded extra Western European than Center Japanese. After we started this venture it was one of many first issues we talked about as a result of we have been so excited to have the ability to do issues in another way. Although it wasn’t a lot of a dialog, as a result of, for us, it was merely about historic and contextual accuracy. It appeared apparent that tales happening within the historic Center East and Africa ought to function characters that look as in the event that they reside in these locations.

Honestly, it’s a bit discouraging to us that at the moment in historical past, correct portrayals of those characters nonetheless really feel novel sufficient for individuals to note it, however we’re excited to be counted alongside everybody else who’s making an attempt to alter the best way the characters within the Bible have usually been represented.

What story of the Bible did you’ve probably the most enjoyable illustrating?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: There wasn’t essentially one single story that was probably the most enjoyable for instance, however the characters that have been probably the most enjoyable to design all the time appeared to be ladies. Their garments and hair have been extra fascinating and colourful than many of the bearded males in robes (aside from John the Baptist who can be considered one of our favorites), so it was all the time a deal with. Two of our favorites are Rahab and the Queen of Sheba.

We tried to do all the things we may to get as many ladies into our Bible as potential, nevertheless it wasn’t all the time as simple as we’d’ve appreciated. We’ve been speaking not too long ago about how a lot enjoyable it might be to do a venture that includes all of the distinguished ladies within the Bible. There are some fairly cool tales that we weren’t capable of embody that might be superb to introduce children to.

How do you talk to youngsters the messages of violent tales expressed within the Bible?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: Contemplating the age of our meant readers, the violence within the Bible could be powerful to handle, however tales just like the Israelites’ escape from Egypt and naturally the crucifixion are in all probability the 2 most central moments within the Previous and New Testomony, respectively, so you may’t keep away from them.

We tried to inform tales like these in a means that will get the purpose and message of them throughout with out moving into all the particulars which for younger children (no less than in our opinion) are simply an excessive amount of. We wish to suppose that we trace on the reality there’s extra to a few of these tales than we’re telling, however we’ll go away these particulars to the judgment of every particular person grownup reader.

Our hope is that every story in our Bible is simply a place to begin for ongoing dialog and questions that may set children on a path of life-long studying and engagement with these texts as they proceed to develop, be taught, and be given new info. Definitely for us that course of by no means ends!

Why is it vital for folks to learn the Bible to their youngsters?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: Whoever we’re, and nevertheless we grew up, all of us inform ourselves (and, in fact, our youngsters) a narrative about who we’re and what our place on the earth is. Usually we appear to get it fairly mistaken. For us, the Bible is one of the best, most vital story on the earth, as a result of it tells us the reality of who we’re and what God made us for.

It’s additionally a implausible assortment of tales woven collectively: tales of affection and loss, of hope, sacrifice, brokenness, forgiveness, and redemption. These are all issues we encounter in our lives, and after we learn the Bible with our kids we’re exhibiting them their place within the largest story of all time, and serving to them to grasp the way to wrestle with the massive questions of life. What might be extra vital (or extra thrilling) than that?

How ought to dad and mom use this useful resource to get probably the most out of it?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: This will likely sound too easy, however we expect it’s best to learn a bit of each day after which discuss, discuss, discuss! Ask your children questions and encourage them to do the identical.

Religion is an ongoing dialog and it’s greatest lived out with these round us. If the Bible is a part of our youngsters’ lives, its truths shall be infused into them as they develop, develop, and uncover their place on this fantastic story. We should always have fun the joyful elements collectively and wrestle with the tough ones. Assist your little one discover their place within the story and perceive what which means for them.

What’s a favourite Bible passage of yours and why?

Tim Penner: I don’t actually have one favourite verse however only in the near past I got here throughout the first two verses of Psalm 131 that so completely articulated what I’ve been feeling currently—and never coincidentally because of making this Bible—that I’ve been enthusiastically telling everybody about them. They are saying: “My coronary heart is just not proud, LORD, my eyes are usually not haughty; I don’t concern myself with nice issues or issues too fantastic for me. However I’ve calmed and quieted myself…like a weaned little one I’m content material.”

It’s poetry so I really feel like I’m allowed to venture onto it a bit of as a result of David might be speaking about his personal ambition. However what I see here’s a childlike religion that has let go of the nervousness we will carry round with us as we attempt to remedy loads of the massive questions round God, our personal spirituality, and life itself.

In simplifying the Bible and its message to some extent the place a baby can perceive it for the sake of this venture, I’ve began to understand that perhaps it truly is, and could be, that straightforward. I discover nice consolation in a verse that appears to suggest it’s okay to calmly and contently let a few of that nervousness go and reside within the freedom we now have in Christ to have that straightforward, joyful, childlike religion Jesus says we must always anyway.

Joanna Rivard: One among my favorites (there are a number of!) is that this one: ‘My coronary heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my coronary heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”’ (Psalm 27:8). To me, it’s so lovely that God’s need is for us to come back and discuss with him. How superb is that!

What are your ideas about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?

Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner: We love Bible Gateway! I wager 80 % of the studying and analysis we did for this venture was completed utilizing the Bible Gateway App and the Bible Gateway web site. It’s a tremendous useful resource and power!


The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible is printed by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the mum or dad firm of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Joanna Rivard grew up in Nigeria and England and studied French at Oxford College. She has a PhD in French existentialism from the College of Michigan, however (given the selection) prefers writing youngsters’s tales. She lives in Toronto together with her husband and two youngsters who refuse to share her accent.

Tim Penner is an animation director, illustrator, and author who lives in Toronto. Earlier than artwork and movie faculty he picked up a level in theology simply in case the chance to convey all of it collectively and make a youngsters’s Bible ever introduced itself. Tim and Jo are a artistic crew and have been making enjoyable issues for youths collectively since 2011.

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God’s Monumental Love Expressed in Tiny Truths: An Interview with Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner

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