Catherine Vos (1865-1937) was the wife of Geerhardus Vos, who was Professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. This story Bible was a labour of love which she finished in 1935, just two years before she died. It was originally designed for use in Christian schools, while the publishers consider it suitable to read to children aged three and over, and to be read by children aged seven and over.
Its strong point is that it presents the biblical narrative in convenient chunks, each of about three pages. The font size is most suitable, and the text is very well done. Children’s Bibles tend to be a minefield – they trivialize, they miss the point, and they give the impression that the biblical characters belong in a cartoon. None of those criticisms apply to this work. In 800 pages Mrs Vos has produced a work which could be read by any child who was capable of reading, and, for that matter, by any adult who wanted to understand the flow of biblical history. The great omissions are, as one would expect, the Wisdom Literature (Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs), the Prophets (except for a few selections from Daniel), and the New Testament Epistles. The defence is a reasonable one: Mrs Vos was almost wholly dealing with the historical narrative of the Bible.
There are 26 illustrations interspersed throughout the book – not enough, in my view. Some are suitable, but overall there seemed to be an overuse of dark colours. In the end, however, Mrs Vos’s work will prove a most appropriate and usable introduction to what is often called God’s history.
– Peter Barnes
Peter Barnes is the editor of AP and pastor at Revesby Presbyterian Church NSW.