Why Is *That* in the Bible?

Why Is *That* in the Bible?

As you can see from our front page, our vision here at Little Word is teaching God’s children Biblical symbols and Kingdom virtues with beauty and imagination.

Our mission, however, is a little more tangible. We want people, especially children, to be able to answer the question “Why is *that* in the Bible?”

The Bible is a strange, beautiful, complex book. The more you read it, the more there is for you to learn. An entire library full of commentaries couldn’t exhaust everything it has to offer. How can we expect children’s books to teach people how to understand the obscure details of Scripture?

I mean, can you expect a child to understand why a house with mold had to be torn down (Leviticus 14)?

Or why the masons who built Solomon’s temple had to carve and shape the stones before transporting them to the building site (1 Kings 6)?

Or why Jacob used a rock as a pillow when he spent the night at Bethel (Genesis 28)?

Pastors and theologians specialize in answering these questions. Not run-of-the-mill Christians. And certainly not children.

We disagree. While we can’t write children’s books about every obscure detail in Scripture, we can and do write books that explore Biblical patterns. Our hope is that, by teaching our readers to recognize these patterns, the obscure, seemingly random details converge to form a coherent picture.

For example, in the Bible, stones represent people. Peter makes this clear in the second chapter of his first letter: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). Peter's comment is the key that suddenly unlocks all the other parts of the Bible that talk about rocks and stones.

The stones of a “leprous” house represent Israelites infected with idolatry. They must be removed so that the “house” of Israel can remain standing.

The stones used to build the temple also represent Israelites. No one was allowed into the presence of God without first being “cut” (ie, circumcised). To symbolize this, the stones had to be cut before arriving in the temple.

In Jacob’s case, the stone he uses as a pillow represents himself. God visits him in a dream and declares His promises, and Jacob in response sets up his rock-pillow as a memorial, which he calls Bethel, meaning “House of God.” He is himself the stone pillar, the house of God, and will carry God’s holy name.

We hope our books will help Christians grow in Kingdom virtues.  It would be an honor to serve God’s kingdom in that way. At the very least, we hope our books give children and parents a few ideas of how to answer the persistent question, “Why is *that* in the Bible?”


As always, we are indebted to James B. Jordan and Peter J. Leithart for their insights into Biblical symbolism.
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