Until this year, the Scripture Union’s rendition of the Nativity story actually had references to Scripture in it.

But this year, in the latest edition of their book THE FIRST CHRISTMAS, the British Christian charity tells the story simply, in contemporary language, without reference to specific Bible verses, to better engage children who have had little or no exposure to the Bible. (One recent study claimed that only six percent of British families read the Bible, pray, and attend church regularly.) They say it’s completely faithful to Biblical accounts, just in more accessible form.

“While we endeavor to ensure children with little or no knowledge of the Christian faith are able to hear the good news in a way that is accessible to them, we place a great deal of importance on remaining true to our Biblical foundations,” they say. “Helping children to engage with God’s word and the unchanging truths of the Bible will always remain central to our work.”


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I’d love to know what my readers think of this decision. Can Scripture Union reach kids more effectively by continuing to include actual Scripture, or by...well, paraphrasing?

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Comments 1-21 of 21

  • Joe Analco

    11/25/2017 12:40 PM

    By removing the truth and history of our past, we remain with a society living within a world that creates its own world of Hell's Lies!

  • Dennis Flanery

    11/23/2017 08:32 PM

    Given the liberal focus in this day, we will soon be deprived of anything that bears "Truth" from being spoken or read, wake up America!! Truth is the word of God, whether they believe it or not we must stand for the truth or we shall be like the liberals who will fall for anything!!

  • Elizabeth Honaker

    11/22/2017 07:00 PM

    I don't see where pronouncing the words "Matthew's Gospel" or "Luke's Gospel" -- the only two places in the Bible where the real facts are recorded -- will so confuse a child that he or she will instantly be repulsed by any future Bible reference they should chance upon. My family & I lived in England from 1976 - 1988, and are well aware of how fearless the Scripture Union USED to be in proclaiming the Word of God, pure and simple. It looks to me like the jihadists and PC-mongers have started to shove their heavy, fear-laden foot in the door!

  • F. Donald Parsons

    11/22/2017 05:36 PM

    How does taking the wise men and the shepherds out of the story help??? Sheesh!! (No, I am not a robot, I'm an 85 year old Christian man. Okay?) :-)

  • Saundra Burns

    11/22/2017 05:06 PM

    I think it's a perfect opportunity to expose them to Biblical teaching. What's so wrong with that?

  • Karsten Polk

    11/22/2017 02:55 PM

    "Not by corruptible seed, but by incorruptible, the Word of God"!

  • Yvonne Bishop

    11/22/2017 12:44 PM

    I agree that it may be easier for children to understand and remember by simplifying the story. The wording of the King James Version of the Bible is beautiful but not easy for children and some adults to understand. I do think that they should be exposed to it later after they have learned the simplified version. It should be much easier for them to understand the wording of the KJV then. However I do think the Bible should be referenced as the authentic source at the beginning and end of the simplified version.

  • Gayle Johnson

    11/22/2017 12:07 AM

    I read the entire article and my reaction is What NONSENSE!! "In its vision and mission statement, Scripture Union identifies its priority as "those who don't yet know him" (Jesus). The group also explains that it: wants to see "a new generation of children and young people who have a vibrant, personal faith in Jesus," and creates "opportunities for children and young people to explore the Bible, respond to Jesus and grow in faith."
    My question is this: How can you create opportunities if you take out the Bible references/Bible verses. To me it seems logical in order to create opportunities would be TO include the Bible verses printed (word for word) in the book. If you leave out the Bible references/Bible verses, then you just have another Xmas story like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman that is only read once a year; no substance. In order to see "a new generation of children and young people who have a vibrant, personal faith in Jesus," you need to go beyond His birth and LEARN about His life, His mission (to save all mankind from their sins-if they put their trust and belief in Him), His death, and His resurrection; anything less would be a shaky foundation; like building your house on sand instead of hard concert! (oops, I just used a Bible reference that some people unfamiliar with the Bible would not understand.)

  • James Evart

    11/21/2017 11:24 PM

    To me, this is just another attempt to reduce the road to and from Scripture. After they pull the person out of Scripture reference (knowing where these truths come from), they will start making up their own "truths" with, as usual, no reference to base it upon. What could possibly be the harm of knowing where to go to find the basis for TRUTH within God's word, unless you have no place in your lives for the bible? Maybe the thinking is that the Bible is just another book to these "scholars" who pretend to be be making these truths more accessible to the children of the "unwashed". To me, this is more evil in disguise like the new 2012 NIV dumbing it down to the 5th grade level from the beautiful and accurate 1984 NIV. More trechory in disguise???

  • Norene Clark

    11/21/2017 06:27 PM

    Babb said that children in the U.K. have shown declining KNOWLEDGE when it comes to the BIBLE over the years,Paul Stockwell, who is Scripture Union's head of fundraising, told Premier that polls show that "KNOWLEDGE of the Christian faith and the Christian story is slowing dwindling amongst the next generation." AND ALL OF THE REASONS WHY FOLLOW! National surveys, such as one commissioned by the Children's Society in 2013, found that one in five parents in the U.K. DO NOT TEACH their children that Christmas is the story of Jesus' birthday Also, 14 percent of kids said that they believe Dec. 25 marks the birth of Santa Claus. (WHO DOES NOT EVEN EXIST AND IS NO MORE THAN A FANTASY AND A FIGMENT OF MAN'S IMAGINATION BUT TO WHOM THE VERY ESSENCE OF GOD IS CREDITED...IS IT ANY WONDER THAT CHILDREN ARE SO CONFUSED ?! )

    A separate ComRes survey released in September found that ONLY six percent of Britons are practicing Christians, defining the term as those who read the Bible, pray, and attend church on a regular basis.The results showed that
    55 percent of Christians admitted they never even READ the Bible (THEN HOW DO THEY EVEN KNOW THEY ARE CHRISTIANS WHEN THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY SOURCE FOR KNOWING WHAT DEFINES SOMEONE AS A CHRISTIAN...AND THAT WOULD BE ANYONE WHO FOR THEIR ETERNAL SALVATION FROM AN ETERNAL HELL AND THE GUARANTEE OF HEAVEN AS THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY HAS PUT THEIR FULL FAITH AND TRUST ALONE IN GOD AS GOD THE SON, JESUS THE CHRIST ALONE..AND NO FAITH WHATSOEVER IN THEMSELVES AND ANY OF THEIR OWN SELF DEVISED OR 'RELIGOUS' WORKS OR ANYONE ELSE AND THEIRS) , while 33 percent said they never attend church, and 29 percent said they never pray.

    "We believe every child should have the chance to discover Jesus. SO DO I.... And, with an estimated 95 PERCENT of children in England and Wales not part of a church, we're working harder than ever to take the good news of Jesus beyond the church in exciting and culturally relevant ways." IF THE CHILDREN ARE TO UNDERSTAND ANYTHING APPRECIABLE ABOUT GOD, THEY MUST BE TAUGHT IT FROM THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE
    SO I SAY IT'S NOT A GOOD THING TO OMIT THE BIBLICAL PASSAGES...TO READ THEM TO THE CHILDREN AND THEN EXPLAIN THE PASSAGES TO THEM, AGE APPROPRIATE.

  • Linda Radosevich

    11/21/2017 05:42 PM

    Seriously? I had to check my calendar, thinking it was April Fool's Day! I'm disheartened to hear that a CHRISTIAN organization is taking the Bible out of the retelling of the Christmas story. Seems that they have let the culture inform their minds to dilute God's message.

  • Lori Stucky

    11/21/2017 04:23 PM

    ...my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

  • gloria wilson

    11/21/2017 04:21 PM

    Without Biblical references the Nativity narrative becomes no different than any fairytale. When my 3yr. old heard our Pastor proclaim from the pulpit that Jesus was born she delightedly, and loudly, said "Did you hear what he said? JESUS IS BORN"!

  • Roy Dale Kemp

    11/21/2017 04:15 PM

    The Bible says God’s Word would not return void. It says nothing about paraphrasing.

  • Sarah Menne

    11/21/2017 03:51 PM

    "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 Bible references should be included. God's WORD is powerful.

  • Bob Peters

    11/21/2017 03:23 PM

    It really amazes me how many people who claim to actually be Christians know so very little about anything in the time of Jesus. How many people were shocked by "The Passion" and it's cruelty. How many know about the way things were in that day and age. I'm thankful that they believe but it would open their eyes and understanding even more if they knew what the world was really like and not judge it by our standards today. I am starting top believe that any way you get the message out is ok as long as you stay true to the bible.

  • David Jones

    11/21/2017 12:55 PM

    "Faith [in Christ] comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [Scripture; the Holy Bible]."

  • Gary Moore

    11/21/2017 11:42 AM

    I do not believe God has copyright issues. He knows which words were His and they are as effective labeled as not, because they are His. Individual verse references...no biggie. No indication that it is the story of Yeshua's birth...HUGE BIGGIE.

  • Shannon Lewis

    11/21/2017 11:39 AM

    I believe they should have left the references in the books. If this book is the only access to the Bible that these children have, then they need part of the Bible in it. Too often, I see adults, or the education system, dumbing things down for children because they don't believe children will be interested if something is more challenging, or children won't understand something that they have not seen before. In reality, most children like to be challenged. They need to feel like adults have higher standards for them. Above all, they need to be exposed to the Bible in a book based on Biblical teachings. Maybe they will want to read more, which should be part of the goal.

  • Janice Hammond

    11/21/2017 09:45 AM

    That is difficult. I am not referring to the importance of the Bible. As a teacher I always knew I had to get and keep the kids attention. If they did not I understand what I was talking about their mind's wandered. They lost interest. That is why in the children's message what you are talking about has to keep their attention. Now a follow up to bible verses is very important.

  • Rev Sam Martin

    11/21/2017 09:42 AM

    I am very displeased with this news