This post concludes our interview with Nancy Ganz, author of Herein Is Love, a set of Bible commentaries designed specifically for children. We believe this series is unique, with thoroughly biblical material presented in a warm, flowing narrative. Parents, teachers, and children will gain fresh insights into the biblical texts, insights that will impact everyday life. If you have ever wondered how to make the Bible come alive to your children and to yourself, Herein is Love will do just that.
This interview was first published in 2010.
Jay Younts: We tend to look at the first books of the Bible as dry academic history. By contrast, your prose in retelling these stories is both lively and conversational.Why is this important for children?
Nancy Ganz: God imparts biblical history to us, not in a dry academic way, but through the exciting lives of real people. God’s truth is revealed to us in a very stimulating way–in peoples’ stories. There are some dry facts communicated too (such as long lists of numbers in the book called Numbers) but this never lasts very long. One time in Russia, my husband and I were having a tour of the Jewish Ghetto that was liquidated in WWII. The historian was imparting to us historical facts: lists of the numbers of people exterminated in different places and the dates when the massacres took place. At the end of the tour I asked the man to recount for us his personal story of that terrible time. At first he refused, saying it was unimportant. I contradicted him and said his personal memories were of utmost importance to me and to the world. I do not remember a single statistic that he told us, but I remember his story almost word for word. That is how God has imparted historical information to us–in the midst of exciting stories. This is not just important for children. It is important for all of us!
Jay: This may be a hard question to answer, but do you have a favorite of the books you have written so far?
Nancy: This is the easiest question to answer–Genesis.
Jay: Genesis coves a huge sweep of redemptive history. But the next 4 books slow down the historical clock and focus on the life of Moses. Why do you think Moses is such an important part of these first Bible books?
Nancy: In the last four books of the Pentateuch (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy) Moses is the main character … aside from God, of course. Moses is the one, humanly speaking, who leads the people of God out of Egypt, through the wilderness for fortyyears, to the border of the Promised Land.
Jay: And as a follow up, what are the things about Moses’ life that children should seek to imitate, and what are some examples of things they should learn to avoid from Moses.
Nancy: I don’t think I would ever encourage children to imitate Moses. Jesus is our great example. However, Moses was a man who lived by faith and in that sense, we too should live by faith. Moses bore witness to the Truth and to the Savior–and so should we. Moses was not perfect; he was flawed–and so are we. That is why we all must look to Christ! A great man of faith like Moses or the smallest sweetest child you can imagine–everyone must look to Christ and trust in Christ to be saved.
Jay: There are number of ways that this series can be used to teach the Bible to children. One important use, I believe, is to encourage the practice of family worship. Would you agree? Do you know of families using your books as a resource for family worship, and, if so, what is their feedback?
Nancy: Yes and yes, I do know of families who read a portion of Scripture and then read to their children what I have written about the passage. They find this instructive for all.
Jay: Perhaps you could comment on why family worship is so important, especially in our modern culture.
Nancy: Family worship entails reading a passage of God’s Word, perhaps reading a commentary about that passage, praying to God and singing praises to God. Reading together ANYTHING is a wonderful activity for a family! Reading the Bible is the most wonderful of all. Praying as a family–what could be more crucial than that activity? And a family singing together every day/night–not just a few Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve but daily praising God together in song–that is an amazing thing to do in this world filled with sorrow and pressure and trouble of every kind. The birds sing praises to God every single day. So should we. Somebody should do a study to see if singing praises to God prevents cancer. I can’t think of anything more important than all of these activities in a culture that forgets God. If your child goes to public school, the day will pass and God will not even be mentioned, except as a curse word by teachers and students. Let God be mentioned in your homes with reverence. Read His Word. Pray to Him earnestly. And sing His praises forever.
Jay: Nancy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. And thank you for this wonderful series. May God use it mightily for his Glory!