Young Readers—New Testament

0 to 100 A.D.
Birth of Jesus to Acts of the Apostles

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Era Summary—New Testament

Jesus and the crowds.
While the Old Testament is composed of many stories and characters that are easily simplified for younger children, the New Testament focuses on the life of Christ and his apostles, and is more challenging to translate into a child-friendly narrative. The gospels themselves are are full of fascinating stories and parables, but most of the epistles are not easy to represent in story-based form.

The Heritage History Library currently contains nine Children's Bibles but only four are simplified enough to be included in the Young Readers collection. And of these only Steedman's Nursery Book of Bible Stories, and Kelman's Stories from the Life of Christ Told to the Children, cover the New Testament, including stories about the apostles as well as the parables of Jesus. Both these books provide an excellent introduction to the Gospels and there are many more choices available for advanced students.

In addition to the Gospels, the stories of certain saints and Christian heroes, such as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Christopher are included in this category because they tend to emphasize spiritual rather than political history. Like the stories of the Bible, the stories of saints emphasize the manner in which God continues to work in the lives of his people and they are of great interest to students with a Christian worldview.

Characters—New Testament

Character/Date Short Biography


St. John
d. 101
Long-living apostle who preached in Asia Minor. Authored the Gospel of John and Revelation.
St. James the Greater
d. 44
Apostle who preached in Spain before being beheaded by Herod. Patron Saint of Spain.
St. Peter
d. 64
Leader of the Apostles and first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Paul
Apostle who traveled throughout the Eastern Roman Empire spreading Gospels. Wrote Epistles.

Legendary Saints

St. Christopher
d. 250
Early Christian saint whose name means "bearer". Said to have born the burdens of the Christ child."
St. George
Patron saint of England. Soldier who killed a dragon and died a martyr's death.
St. Nicholas
d. 343
Bishop in fourth century Asia Minor, known for his generosity.
St. Patrick
Kidnapped as a child and brought to Ireland, returned later to spread Christianity.
Augustine of Hippo
Greatest Christian theologian of the Middle Ages. Wrote Confessions and City of God.
Benedict of Nursia
Established the Benedictine order of monks. Founded the monastic movement in Europe.
Francis of Assisi
Founded the Franciscan order of indigent Friars.

Timeline—New Testament

AD YearEvent
0 Birth of Christ
30-33 Christ's Mission on Earth
33 The Crucifixion and Death of Christ
34-60 St. Paul's Missionary Journeys
50-70 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are written.
70 Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
90 St. John writes Revelation, the last of the holy scriptures.

Recommended Reading—New Testament

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)
Steedman - Nursery Book of Bible Stories   The Messenger of the King to St. John, Beloved Disciple (11)
Kelman - Stories from the Life of Christ Told to the Children    entire book
Jewett - God's Troubadour: The Story of St. Francis of Assisi    entire book
Steedman - In God's Garden    entire book
Brown - Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts    entire book
Macgregor - Saint Christopher and Saint Cuthbert    entire book