Young Readers—Old Testament

4000 to 400 B.C.
Garden of Eden to Nehemiah

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Era Summary—Old Testament

Burning of Sodom
Bible stories rewritten for children are always a favorite of elementary school students, and many are so well done that a solid understanding of all the major stories of the Bible is accessible to school-aged children. Younger students are surprisingly adept at picking up ironic, moral, or humorous anecdotes. One only needs to read Aesop for Children to a kindergartener to realize how sensitive youngsters are to moral lessons.

From the first sin in the Garden of Eden to the heroic lives and adventures of the Apostles, the Young Readers' collection of Bible stories offers a vibrant and entertaining take on traditional Biblical tales, without reducing the moral and spiritual impact of these stories. These tales focus mainly on Biblical heroes and heroines, retelling their lives and stories in a similar manner to popular fairy tales.

One of our favorite Children's Bibles is Steedman's beautifully illustrated Nursery Book of Bible Stories. It was the primary source for the Young Readers' Biblical Study Questions, but many Children's Bibles feature similar stories. Evan's Heroes of Israel and Chisholm's Stories from the Old Testament Told to the Children also provide an excellent selection of Old Testament stories rewritten for young readers. Several other Children's Bibles, including Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old, Story of the Chosen People, and Children's Bible - New Testament are available in the Heritage History collection, but they are significantly longer and more detailed than those included in the Young Readers collection.

Characters—Old Testament

Dates associated with many Old Testament characters, especially those who lived before 1000 B.C., are estimates.

Character/Date Short Biography

Patriarchs and Prophets

~ 5500 BC
First Man, father of mankind, ate an apple in the Garden of Eden.
~ 4000 BC
Built and Ark and survived the Great Flood with his wife and children.
d. 1800 BC
First Prophet in the Hebrew bible. Traveled from Ur in Mesopotamia and founded the nation of Israel.
~ 1900 BC
Biblical patriarch. His sons by two wives and their handmaids, formed the twelve tribes of Israel.
~ 1400 BC
Prophet who led the Hebrews out of Egypt, and authored the first five books of the Old Testament.
~ 1350 BC
Warrior who became leader of the Isrealites after the death of Moses, and conquered Canaan.
~ 1100 BC
Early Judge who led the Israelites to victory over the Midianites
~ 1050 BC
Biblical heroine who accompanies her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and beomes the grandmother of David.
~ 1000 BC
Second King of the united Kingdom of Israel. Great warrior and musician, righteous and pious.
~ 950 BC
Third King of Israel, known for wealth and wisdom. Built the first temple of Jerusalem.
~ 800 BC
Biblical Prophet who was called by God to preach to Ninevah and was swallowed by a whale.
~ 700 BC
Biblical prophet of the 8th century B.C. Author of the book of Isaiah.
645–561 BC
King who conquered much of Assyria and made his capital at Babylon.
620–520 BC
Taken as a hostage to Babylon as a youth. Minister of Babylon, interpreter of dreams, and prophet.
~ 585 BC
Persian Queen who protected the Jews in the kingdom.
Judas Maccabee
d. 160 BC
Lead a Jewish rebellion during the reign of the Syrian King Antiochus V.

Timeline—Old Testament

Dates associated with Old Testament events, especially those before 1000 B.C., are estimates.

BC YearEvent
~5600 Creation, Adam and Eve
~3950 Noah's Flood
~2000 Life of Abraham, Birth of Isaac
~1300 Life of Moses and Exodus from Egypt
~1000 Life of King David
~930 Solomon builds first Temple in Jerusalem. Kingdom is divided shortly afterward.
~587 Nebuchadnezzar conquers Judea, destroys Temple, Babylonian Captivity.
~538 Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon, allows Jews to return to Judah.
~516 Nehemiah rebuilds Jerusalem, begins construction of a New Temple.
~160 Rededication of the Temple during Revolt of the Maccabees (commemmorated by Hanakkah).

Recommended Reading—Old Testament

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)
Steedman - Nursery Book of Bible Stories   The Beautiful World to Nehemiah, Warrior Builder (24)
Evans - Heroes of Israel    entire book
Chisholm - Stories from the Old Testament Told to the Children    entire book